Sunday, February 12, 2012

Oatmeal Chia Chocolate Balls

It's 8:27 p.m.
You are craving chocolate (more specifically, chocolate chip cookies) like nobodys business.

Option number 1:  Throw on several layers of clothes (hey, it's cold out there) and haul ass to the grocery store, only to lose your parking spot, having to park four blocks away upon your return.

Option number 2: Beg your significant other or housemate to go the store for you. Bribe them.

Option number 3: Peel your butt of the couch and make these oatmeal chia chocolate balls! They take around 10 minutes from start to finish and are loads healthier than eating the real deal.

I'm not going to lie and say these taste like chocolate chip cookies, 'cause they don't. If you are expecting a sugar/white flour/butter bomb (which I do love on occasion) then these aren't for you.

But... if you are looking for something quick to satisfy that sweet tooth, that is actually healthy for you, and isn't a piece of fruit, then these are the treats for you!

Let's talk superfoods.

We've got dates, oats, raw cacao, chia seeds and some lucuma powder.

Dates are a great source of fiber and contain high amounts of potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins. They are also a great natural source of energy as they have natural food based sugar like glucose, sucrose and fructose, making them perfect when you need a quick boost without the crash.

Oats help to lower cholesterol, boost immuinity and help stabilize blood sugar. They contains loads of soluble fiber and contain high amounts of vitamin E, zinc, selenium, iron and magnesium and have a good amount of protein. Now you know why you start your day with a bowl of oatmeal!

Raw cacao (unprocessed chocolate) contains high amounts of anti-oxidants and is one of the best sources of magnesium (which happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium helps to relax muscles, improve digestion and is benefical to the heart and cardiovascular system. Chocolate gets a bad reputation for causing weight gain, cavities and diabetes, which only occurs when you add dairy, sugar and other fillers.  Chocolate in it's unprocessed form, however can help you LOSE weight (because of it's high chromium content) prevent cavities (theobromine actually kills one of the strains of bacteria that causes tooth decay) and can regulate blood sugar (again, due to the chromium content) which is beneficial for diabetes.

Chia seeds (ch-ch-ch chia) are the best source of omega 3 fatty acids with high amounts of calcium, protein, fiber, antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. They help improve stamina, digestion and help reduce cravings because of their high levels of soluble fiber.

Lucuma powder is made from the subtropical fruit of the pouteria lucuma tree native to Peru and Equador. It has a sweet, almost butterscoth like flavor and is high in calcium, magnesium and potassium and iron. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps boost immunity.

Oatmeal Chia Chocolate Bites (makes 8 balls, or 16 little bites)
Adapted from Tasty-yummies

6 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 1/4 c. oats
1/3 c. raw cacao nibs
1 T. chia seeds
1/2 t. lucuma powder (optional)
2 T. honey
1/4 t. vanilla extract
1-2 T. water (if needed)

Place the pitted chopped dates in the food processor with 1 T. water and the vanilla extract and process to create a uniform paste, scraping down the sides, as needed. If the mixture seems a little dry, add a bit more water.
Add 1 c. of the oats, chia seeds, honey, and lucuma (if using) and process until combined. Add the raw cacao nibs and the remaining 1/4 c. oats and pulse to combine. If the dough seems too dry, add a bit more water. If it's too goopy add a bit more oats.

Roll mixture into balls with the palms of your hands (I used 1 T. for the small bites and 2 T. for the larger ones). Allow them to chill for 20 minutes in the frige before digging in.
Store in an airtight container for up five days in the refigerator.


Now go and satisfy that craving with zero effort and zero guilt.

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