You guys. Grab a pen or get your printer ready, because you're seriously going to want everything about the following recipe. Selva from Poppies and Papayas combined chocolate with health to create Mint Chocolate Energy Bites that are positively divine. I'm not kidding, I made them as soon as I got the recipe. They're a great post-workout protein snack or a special treat after dinner. Either way, you can't go wrong. I mean, mint and chocolate together just screams great success.
As a nutrition graduate student, I often have patients in the clinic tell me that in the first half of the day they “do really well” and eat what they believe is a healthy diet. However, in the second half of the day, they often “fall apart,” getting hungry and grazing all the way to dinner, usually not on healthy foods.
More often than not, I see this trend: In the mornings, they eat a small carbohydrate-rich breakfast like a muffin or a fruit bowl, or sometimes they even skip breakfast altogether. Then around 11:00AM, they break for lunch at work, ravenous and starved. Generally, lunch choices are light, such as a salad or turkey sandwich. And then the haunting hours arrive. Starting between 2-3:00PM, patients often become ravenous, reaching for workplace snacks such as a handful of candy or chips, or even a second cup of joe. They feel tired and have low energy, and the caffeine and sugar can’t pick them up so they continue to graze. Finally, dinner is around the corner. Typically, as they only ate a small, light breakfast and lunch, and then snacked on refined carbohydrates, they often over compensate with a heavy dinner and a glass or two of wine. As this routine continues, their weight gradually increases.
1) Start your day with a hearty breakfast, balancing complex carbohydrates (whole wheat toast, oatmeal, etc.) with lean proteins and healthy fats. A great example is a whole-wheat flour tortilla with scrambled eggs, black beans, avocado, salsa and a sprinkle of cheese. This helps keep you full and energized.
2) Make lunch your main meal. Instead of having a light salad for lunch, try bringing in a stir-fry with fresh veggies, quinoa and a lean protein. Then you can have your mixed salad and a glass of wine for dinner.
3) Incorporate balanced snacks between meals to stabilize blood sugar and maintain energy. Combining a complex carbohydrate, a protein and a fat together in a snack is optimal. A good example would be an apple with peanut butter or these mint chocolate energy bites:
Note: This recipe is quick and easy if you have the ingredients on hand. And it can easily be doubled!
MINT CHOCOLATE ENERGY BITES
Makes 6 servings (140 kcal each)
• ¼ cup rolled oats
• ½ tablespoon chia seeds
• 2 tablespoons Sunspire 42% chocolate chips
• 2 tablespoons raw cashews, coarsely chopped
• 3 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
• 1 scoop Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder (plain/unsweetened)
• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon organic peppermint extract
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt
• 3 tablespoons water
• ½ bar of Endangered Species
• 72% Chocolate Forest Mint
1) In a food processor, add the rolled oats and chia seeds. Process until fine. Add the chocolate chips and cashews, and process until the chips are broken down to small pieces.
2) Then add the dates, protein powder, cocoa powder, vanilla and peppermint extract, and sea salt. Process until fine.
3) Add one tablespoon of water at a time, and pulse in between. The mixture should start to stick together.
4) Roll the mixture into six equal-sized balls. Place the balls onto a plate covered with parchment paper.
5) Fill a small saucepan with one inch of water. Place a small heatproof bowl inside the saucepan to create a double boiler.
6) Coarsely chop half the chocolate bar and add into the small heatproof bowl. Heat the saucepan over medium heat and stir the chocolate until melted and smooth.
7) Reduce the heat to low and roll each ball in the molten chocolate with a fork and immediately place onto the parchment-covered plate.
8) Put plate into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.
9) Store in an airtight container.
It's really so easy to make these. And if you can't find the specific ingredients above, like the chocolate bar or the Chia seeds, you can make modifications and still get awesome results. For more from Selva, be sure to follow her at Poppies and Papayas...and on Instagram, too!
Question: What is your favorite chocolate and/or mint treat? Me, personally...hard to pick, but this one ranks up at the top.