Afternoon snacks are kind of a big deal around here. Seriously, my kids come home from school hangry on a daily basis. And not just hangry — we’re talking HANGRY, stomping in, full of ‘tude!
Really it’s no wonder… My 8th grader eats lunch at 10:05am. Let me repeat that: TEN OH-FIVE A.M. To put that in perspective, my 5th grader doesn’t even get on the bus until 8:45am. So many days I’m barely finishing my breakfast by 10:00am, while she’s eating her lunch. Crazy!
And with sports practices nearly every weeknight, we often don’t eat dinner until close to 8:00pm. So yeah, a healthy afternoon snack (like these delicious peanut butter protein balls) is pretty darn important around here for bridging that long gap between lunch and dinner.
In all honesty, I originally created these protein powder peanut butter balls as a quick pre-workout snack for my husband and me. We’ve got a pretty short window for working out between the time he gets home and when sports start, so there’s no time for anything more than a quick bite — which is exactly what these little peanut butter balls are.
I was able to stuff a ton of nutrition into this peanut butter protein balls recipe. Of course, it totally helps that peanuts are a superfood powerhouse in and of themselves. Peanuts are packed full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and they can even help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
And? You only need a mere 2 tablespoons of peanut butter daily to enjoy these health benefits. Comparatively, one serving of peanuts contains six times as much protein as a serving of raw kale and eight times as much niacin.
NO BAKE PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN BALLS
As with so many recipes I develop, I had some specific criteria in mind when I created these no bake peanut butter protein balls. I’m a big believer in starting with a purpose to guarantee the best results, you know?!
- Easy to prep — a bit of a no brainer, but I don’t want to spend a ton of time prepping snacks for the week. The “dough” for these protein balls is simply stirred together and rolled into balls. No baking required!
- Easy clean up — easy prep and easy clean up go hand in hand. I intentionally designed this recipe so that you don’t need to pull out your food processor to make it. Just one bowl and done!
- Nutrient dense — filled with protein, healthy fats, and fiber, thanks to the peanut butter, this was an easy one to hit! Perfectly portable — while they won’t stand up to being tossed into a soccer bag in a plastic sandwich bag, they’re very transportable in these small reusable plastic containers.
Above all, they had to taste good! Judging by the way my kids have been scarfing them down, I’ve definitely nailed it. Remember how I said these were a pre-workout snack? Yeah, well, as soon as my kids discovered them, they became a favorite after school snack, as well. My oldest son compares them to healthy peanut butter fudge, which seems about right.
And now that I’ve said that, it only seems right to mention that, while they are gluten free, fairly low carb, and good for you, they are not low calorie — so just enjoy them in moderation. Pairing them with some sliced apples or mandarin oranges is the ideal way to turn them into a full-on snack.
Tips for Making Peanut Butter Protein Balls
While these healthy peanut butter protein balls come together in just minutes, the dough can be just a bit finicky depending on the weather — kind of like my hair, LOL! Humidity and I are not friends, that’s for sure. But troubleshooting it is super simple.
First off, I should note that if you use a natural creamy peanut butter (like we typically use), be sure to stir it well, because it does have a tendency to separate. Using a fresh jar is the easiest, since it hasn’t been refrigerated yet, but you can also gently warm refrigerated peanut butter to a stirrable consistency.
After mixing all of the ingredients together, if the mixture seems too thin, add additional peanut butter powder a tablespoon at a time, until you’re able to roll it into a ball easily. If it seems too thick, add additional peanut butter a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the proper consistency.
For portioning out the protein balls, I can’t recommend this small cookie scoop enough. Its 2-teaspoon capacity makes the perfect sized peanut butter protein bites when leveled off and rolled
If you’re a peanut butter lover, I think you’ll agree that these peanut butter energy bites are a tasty pre-workout, post-workout, or anytime healthy snack idea!
If you prefer a little more texture, dip them in some chopped roasted unsalted peanuts. We enjoy them both ways — just depends how quickly I want/need to churn them out. Because even though this recipe makes 24 peanut butter protein balls, they don’t last long around here…
Link to recipe is here!