Bars, balls, and bites! These are truly some of my favourite snacks to make.
Why? Well, they are quick, fun, easy, and can literally be made from thousands of combinations using nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and other fun and healthy additions! I’ve made chocolate bites, peach bars, pumpkin bars, hemp balls, apple pie balls, pb & j bars, apricot bars… the list goes on! (you can find all of these and more on the recipe page under the “snacks” category!)
So… when I was in Invermere, BC last weekend on a camping trip, I happened to stumble upon a cute little health foods store (Circle Health Food) that carried dried whole bananas, and an idea for a delicious, healthy, protein bite popped into my mind!
Who doesn’t love banana bread? Seriously, who? (Ok, I know there are a few of you weirdos out there…;)) It’s moist, it’s rich, it’s comforting, it’s bursting with flavour, and it can be made in a way that is really healthy! So I thought to myself “why not use these naturally dried bananas, mix them with a bunch of other healthy, whole foods, and make a banana bread inspired protein snack!?”
This cute little health store also carried raw cocoa nibs which I knew would make a fantastic, anti-oxidant rich addition to the banana bread bites.
Our weekend came to a close and we made our way back home from British Columbia, and as soon as the hubby and I arrived (from our 6 hour drive), what was the first thing I did? I plunked down my bags, rushed to the pantry, pulled out my food processor and got to business!
This was priority! Ha! Come to think of it now, that might have been a little neurotic, but what can I say, I love food, and when I get a recipe idea in my mind, I pretty much can’t stop thinking about it until it’s put into action.
The banana flavour from the dried bananas blended beautifully with dried dates, almond flour, whole almonds, pumpkin seed protein powder (a new favourite!), natural peanut butter, cocoa nibs, and some unsweetened almond milk, for that touch of moisture!
The banana bread bites ended up with a truly “bread-like” consistency. While the ingredients did stick together well, the bites still tasted lighter and fluffier than the usual protein bites/bars/balls I’ve made in the past which often have a more rich, dense texture.
I’m not sure if it was the use of the almond meal rather than oats, the pumpkin seed protein powder, or the dried bananas themselves that made these bites so bread-like and fluffy, but whatever it was, it worked!!
Using the protein powder also balanced out the carbohydrates coming from the dried fruit and the fats coming from the almonds and nut butter. This combination created a perfectly balanced protein bite that makes a delicious and energizing snack any time of the day!
Have you ever tried dried bananas? Love em, hate em? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
- ½ cup pitted dates
- 3 dried bananas (whole), chopped into pieces
- ¼ cup almond meal/flour
- ¼ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup natural pumpkin seed protein powder (I use Omega Nutrition brand, OR you can sub for another natural protein powder of choice)
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter)
- ¼ cup cocoa nibs (divided)
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- Add the dates, bananas pieces, almond meal, almonds, protein powder, nut butter, and 2 tablespoons of the cocoa nibs to a food processor and process for 1-2 minutes.
- Once relatively combined, continue to process and slowly pour almond milk through the top opening while the mixture is still processing.
- The mixture will begin to clump together and become sticky enough for rolling into balls (or pressing into a pan if you want to make bars instead).
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- On a large plate or baking sheet spread the remaining cocoa nibs.
- Using clean and slightly wet hands, scoop a tablespoon amount size of the mixture and roll into a ball shape using the palm of your hands, then roll into the cocoa nibs to lightly coat.
- The cocoa nibs should stick to the ball.
- Repeat until you've used all the mixture up. This should make around 12 good size protein bites.
- Keep in the fridge or freezer to store.
Have a lovely rest of the week!
Nutritionist in the Kitch
I would love to try this recipe but can’t find dried bananas that aren’t hard like chips. Can I use fresh bananas as a substitute?
Hey Lauren… fresh bananas wouldn’t work, I think it would change the consistency. I’m sorry you can’t find them… an option is to make your own dehydrated bananas…. http://www.storyofakitchen.com/healthy-snacks/dried-bananas/
The thing I love about these bites is that they’re cute enough to bring to a party, but nutritious enough to have as a pre-workout snack! 😀
They sure are! 🙂