These chocolate orange hemp balls are super nutritious and soft but also lower in sugar than regular energy balls as they use just 1 ripe fresh banana to sweeten them rather than dried fruit, this keeps them lovely and soft but means you need to eat them fast, preferably within 2/3 days (but it won’t be a challenge, trust me!)
They require a bit of setting time to firm up so make them in advance, they make a good afternoon pick me up or prepped the night before for a breakfast snack before a morning gym workout or on your way to work.
Activate those nuts!
I’ve used Linwoods activated walnuts here as I’m trying to use more activated nuts where possible in my cooking due to the process of activating making the nuts more nutritious but also easier on digestion, plus if you just want to eat them straight it also gives the nuts a lovely crispiness. Walnuts are one of the nuts highest in phytic acid which holds onto nutrients making it harder for your body to extract which is why they’re one of the nuts that you should try to eat soaked/activated whenever possible.
Another reason why I love walnuts and hemp is because they have a good balance of healthy fats which the standard Western diet tends to be lower in and instead, higher in omega 6 fats which when too high can be pro-inflammatory, so eating a variety of omega 3 fats to balance this out is something to keep in mind.
These bars are great for anyone with gut issues and also pre or post workout plus they’re way better quality than most protein bars on the market. I used a hydrolysed collagen based protein powder here (not suitable for vegetarians) as it can have a number of benefits for different areas of the body such as joints, skin and gut. (See the link further on down for more info).
Tip: Collagen protein can be hard to find in the UK so I get mine from amazon.
Collagen powder may sound strange but it’s a great protein and supplement to add to your diet if you’re trying to heal any gut issues due to its high content of glutamine, glycine and proline which help your mucosal lining “heal and seal” i.e. helps gut cell repair. Your gut lining renews itself frequently so any help it can get is good.
This recipe is also grain and refined sugar free which are big irritants to the gut, instead I’ve used baobab and lemon for flavour, lots of the goodness from the lemon is in the oils that come from the zest which also gives lots of flavour.
Baobab is a low sugar fruit powder that has a citrus like flavour and is filled with antioxidants and good vitamin C content, plus it tastes great when combined with tropical coconut. In addition, it also acts as a prebiotic which means it’s fuel for the good bugs in your gut. If you’ve never tried it before and have gut issues, try a small amount first to see how you tolerate it then make this recipe.
I’ve also added just a touch of raw local honey which is some of the best kind (and quite affordable), this is because when you consume raw local honey you also get pollen and microbes from your area which help you to digest food better, it can also help over the long term with seasonal allergies such as hay-fever by slowly allowing your body to build up a tolerance/defence to the local pollen and allergens. Get as local as you can and use it raw whenever you can (don’t plunge it straight into boiling tea).
-vit C in baobab helps reduce muscle soreness & provides antioxidant protection
-good fats (MCT’s) from coconut used quickly as energy and digested easily
-collagen protein for workout recovery and great for your joints + gut
-low in sugar & grain free
Although more studies need to be done, the combination of vitamin C and collagen protein may be helpful for ageing skin as vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to protect skin but also boosts collagen production by your own body, plus, getting collagen through your diet can be helpful as it depletes as we get older and it is one of the substances that keeps skin looking tight, young and with less wrinkles.
For a deeper understanding of collagen benefits see here where Dr Axe explains it further.
Oh my word, these are soft chocolatey delicious balls of skin loving goodness!
No but really, who doesn’t like sweet potato or almond butter or chocolate, so how about all three together with some added hemp protein making them a great balanced and super yummy snack for pre or post workout and also highly nourishing for your skin too.
These balls are also great for skin as they contain vitamin A (from sweet potato) and vitamin E (from almond butter), powerful antioxidants from the cacao and healthy fats from the almonds and hemp protein. Plus, they pack a good fibre punch which helps keep things moving which is also good for skin health as everything is regularly being cleared out…..
Overall these are some seriously nourishing balls!
When I first thought up this recipe I really hoped it would work well as I really wanted to create a soft, indulgent yet healthier chocolate truffle and what way to make that happen than by adding an entire avocado to the mix to give it a soft truffle like texture while getting all the skin and heart health benefits from both the avocado and cacao!
Soft texture, rich flavours, guilt free indulgence
Chocolate truffle benefits
-Filled with antioxidants
-More fibre than standard truffles
-Lightly sweetened and dairy free
-Great for nourishing the skin
As I’ve made these multiple times, I discovered that if you have a nice powder handy such as a dry berry powder or lucuma (fruit powder that has a caramel like flavour) to roll the balls in then you can reduce the liquid sweetener as more flavour is gained from the powders and as it’s on the outside of the truffles it’s the first thing to hit your tongue, so it kind of tricks your taste buds into thinking it’s sweeter than it is. Coconut works well too if you prefer that flavour combo over a sweeter one.
I used these loads during my training for the 5K zombie run. A great source of protein, fibre and a mix of good fats, especially if you use hemp protein as it has a good balance between omega 3 and 6 fats. Plus some tasty peanut butter and chocolatey goodness just for good measure!
Plus they’re sweetened with fresh banana rather than dates which I feel makes a nice change.
Less sugar than a recipe with dates as the apricots and figs naturally contain lower levels. The great combo of the chocolate cacao*, roasted hazelnuts and vanilla powder really finishes this recipe off perfectly, I mean who doesn’t like a chocolate & hazelnut pairing!?
*I like to use raw cacao powder in recipes like this as it is not over heated therefore you are getting the max amount of beneficial compounds and antioxidants.