Today, I’m sending out big birthday love to my Dad! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, POP – and many, many more!
For those of you who don’t know my father, he’s one of those people who — when he makes up his mind to do something — there’s no stopping him. He commits himself to it and works toward whatever goal he has set in his sights. He’s tenacious and driven. I’d like to think that I have a smidge of that trait in me.
Over the past year or so, he’s made a pledge to his health. Not a half-hearted “I need to lose a few pounds” shrug, but a full-fledged commitment to working out regularly, eating a much healthier diet (thanks to my Mom), and competing in weekly Fit Bit challenges with other family members. (He’s extremely competitive). As a result of these changes, he’s dropped around 40 pounds and he’s still going… His results have been transformative.
Tomorrow, we’ll celebrate his birthday with the whole family (and there will be cake), but today, I thought I’d share a little pick me up treat that would be great before or after one of his workouts. Cranberry Chip Power Balls – they even sound energizing, don’t they? Now, I’m not saying that these are calorie-free, but they’re packed with protein. I used almond butter and whey powder as the basis for these densely packed nutritional nuggets. Ground flax and chia seeds add more protein, heart-healthy Omega-3s and fiber. The protein and fiber work in tandem to keep him fuller, longer.
Rolled oats are a slow-digesting, complex carb to keep him motoring through his gym routine, while cranberries add a bit of sweetness and tang. And the mini chocolate chips? Well, he’s my Dad — he deserves a treat!
A little almond milk helps bring all the components together. I tried mixing with a spatula, but to really blend all the ingredients, use your clean hands and work quickly so the heat from your hands doesn’t melt the chocolate chips.
Using a tablespoon measure to portion out the dough will ensure equal serving sizes and I’m taking a guess here, but I think each ball is probably in the neighborhood of 90-100 calories… Just the right amount to keep him powering through a 4-mile walk. By the way, these were also taste-tested by Emily and Scott and won complete approval.
- 1 1/2 cups Old Fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup whey protein powder (can be vanilla or other flavor)
- 1 tablespoon flax meal (grind flax seeds in a mini food processor)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 cup almond butter (can be creamy or chunky)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
- 2-4 tablespoons almond milk (or other milk product)
- vegetable spray (for rolling the balls)
- In a medium bowl combine the oatmeal, whey protein, flax and chia and stir to combine.
- Add the almond butter, almond extract and honey to a small bowl. Microwave in 10 second bursts to soften the almond butter and make it easier to stir. (mine was ready in 20 seconds). Stir to combine and add it to the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined - mixture should be crumbly.
- Add the cranberries and chocolate chips and stir to combine. Add 2 tablespoons almond milk and mix well with your hands, mixture will be sticky. If you can make a ball that holds together, start rolling. If it's still crumbly, add additional almond milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Wash your hands and spray them lightly with vegetable spray. Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough and roll it between your palms to form a ball. Re-spray your hands every 3-4 scoops because the dough will start to stick to them.
- Place balls on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm. Keep chilled until ready to eat.