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The wee ones have been back to school for a couple weeks now, and I am in parenting heaven. I have reached the glory years where my children and husband are all at the same school for the next two years. That means my husband can wake them up and get them off to school while I enjoy a little more sleep. Finally the tables are turned.
The only problem? I found out last week that my daughter “didn’t know what to pack” for lunch, so our rule of a protein, a veggie, and a fruit went out the window. She had packed snack crackers and a candy from the local 4th of July parade. That was it. My son did the same but with a peanut butter roll up to round it out. I almost fell on the floor. I have fresh foods out the wazoo that they have easy access to, in addition to leftovers I make for dinner each night.
Then came the real eye-opener. I asked her what she’d been eating for breakfast, expecting to hear oatmeal or an egg or at least a granola bar. Nope, she’d been eating some cherry tomatoes. Or an orange. Or sometimes nothing because she didn’t know what to have. No wonder she’s been coming home from school so cranky and tired. Needless to say, I’m now waking up in the morning to help usher them out the door.
The first thing I did was whip up these protein energy bites. It’s a great way to kick off the day, and she feels like she’s getting a special treat. They’re sweet but packed with nutrients, too. And on the days when they’re running late because they just couldn’t get out of bed, they’re amazingly portable, too. She can pick one up and walk out the door without making a mess. Whew!
In fact, I’ve seen her walk in the door after cross country practice and sneak into the fridge to grab a couple for a snack before dinner. And I’m totally ok with that.
I made these with a few different kinds of nuts I had on hand, plus unsweetened coconut, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp hearts – and of course, protein powder. Pro tip? Use a tasteless form of protein like beef collagen so you let the other flavors shine through. I wanted to give it a special twist, so I added some NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Powder that I had grabbed on my last trip to Target. Bonus? It was on sale when I grabbed the chocolate flavor, and that was exactly the note I wanted to add to these protein energy bites. There’s also a NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Powder Strawberry flavor, and I may have to pick that up when the 10.9 ounce small container has a 30% off Cartwheel offer from 9/11/16 to 9/24/16. Berry flavored protein energy bites? I’m definitely going to have to try those out.
The Nesquik Powder has no artificial colors or flavors, and it contains 7 essential vitamins and minerals. Making this a part of a complete breakfast means she’s kick starting her day the right way, so she’s ready to have a full day of middle school and cross country practice afterwards without falling apart from her early morning start. Coupling these protein energy bites with some of those oranges or kiwis she likes to eat? Perfect!
How to Make Protein Energy Bites
These whip up in just a few minutes. All you need is a food processor and a few minutes. I like to use a variety of nuts, but feel free to choose your favorites, whether that means walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds. It’s also important to use good dates (Mejdool are perfect) so they have enough moisture to pull the protein energy bites together. Regular dried dates are too dry, and your breakfast will crumble.
Start by adding your nuts to the base of your food processor with the standard blade in place.
Pulse generously 20-30 times until the nuts are well pulverized and almost a flour.
Add the remaining ingredients, starting with just one tablespoon of coconut oil. You can add more later if needed, but generally that is sufficient. Process for another minute, until it starts to come together.
When you can pick up the mixture and squeeze and it stays together, you’re set for the next step. I find that if I mix it in the food processor then let it rest for a minute or so after that, it releases more moisture and holds together better.
Scoop up some with your fingers and squeeze, then roll into a ping pong sized ball. This makes approximately 18 balls. Set them on a plate as you roll them, the place the plate in the fridge to harden before storing them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Delicious, and it’s a breakfast that I feel good about and Little Miss enjoys eating! I’m winning this middle school game. Did I just jinx myself?
Have you ever had protein energy bites? What’s your go to breakfast?
These lightly chocolately protein energy bites are packed with nutrition and taste. They're a perfect on the go breakfast or snack!
- 1 1/2 c nuts of choice (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc)
- 2 c Mejdool dates
- 1 c unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 T chia seeds
- 2 T flax seeds
- 1 T hemp hearts
- 2 T NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Powder
- 2 T tasteless protein powder
- 1-2 T coconut oil
- Add nuts to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until pulverized into a fine powder.
- Add remaining ingredients, starting with 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Process for another minute or so, until the mixture starts to come together a bit. Let rest another minute to release additional moisture.
- If still dry and the mixture doesn't hold together when you squeeze it, add another tablespoon of coconut oil and process again.
- Scoop up a bit in your hand and squeeze, then roll into a ping pong size ball. Set aside on a plate and continue with the remaining mixture.
- Enjoy immediately or refrigerate place for 10-15 minutes, then place in a tightly sealed container. Store in the fridge for up to a week.