Making Healthy + Easy On-the-Go Snacks with Sally Roger at Lowell High School

On the Menu:
No-Bake Protein Balls
Nutrition savvy Sally Rogers, the founder of Nibble and president of Slow Food SF, taught us all about smart snacking on Wednesday morning.  We got to get our hands dirty, and we had a lot of fun doing it!
Her No-Bake Protein Balls are pretty easy and super delicious. You can throw them in a ziplock for easy snacking throughout the day or in the freezer for a special treat.
Before we got to measuring ingredients and squishing them together into balls, we talked a bit about how to use snacks to feel our best. What we put into our bodies and how we think about it can determine our energy levels, focus and mood.
Here are Sally’s Top Five Snack Tips from the class:
  1. Your favorite snack could be a not-so-good-for-you snack. Just think about it as a treat every now and then, and find healthy snacks otherwise!
  2. It’s ok to occasionally eat junk food snacks, just try not to make them the norm
  3. The best snack is the one that keeps you fullest for the longest period of time, yet is still a smallish portion (not as big as a meal)
  4. Think about combining produce + protein for that fuller/longer combination
  5. Nutrient-dense is the way we describe our no-bake protein balls, and a good way to snack: fewer calories, but full of protein, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and a ton of other nutrients

As we rolled up our sleeves and got to work, Sally shared info about the ingredients we were measuring and combining.  She shared these Ingredient Tidbits as we mixed and smashed:
  • Oats are a whole grain with a lot of fiber – great for keeping you full!
  • Dark chocolate is great occasionally – full of antioxidants to help you combat the free radicals from not-so-great noshing
  • Almonds are full of protein
Rolling the blended ingredients into balls in our two groups (team peppermint and team vanilla), we realized that time had flown by – these treats are pretty easy to make! We gave them a last roll in some shredded coconut, giving them that snowball look, and proceeded to taste away – Mmm!

Recipe makes 12

1 cup packed, pitted Medjool dates
1 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp unflavored protein powder OR vanilla flavored (if using vanilla extract)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp peppermint extract OR vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts OR 1/4 cup almonds
4 tbsp mini dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
unsweetened shredded coconut (for rolling)

  1. Chop/process the pitted dates until coarsely chopped
  2. Add the rolled oats, cocoa powder, protein powder, salt, peppermint or vanilla extract, and almond milk and mix well with hands. Add in the nuts and chocolate chips and continue to mix with hands.
  3. Once mixture is in a sticky ball, make 1-inch balls and set aside.
  4. Sprinkle coconut (if using) into a shallow bowl and roll balls in coconut.
  5. Place balls into a parchment-paper lined container and place in refrigerator or freezer. Best cold!


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