By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
Wondering how to make energy balls or energy bites? It’s so easy with this gluten-free chocolate almond butter protein balls recipe. Plus, these healthy breakfast balls are an easy no-bake recipe!
Looking for great recipes for snack time or breakfast? These chocolate almond butter protein balls are perfect. The energy bites offer plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fat to keep you fuller for longer.
Plus, the healthy energy bites are totally delish and don't require any equipment like a food processor! Healthy snacking, here we come.
Why Protein Bites are a Great Snack
I love snack foods almost more than meals. So I often look for ways to incorporate said snacks into meals—which is how I got to thinking up these delicious almond butter protein balls! Plus, who can say no to that delicious chocolate almond butter taste?
I can pair a couple of these almond butter balls with a banana or peach for breakfast or have one for a snack. And the crushed pistachio adds such a delicious crunch.
Each bite contains 13 grams fat, but almost all of that is the heart-healthy poly- and monounsaturated varieties. The chocolate almond balls are made with 1 1/2 cups of oats, which add filling fiber to the recipe. Now go ahead and pick up the ingredients from the grocery store!
Why Eating Fat Can be Good for You
Throughout my day, I purposefully eat fat, which is why I like to nosh on these almond butter chocolate protein balls for snack time.
Healthy fats such as the almond butter in these almond butter chocolate balls contain monounsaturated fats, which
have long been linked with heart health. Other sources of heart-healthy fats include natural peanut butter, flax seeds, and even dark chocolate chips.
But a study suggests that most dietary fat—even saturated fat, associated with heart disease and other health problems—may be helpful for weight loss when eaten in a diet that’s low in carbs.
In the study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, 148 women and men who were racially diverse, as
well as who had overweight or obesity, were assigned either a low-fat (less than 30% daily calorie intake from total fat, with less than 7% from saturated fat, plus 55% from carbohydrates)
or a low-carb (less than 40 grams daily) diet. They were not asked to limit overall calories.
The results are exciting. After a year, the low-carb group lost significantly more weight: about 12 pounds, versus about 4 for the low-fat group. They also lost more body fat and gained more muscle—and also had a much greater decrease in estimated 10-year risk for heart disease.
However, the study was small, and researchers followed participants for just a year—so long-term effects of the low-carb diet studied are unknown. Because this study was preliminary, more research needs to be done to confirm the findings.
The low-carb group ended up eating significantly more total fat (including both saturated fat and monounsaturated fat) than the low-fat group, as well as fewer calories. The total fat was about double what’s recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the saturated fat was more than twice the 5% to 6% of daily calories recommended by the American Heart Association.
So does this mean you should cut back on carbs and eat more fat? Maybe. It might be helpful for weight loss and heart health, but as with any diet that’s low in a particular nutrient and/or higher in another, you should speak with a doctor or dietitian about changing your dietary habits. This is particularly the case if you have diabetes or a kidney condition.
How to Make This Chocolate Almond Butter Balls Recipe
Part of what I love about being an RDN is spending time in the kitchen creating healthy, yummy recipes. I've been really into super-quick snack recipes lately. I'm talking the ready-in-five-minutes-or-less kind.
How to make these quick oatmeal energy balls? You'll see that the directions for this almond butter protein balls recipe calls for letting these harden in the fridge or freezer, atop parchment paper in an air-tight container.
I personally like these almond butter bites a little frozen (they don't get completely hard, just firmer), but I'll leave the choice of how to make this energy ball recipe up to you!
Now, are you ready to whip up these protein balls with almond butter? By the way, if you'd like to make these almond butter cocoa balls more decadent, you can feel free to roll the finished balls in a 1/4 cup or so of shredded coconut.
And while I love that the balls are made without any added sugar, you can feel free to add in some maple syrup if the balls aren't sweet enough for you.
Now, go ahead and enjoy these snack balls! You don't even need any roasted almonds or olive oil to make them!
Helpful Kitchen Tools
This post was updated in June 2020. A version of this content originally appeared on WeightWatchers.com.
Let me know if you make these almond butter cacao balls! How are you enjoying these almond butter protein balls? What are your favorite ingredients for breakfast balls?
Chocolate Almond Butter Protein Balls
- In a medium bowl, mix oats, almond butter, chia seeds, 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder, pistachios, and vanilla extract with a spoon until well combined.
- Roll into balls with hands, then place on parchment paper in an air-tight container.
- Dust with remaining cocoa powder. Refrigerate or freeze for a few hours or overnight.
Sat. Fat (grams)2
Did you make this recipe?
- A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine
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