If you’re an Instagrammer and search the hashtags #healthysnack or #energysnack, you may be surprised to see photos of little dough-like balls instead of the expected fresh fruit or protein bars. They have various names—bliss balls, energy bites, energy balls. I find them to be truly blissful for two reasons:
1. They’re easy to make, quick to prepare and taste good, my main criteria when trialing a new healthful recipe. Bliss balls require about 4-5 ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen and don’t need to be baked or cooked. You start with a binder ingredient, something sticky to hold the ball together, like peanut butter (or almond butter or sunflower seed butter) and/or a sticky fruit like dates or figs. Then add whatever additional ingredients you like. This is the second most awesome thing about bliss balls…
2. They are completely versatile to fit whatever your taste preference or food philosophy. Vegan? Try almond butter, dates, raw cacao powder, diced nuts, wheat germ. Gluten-free? Try peanut butter, chocolate chips, flaxseeds, gluten-free oats. Nut-free? Try sunflower seed butter, honey, oats, coconut. Whether you need high protein or low sugar, there will be a perfect bliss ball for you.
Another reason I love these treats is that they are truly satisfying. How often do you reach for a store bought chocolate chip cookie and eat one, two, three+ servings? It might not be because you lack self-control. Maybe it’s because the cookies don’t gratify. Many cookies use processed ingredients that strip any real flavor. Sure there are cookies that add a ton of sugar or high fat ingredients to make up for it, but then you get an overly sweet, greasy product. Bliss balls use whole ingredients with distinctive flavors that you’ll notice as you savor each bite. And that’s the goal with any treat: eat slowly, appreciate the flavors, and experience true enjoyment with a smaller portion. Compare that with gobbling down 10 conventional chocolate cookies, not remembering the taste, and reaching for something else to eat 30 minutes later!
Consider bringing bliss balls to a holiday party this month. You can use festive ingredients of dried cranberries, cherries or nuts and dust with confectioners sugar. You can dip in white or dark chocolate. The options are endless.
Below is an example of a bliss ball recipe. I couldn’t remember the exact amounts so I estimated. But feel free to add more or less of whatever you like! Makes about a dozen, depending on how big or small you prefer them.
4-Ingredient Vegan Bliss Balls
1 1/2 cups dates
1 cup raw or roasted cashews
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup chocolate chips (try Enjoy Life brand if vegan)
- If the dates are hard, place in bowl covered with water and soak for an hour to soften. Using a food processor or blender, blend dates into small bits. Add cashews and blend into small bits.
- Remove mixture from blender and place into bowl. Fold in wheat germ and chocolate chips.
- Roll into balls of desired size and arrange on a plate. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before eating. Store in refrigerator for about one week, although I have stored them longer and they taste fine!