HEALTHY SNACKS: HOW WE ROLL

I'm raising a family of snackers. I mean, I'm borderline all-day grazing myself, so it might have been inevitable. A steady supply of chips and hummus might be ideal, but it's probably not meeting my children's nutrition needs. So I opt for healthy snacks that incorporate a variety of nutrients their growing bodies and brains need.

I tend to lean toward options I can add cocoa powder to and pass off as a treat. I'm not sure if that's more for me or them, though.
 
One of our favorites is protein balls, or "rolling balls," as my kids call them. They're fast and easy to make, versatile, have no sugar, and my kids ask for more every time they finish a batch.

My go-to recipe is bookmarked on my old laptop that's sitting with a cracked screen, waiting for me to get around to it. Despite making the recipe at least three times a week, I never committed it to memory. It might have been a crazy season of life.

But now we're in a new season, still crazy and still demanding of rolling balls. So we're playing around with proportions, tweaking ingredients, and auditioning completely new recipes. I haven't found the perfect combination just yet, but we've had a few good contenders.

Here's our most recent creation. With the exception of the chia seeds sticking in my teeth afterward, I'd say it wasn't bad. Three and a half stars, maybe four if I halved the amount of chia seeds.



- One cup pitted dates- not packed, though, unless you're going for an extra date-y flavor. In that case, pack away.
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Process dates until they reach a paste like consistency and just start to form a ball. Add remaining ingredients and process until incorporated and a ball forms. Roll larger ball into smaller balls.

Refrigerate, if they aren't eaten first.




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