Anyone who knows me well knows there’s not much I like more than setting goals. Checklists. Weekly schedules. Sign me up for all of it. So you can bet when January 1, 2019,rolled around, I already had a laundry list of routines, habits, and activities I planned to implement into the new year.
Number one on the list? Reducing the amount of packaged food I purchase. Not an easy task, let me tell you. Walk down any supermarket isle and nearly everything—even fresh produce—is wrapped in plastic. And while I can usually get around this roadblock by buying dried fruit and nuts in bulk and seeking out stores where plastic is a little less prevalent, the one area I fall short in is snacks. Luna bars, peanut butter pretzels, trail mix—all of it is covered in packaging that can’t be recycled or reused. So what’s a girl to do?
To avoid both hangryness and plastic, I turned to the internet for some inspiration. The recipe that kept popping up was for homemade energy balls. Easily made using just a food processor and some common pantry items, these bite-sized granola bars are a healthy, customizable, and package-free way to make it through the 3PM slump.
Here’s my recipe:
10 medjool dates
3 tbsp of chia seeds
1/3 cup of oats
1 tbsp of coconut oil (melted)
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
3 – 4 tbsp of nut butter
1 tbsp of honey or maple syrup (vegan)
1 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
Start by removing the pits of the dates. If your dates are on the hard side, use boiling water to soften them.
Once softened, add the dates into a food processor along with the chia seeds, oats, nut butter, coconut oil, and honey or maple syrup. Blend until the mixture is smooth. You may need to stop the food processor occasionally to make sure everything is being evenly mixed.
Once you’ve reached a thick but smooth consistency, add the chocolate chips and vanilla. Blend again until the chocolate is fully incorporated into the batter.
Use an ice cream scoop to make small balls from the mixture. Put the balls on a baking tray and stick them in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once they’ve hardened, store them in a cool, dry space.