Protein is one of the main elements of a meal. Humans need protein to build up all their body organs and systems. Proteins are made of smaller units called amino acids, and amino acids can either be made within the body or obtained from food rich in protein, which is then broken up by the stomach and intestines. Proteins can be obtained from both animal and plant sources, and they are nowadays prepared and served in many forms from fresh meals to prepared powder and bars.
The richest food sources of proteins include:
- Red meat: widely considered the richest source of protein
- Fish: Fish is the healthiest protein which is also rich in healthy fats and vitamins.
- Poultry: Poultry is another source of high-quality protein that is widely consumed. It is also lower in cholesterol than red meat.
- Oats: Oatmeal is one of the richest plant sources of protein. It is a great alternative to animal sources in vegetarians and an option for breakfast, lunch, and even snacks.
There is a growing trend of eating high-energy and high-protein food either as snacks or even as main meals. In the case of protein balls, they are primarily eaten as snacks and are a great alternative to unhealthy snacks. They can be prepared at home with a few ingredients that you can find in your local supermarket. Protein balls are better stored in a refrigerator for their taste to remain and to avoid rot. They can also be frozen for an extended period and defrosted when needed.
The main ingredients of Protein balls
Protein balls usually have the following ingredients:
- Rolled oats: Rolled oats are an important part of protein balls. They have a chewy consistency and are very rich in fibers. Fibers are important for gut health and help protect against constipation. Oats are also relatively low in calories and rich in protein. One advantage of rolled oats is that they do not need cooking since they are steamed as a part of their preparation.
- Protein powder: Protein powder can be bought at your local supermarket and helps increase the nutritional value of the meal with additional protein. You will only need about one tablespoon of it. If you dislike putting protein powder in your protein balls, you can replace it with flaxseed or chia seeds. You can also find flavored protein powder including chocolate flavor.
- Peanut butter: peanut butter is an important part of protein balls and is the reason for the creamy taste and consistency that is characteristic of protein balls. It is rich in protein and offers a special delicious taste to your protein balls. Peanut butter can be replaced by almond butter if you prefer its taste. You need an equivalent amount of peanut butter and oats for protein bars.
- Honey: Honey is the best sweetener for protein bars and its benefits are countless health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties and boosting immunity. Honey has been used as a cornerstone in traditional medicine for centuries. It is also ideal to maintain a healthy gut and as a treatment for cough and intestinal problems.
- Maple syrup: Maple syrup is a sweetener alternative to honey for those who prefer it. Maple syrup can be a better alternative to honey if you are worried about weight gain and your blood sugar. It has a lower glycemic index than sugar, which means that it raises blood sugar at a lower pace than honey.
- Milk: Milk is an optional addition for protein balls. It is rich in protein and can be used as a substitute for water to make dough. Milk is also rich in fat and calories. This is why many people might choose not to use it to limit the caloric value of protein balls. However, there is another option, which is to use skimmed milk instead of full milk. Skimmed milk has fewer calories, but its low fat makes its vitamin content also less since most vitamins in milk are actually dissolved in its fat including vitamins A, D, and E.
How are they made?
- Gather your ingredients
- Mix the ingredients in a bowl to make a dough using a wooden spoon or spatula. The consistency of the dough will be a little rough as most components will remain solid and will not mix perfectly. Continue stirring for a few minutes. If you feel that the mixture is too dry, add one tablespoon of water at a time.
- Use your hands to make balls of your preferred size. Usually, it should be the size of your bite.
- Place the balls in a plate and refrigerate it for 2-3 hours
- Enjoy them with your friends and family