P1030488

I begin this blogging endeavor with my most used recipe…Hemp Protein Bites. In response to the lack of quality protein bars (protein bloat anyone?) and over-sweetened snack bars, I began my search for a better alternative and this has turned into my beloved concoction. Every ingredient I use serves a purpose because I believe “diet” is not a word we should use to indicate a short term weight loss goal, but a lifestyle that we embrace to give our bodies quality nutrients. So in our fast-paced lives, I would rather my family and I have a quick snack solution to hunger cravings that also nourishes. Hemp was an ingredient I fell in love with years ago for many reasons. It’s one of few plant-based proteins that contains all of the essential amino acids. It’s also high in fiber and contains omega-fatty acids 3 and 6 in a ratio that is highly bioavailable (http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-hemp-protein-6674.html). My go-to brand is Nutiva.

Once I landed on hemp protein powder, it took some trial and error to make the recipe the correct consistency. Feel free to alter the ingredients any way you desire. Do keep in mind though, that it works best to swap the dry and wet ingredients in the same ratio as the recipe. I love the taste of peanut butter, but I also use almond and cashew butter to keep things interesting.

Cinnamon is a must with hemp in my humble opinion, because it helps to tone down its “earthy” taste (my husband says it tastes like dirt). It reminds me more of nuts, but everyone has their own opinion. I am a cinnamon lover because of its health properties. I actually try to add it to everything from coffee to toast. It helps the body fight off infection, regulate blood sugar, and improve circulation.

I could go on and on about goji berries. To say they are a superfood is almost an understatement. If you have no idea what they are, read up on them and prepare to be amazed (http://thehealthyeatingsite.com/the-health-benefits-of-goji-berries/). Even the leaves themselves provide nutritional benefits. I have spoken to some growers that dry the leaves to use in smoothies and soups to add vitamins to their diet. Any plant that contains all the essential amino acids is a powerhouse in my book. Those that are on blood thinners may want to swap this out for another dried fruit because of potential risks. There are plenty of other nutritionally beneficial fruits that work great with this recipe. I often use tart cherries and blueberries too.

Raw honey is also a rock star. It has antioxidants and supports our immune system with antibacterial/antifungal properties. I use honey in many of my recipes because it’s unprocessed and offers our bodies so many health benefits. It’s also great for topical use, so I keep it around in bulk. Of course, if you are feeding these bites to an infant you will want to use a pasteurized honey instead. I couldn’t wait to switch back to raw honey once my daughter was old enough!

There is really no reason someone should have to justify eating chocolate. It’s loaded with antioxidants and is said to have heart-healthy properties. I use the raw cocao to keep things as unprocessed as possible and since I add honey, you don’t notice any bitter taste.

I simply toss all of my ingredients into my stand mixer and let it go on the lowest speed till it turns into a wet sand consistency. I used to do it by hand in a mixing bowl, but thank God for stand mixers! After its all nice and combined, simply roll in your hand to form nice and tight bite-sized balls. They are ready to eat at this point. Sometimes I add more dry ingredients such as fruit or nuts in lieu of the raw cocao powder, then use a high quality chocolate to melt down and dip the balls in for a different treat experience.  Refrigerate for at least an hour if you are going to chocolate dip. They store in the fridge for about a week, but they rarely last that long in my house.

Enjoy!

 

Hemp Protein Bites Recipe

 

Ingredients:

1C organic hemp seed protein

1C organic nut butter

1/2C almond meal

1/2C organic dried goji berries

1/4C organic raw cocao powder

1/4C organic raw honey

1/2Tbsp cinnamon

 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients till well blended and form into bite-sized balls.  Store in refrigerator to keep fresh.

P1030472

I try to use organic ingredients whenever possible. I use Nutiva hemp protein powder, but there are plenty of options out there. Use any nut butter that you like. I have used cashew and almond butter and all are good. Also, feel free to add other dried fruit. I often use blueberries and cherries too. Use a good quality dark chocolate to justify the chocolate. All ingredients were chosen for their nutrients, so just keep that in mind when mixing it up.

Cover image provided by: moorishharem.com

Published by JM Sayles