Monday, August 15, 2016

Health Break! - Chocolate Coco-Nut Chia Bites

I eat pretty well at home and really terribly at work. Why? I have zero impulse control. When sweet treats are presented to me, as they seem to be nearly every day at the office, I have an absolutely pitiful chance of resisting. At home, the solution is simply not to buy them, but in my office, well, that's where I really get in trouble. Between so many coworker celebrations and the reality that our office kitchen has become the de facto dumping ground for everyone's no-no foods (leftover cake from a weekend birthday, surplus goods from an at home baking binge, candy that you just want to get out of your house), it's a wonder I ever get out of there without a forbidden food in my hand. Happily though, I have found that I can make it a safer and less tempting place if I only come prepared.  

Chocolate Coco-Nut Chia Bites, Photo: NK 

Having a healthy and satisfying sweet on hand for that post-lunch sugar craving helps me from feeling deprived. And making something no-bake that's super fast is a huge help in all of our busy lifestyles. It's in this spirit of disciplined snacking that I set out to jump on the Energy Bite bandwagon. 

These tempting, chocolatey little energy Bites serve two purposes - they're  naturally satisfying your sweet tooth while also giving you a little boost. They're also Vegan, have no added sugar and are fairly nutritious thanks to Nuts, Chia and Coconut Flake and Coconut Oil. Best of all, you can make them in under ten minutes using a food processor. They can be stored up to two weeks in an airtight container in the fridge. 


Chocolate Coco-Nut Chia Energy Balls 
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
Makes about 22 1-inch Energy Bites

2 Cups of Pitted Medjool Dates (Medjools are nice and soft) loosely packed, about 12 Dates
1 Tablespoon Ground Chia Seed (you could sub in ground Flax Seed as well) 
2 teaspoons Coconut Oil 
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flake (we prefer Bob's Red Mill)  
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Hershey's works fine)
1/4 Cup Hazelnuts, Almonds, Pecans or similar -- I prefer Hazelnuts or Almonds 
1 teaspoon high quality Vanilla Extract 
1 Tablespoon Water 

Place all ingredients in a Food Processor and process until relatively smooth except for some bits of nuts. The mixture will naturally clump and you may have to carefully scrape down the sides. (Optional Mix-In: you could also bulk this up by adding a tablespoon or two of Rolled Oats moistened with a little Almond Milk or Water)

To form, place a piece of wax or parchment paper on a surface and using a small spoon, scoop out the batter and form into 1-inch balls by rolling in your palm. Place each ball on the paper. Optionally sprinkle with additional Coconut Flake. When done (you should have 20-22), remove to an airtight container and chill in the fridge until ready to eat! 

Bites will stay up to 2 weeks refrigerated in a sealed container! 

Nutrition: Per Bite - 63 Calories, 11g Carbs, 2.5g Fat, 1g Protein, 8.5g Sugar

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