Eating well would be a breeze if we always had the time to create healthy meals. Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t always work like that, and more often than we’d like, our meals become afterthoughts – even footnotes – in our busy days, rather than the focus we wish they could be.

As we know all too well, it’s when our meals become rushed or spur of the moment that our choices tend to become less than ideal – more about immediate gratification and less about long-term health. But forewarned is forearmed, and if we can identify the times we are most apt to make a poor dietary choice, we can also provide the solution that enables us to eat well, even on the most demanding and hectic of days.

Planning ahead is key. What you want is a snack that is nutrient dense, easily portable, and indulgent enough to compete with the less than savory options that may be tempting you when hunger sets in and stress levels are high.

Enter the energy ball!

Made of a blend of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices, energy balls (or bites) are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up or post-gym treat. Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, they are indulgent enough to satisfy a sugar craving without wreaking havoc on your blood sugar or triggering an afternoon slump. You can make up a big batch on the weekend in just twenty minutes flat that will provide you with healthy snacks for the entire week. The best part is that you can also sneak in your daily dose of adaptogenic herbs like maca, ashwagandha, or reishi that will, over time, actually improve your body’s innate capacity to handle stress.

While there is certainly no substitute for sitting down to enjoy a carefully prepared meal full of fresh, nutrient-packed ingredients, it’s nice knowing you have a Plan B for days when your schedule is full and time is scarce. Why not set yourself up for success? You deserve it.

Adaptogenic Energy Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds (135g)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (70g)
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (130g)
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon adaptogen powder of choice (maca, reishi, ashwagandha, he shou wu), optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt

Optional toppings: freeze-dried raspberry powder, cocoa powder, toasted coconut, dark chocolate, pistachios

Instructions:

  1. Place the almonds and coconut into a food processor and pulse until a flour forms, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients (except optional toppings) and pulse again until the mixture begins to clump together, about 5 minutes.
  3. Scoop out equal portions of the mixture and roll the mixture into small balls using your hands.
  4. Once you have shaped the mixture into balls, you can roll them in your desired toppings to coat the outsides, though you can also enjoy them as is.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Writer Danielle Charles Davies holds a Bsc in Herbal Science from Bastyr University and completed the two-year clinical training program at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism in Montpelier, VT. Her writing has appeared in Taproot, The Journal of the American Herbalist Guild, and Kindred Magazine, among others. She lives in Northern Michigan with her husband, two dogs and eight ducks. She blogs at www.bluemoonkitchen.com.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.