5-minute no-bake nut butter energy balls

Earlier this week, I talked about the impending back-to-school schedule and how I fit in quick, intense outdoor workouts when I'm busy. These energy balls are basically the food equivalent of that workout: fast but intense; comes in a small package but packs a lot of bang for your buck.

My hectic fall schedule has officially started and I'm already seeing just how important it is going to be for me to plan ahead. Meals, snacks, workouts..... they're not gonna come easy! I'm always on the run so along with pre-prepared lunches and dinners (e.g., spiced chicken and veggies), I also need snacks that will give me fuel for at least a couple of hours. That means no rice cakes (I'm sorry, if you haven't already picked up on it, I think they're the stupidest food ever). To fill me up throughout the day, I typically have some fresh fruit and veggies (grapes, bananas, carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, sliced cucumbers) along with some more hefty snacks: trail mix or these nut butter energy balls. 

Looks can be deceiving. These energy balls are pretty small, but they're FULL of protein and fiber to fill you up. They're also full of calories and fat though, so beware! It's healthy fat and energy-proving calories, of course, but still, these should be enjoyed in moderation. All you need is one of these medium-sized balls and you'll be good to go. 

Not only are these energizing, but they're super tasty. They are totally a treat, comprised mainly of oats, almond butter and peanut butter and with some crunch and sweetness from dark chocolate chips and craisins. Almost like peanut butter cookie dough! While they're delicious, like I said, try to stop yourself at 1, which on its own has 255 calories, 15 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of protein. Impressive for such a little guy, huh?

These are made in just 5 minutes, then pop them in the fridge and enjoy one when you need some energy to get you through the day. Here's how to make them, and the recipe:

In a bowl, combine 1 cup of oats, 1/2 cup of creamy natural almond butter, 1/4 cup of crunchy natural peanut butter, 1/2 cup of wheat germ (or flaxseed), 1/4 cup of organic no-sugar-added craisins (or raisins), 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips, a tsp of cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla extract. 

Combine well. 

Then roll into balls. I usually make 8 medium-sized balls (that's how the nutrition was calculated), but you could make 12 or even 16 smaller ones if you'd prefer. 

This recipe is TOTALLY flexible. Want to use all almond butter and no peanut butter? Go for it. Want to be healthier than me and skip the chocolate? Awesome. Want to add in some coconut flakes or chia seeds or coconut oil or chopped almonds? By all means! Use this recipe as a base, then add whatever you'd like. 

As written, this mixture forms balls quite easily, but if after making adjustments you're having trouble, just make some more adjustments! If you find your mixture is too "wet," add more dry ingredients (oats, wheat germ, coconut flakes). If you find your mixture is too dry and not holding together well, add more wet: almond milk, nut butter. 

No Bake Nut Butter Energy Balls
For 8 medium-sized energy balls
Serving size = 1

-1 cup dry oatmeal
-1/2 cup natural almond butter
-1/4 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
-1/4 cup craisins (or raisins)
-1/2 cup wheat germ (or flax seed)
-1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
-Dash vanilla extract (recommended)
-1 tsp cinnamon (recommended)
-1-2 tbsp chia seeds
-Stevia or other sweetener
-1-2 tbsp coconut oil
-Chopped nuts (recommended if you use only creamy nut butters)

-Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
-Roll into balls.
-That's it! Refrigerate. 

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