The Standard American Diet, otherwise known as SAD, is the culprit in all of the chronic diseases that we are experincing today. Please tell me that statement was not a surprise to you. As we all become more and more aware of the tremendous impact our diets have on our health, we have the opportunity to do something about it. I propose that we stop eating the SAD completely and instead, shift our eating lifestyle to either more traditional foods which include whole and not processed ingredients, or we invent a completely new way of eating with new dishes and foods that use whole, real components. This recipe is in line with that second idea.
Snack foods in the SAD tend to be processed chips with partially hydrogenated oils, "protein" or meal bars that claim to be good for you but have nutritional facts comparible to candy bars, or items that used to be reserved for special occasions and desserts such as cookies and brownies. Fed up, I decided to create something to snack on that was yummy but also super good for you. Here is what I came up with, and I'm sharing it with you because I have become so addicted to them that I know you will enjoy them, too. If I can get one person off of potato chips, then it will all be worth it. By the way, here are the ingredients of a popular brand of potato chips: potatoes, canola and/or sunflower oil, seasoning [sugar, dehydrated vegetables], corn maltodextrin, salt, sodium acetate, monosodium glutatmate, natural and artifical flavor, acetic acid, hydrolyed corn protein, yeast extract, citric acid (from corn), white vinegar, dextrose, colour modifed corn startch, tricalcium phoshate, high olec sunflower oil, silicon dioxide, calcium silicate, salt.
And here are the ingredients to these Protein Nutri-Snack Balls:
- Whole oats (I've made these with both steel cut and Old Fashion rolled oats, and they both work.)
- Dried coconut--flaked, shredded or chips
- Spirulina powder--a blue-green freshwater algae that is rich in protein, can help boost your immune system, and regulate cholesterol and blood sugar
- Maca powder--a nutrient-dense root known to improve and regulate mood and increase enegry and stamnia
- Bee pollen--an energy booster which is high in protein, amino acids and vitamins
- Chia seeds--seeds which are high in omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals including calcium and phosphorus
- Nuts (Any nut will work--for these I used toasted pecans.)
- Nut butter--any kind you like. You have many options in the nut butter world, so don't feel like you have to stick to one just because it's an old familar one to you. Live a little!
If you want them to be sweet, you can add dried fruit such as dates, raisins or dried blueberries. Personally, I don't add anything sweet to them because I like the way they taste as they are, and I feel like by making everything we eat sweet, we perpetuate the sugar and sweetners obsessions (and many cases, addiction) we have in our country as part of the SAD. When everything is sweetened, we lose a taste for the real flavor of foods. However, having said that, it will not take away from the nutritional benefits or energy you get from these if you add some dried fruit. If you add frut, it would replace some of the nut butter; you would add the dried fruit at the end when I added the nut butter.
You will need a food processor or a blender that can work food to make these tasty little medicinal balls of health and energy. Pulse the nuts until they are crumbles, but not too much or they will become nut butter. Set the nut powder aside.
Pulse equal parts oats and coconut a couple of times, just until they are well chopped and blended.
Add a tablespoon or two of each spirulina, maca, bee pollen and chia seeds. Pulse a couple of times to blend.
Then add a couple of tablespoons of nut butter. Pulse until a dough forms. You may need to add an additional tablespoon or two to get a good sticky dough to form, depending on how much oats and coconut you used. The dough should be able to stick together and roll into a ball but not stick to your fingers very much.
Roll the dough out into balls using your fingers. Roll in nut powder to coat them.
A batch makes up rather quickly. Keep them in the refrigerator when you are not snacking on them. They keep for over a week--maybe longer--but I've never been able to keep them around for longer. They disappear fast in my house!
They are also great to take on hikes or as snacks for the road.
There are beautiful nature trails near my home that I try to use as often as I can. When trying to motivate myself to exercise, it makes it easier for me to get outside and enjoy nature. Packing up some water, the protein Nutri-snack balls, and heading out to the trails is the best way to guarantee I'll get in my workout for the day.
Is there a SAD snack food that you are hooked on but want to give up as part of a healthier eating lifestyle? Let us help! Make a pledge to go 30 days without your vice on our Facebook page.