Have you heard about the Paleo diet? We have the info you need to learn about it to get started. And, that includes a recipe for easy, no-bake Paleo protein balls.
Since 2002 when Dr. Loren Cordain released his book, The Paleo Diet, those who live to eat healthy found a new way to efficiently fuel their bodies for optimal performance and aesthetics. Eating a true to Paleo has caught fire and is still burning strong today.
Millions have found that eating a modern version of this Stone Aged style diet is quite tasty. Some of the tastiest treats that have come from the Paleo diet are Paleo protein balls.
Wondering what they are?
Don’t worry. We’ll teach you how to get creative and make them for yourself.
Following The Paleo Rules Is Vital
Are you ready to eat a true Paleo style diet?
If so, you need to know what that involves. The following are the dos and don’ts of true Paleo style eating according to Cordain:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Grass-produced meats
- Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)
- Nuts and seeds
- Cereal grains
- Legumes (including peanuts)
- Processed foods
- Refined sugar
- Refined vegetable oils
The goal is to create your own recipes using quality ingredients from the Do Eat list. You also need quality filler ingredients that provide optimal energy without overdoing calories. You are, after all, an athlete.
Ingredients To Keep On Hand For Paleo Protein Balls
By keeping some key ingredients on hand, you can whip up thousands of different types of protein Paleo balls. The possibilities extend only as far as your mind will allow.
Binding And Base Ingredients:
Try using coconut flour to replace all wheat-based flours.
It’s 100% Paleo. It is high in fiber, low in carbs and gluten free. It also has added benefits for the athlete concerned with aesthetics. WebMD states, “Coconuts contain a high amount of a saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides. These fats work differently than other types of saturated fat in the body. They might increase fat burning and reduce fat storage.”
This naturally sweet fruit can be used as a binding ingredient and for excellent, no sugar added flavor.
Make sure to buy 100% pure canned pumpkin. Do not buy pie filling. Pumpkin is naturally low in calories. It has only 50 calories per cup! This is a go-to base if you are trying to lose weight. In fact, we can call it abs-food, as in good for unveiling your abs.
Clean carbs! Get your clean carbs here! Sweet potato is a favorite among athletes, and it can be a great tasting addition to any of your protein Paleo ball recipes. You will just have to bake them before use. Some Paleo enthusiasts say these aren’t Paleo. Others think these tubers, which are provided by Mother Earth, are. You decide.
Honey or Agave Nectar
Use these sparingly. They are high in calories even though they are all-natural sweeteners and great binding ingredients.
Protein And Fat Source Ingredients:
Use your favorite protein powder. It will act as a protein source, a flavorful sweetener and a base for your protein balls.
Almond butter is a go-to binding ingredient. It will wrap all the other ingredients in its deliciousness to form a bite-sized ball. Almond butter comes with added benefits. The National Institutes of Health claims that, “Almonds are low in saturated fatty acids, rich in unsaturated fatty acids, and contain fiber, phytosterols, and plant protein. Other cardioprotective nutrients unique to almonds include α-tocopherol, arginine, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium, and potassium.”
Get your omega-3s!
It’s the healthy fat that you don’t want to nix. Add a mix of nuts to your protein Paleo balls. You could use walnuts, pecans, almonds or many other types. Remember that peanuts are legumes, not nuts. Cut them.
Yes, Stevia is Paleo. Joel Runyon states, “Stevia, a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia rebaudiana plant, is paleo (in its natural, unprocessed form) because it’s a food found in nature that has been eaten by people throughout history.” Look for the least refined such as Stevia in the raw. Of course, you could also buy your own Stevia plant and make your own!
With that said, who has time for that?
Coconut Palm Sugar
This is one of the most natural and unprocessed forms of sugar that is on the market. It is low on the glycemic index and naturally derived from the sap of coconut trees. Many claim that it tastes similar to brown sugar or has a deep caramel flavor.
This spice is a common additive for flavor. If you like cinnamon, it’s an easy choice for natural flavor while sticking to the Paleo diet.
A little vanilla can make flavor pop when using it in your protein balls. WebMD states, “It is added to foods to reduce the amount of sugar needed for sweetening.”
Dark Chocolate/Cacao Powder
Dark chocolate is a semi-sweet option. If you love the taste of chocolate, it’s best to go dark. Cacao has beneficial antioxidants and lowers blood pressure.
Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
What does this really have to offer? Coconut flakes bring texture and flavor to the table. Plus, it is a great source of fiber.
Salty and sweet seems to be a tasty trend. Why not throw some turkey bacon into your bites? Remember to cook it up crispy first.
Dice them and roast them in the oven coated in cinnamon. Throw them in the mix. Can’t you just picture apple pie protein
The Most Important Consideration Is Likely Your Protein Source
With any hope, you will be using your protein powder every time you concoct a new Paleo protein ball recipe.
Your protein source is vital. It keeps you full for longer periods of time, aids in recovery and helps those muscles grow.
Look for a protein powder that:
- Uses 10 or fewer ingredients.
- Provides 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving.
- Has a low carb count, about 1 to 7 grams per serving.
- Has a low fat count, about 1 to 7 grams per serving.
- Isn’t excessive in calories, like mass gainers are unless you are actually massing.
Get the Balls Rollin.’
The creating part may be a bit of an experiment. First, choose some ingredients that you think have flavors that complement each other. They don’t have to make anyone’s mouth water but yours. For example, you may feel like banana, chocolate protein, and walnut. That sounds tasty.
Next, start the experiment. You will begin putting the ingredients together. You must have at least one ingredient that binds or holds things together.
Using the banana, chocolate protein, and walnut combo, you might want to start by mashing two bananas, adding one scoop of protein and 1/3 cup of walnuts. You can always add ingredients if the mixture isn’t the right consistency. From there, you could bake these at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes.chocolate protein, and walnut combo, you might want to start by mashing two bananas, adding one scoop of protein and 1/3 cup of walnuts. You can always add ingredients if the mixture isn’t the right consistency. From there, you could bake these at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes.
Most Paleo protein bites can be no-bake. Just consider the ingredients to decide whether or not they need to be baked. When using banana or oils you will most likely bake.
If you are using other soft binding ingredients, such as almond butter, these balls go in the freezer to solidify and store them. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Use a utensil such as a measuring Tablespoon or melon baller to ensure each protein ball is about the same size. Place your dollops on the wax paper and throw them in the freezer.
Note: You will also need to write down the measurements of the different ingredients you use so that when you get the recipe just right, you know what you did.
Feel free to share your recipes in the comments section at the end of this article once you get it right!
Calculate The Nutritional Value
Lastly, calculate the calories, fat, carbs, and protein – basically all the pertinent nutritional info of each ball. That means you need to be accurate in measurements and write down how many protein balls each batch makes.
Note: Eat one of your Paleo bites so you have the necessary energy for the added brainwork and simple math that you have to take to task. Kidding!
Example: Let’s use the banana, protein, walnut ball idea.
You could use Calorie King to find food nutritional values because it will calculate the macronutrients for you based on the amount you use and it has some other cool features.
(2) bananas 210/.8 grams/2.6 grams/53.9 grams/28.9 grams
(1) scoop Gym Junkies Whey Protein 120/2 grams/20 grams/5 grams/2 grams
1/3 cup chopped walnuts 255/ 25.4 grams/5.9 grams/5.3 grams/1 gram
Totals 585/28.2 grams/28.5 grams/64.2 grams/31.9 grams
Divide by the number in the batch (which is 12) and you’ll get the following figures:
48.78 calories per ball
2.35 grams of fat per ball
2.375 grams of protein per ball
5.35 carbs per ball
2.7 grams of sugar per ball
Storage Is Important
When you make no-bake balls, you will have to freeze them for about one to two hours. This will help them stay in a solid state and keep them edible for a long period of time. You can meal prep these for weeks in advance.
You can refrigerate or freeze the balls you bake. If you plan to eat them all rather quickly, just refrigerate them in airtight bags or containers. The balls you bake can also be frozen for longer storage.
Are You Ready To Eat Paleo Protein Balls?
If you know you will need four Paleo balls per day as your snack, remove them from the freezer and thaw them at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. If you are in a hurry, you can warm them for 30 seconds or less in the microwave. Or, you could have them frozen. They will be delicious anyway.
Easy, No-Bake Paleo Protein Balls
Making protein balls doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be as easy as mixing four ingredients together and no baking at all! Are you ready to make the best snack for pre and post workout, or just about any time of the day in a matter of minutes?
Here’s how to get it done!
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter and any other type will do, but this will impact on fat and calorie levels, so be sure to pick the one you prefer)
1 cup protein powder (use your favorite kind. Note that chocolate goes best with the nut butter you’re mixing it into.)
2 Tablespoons of raw honey
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
Directions: Mix protein powder into nut butter until even. Add honey and vanilla into mix and stir until smooth. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. When you’re ready to enjoy, scoop out your Paleo protein balls with an ice cream scooper and you’re good to go. If you want something a little more presentable, you can scoop out as many as you’d like to serve onto a baking sheet and keep them chilled in the fridge until company arrives!
Add-ons: Needless to say this recipe is a great base for a host of additional flavors! You can add chocolate chips, raisins, dates, almond slivers, peanuts or even chia seeds into this mix and get a great flavor and antioxidant boost!
You can also add dried coconut shavings on top of the balls after you’ve scooped them before you refrigerate.
Enjoy responsibly! It’s easy to take down a whole batch of these without noticing it so our advice is to take up to three at a time and really enjoy them. This is not a snack that you have to eat a lot of to get full. Because it’s packed with so much protein, you’ll feel full faster and stay fuller longer!
By Sarah Chadwell