These protein packed power balls make a great little snack or treat. The cocoa and dates add just enough sweetness that you’d never know there’s no sugar added!
I recently bought my first bar of unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao)… And to steal vocabulary from my 5-year-old, it tasted disgusting!
However, in some magical way the combination of ingredients in this recipe below make the cacao taste like “regular” chocolate. I have to thank a 100 Days of Real Food reader for introducing me to a version of this recipe. I would have never thought to put these items together and now we can’t stop eating these protein power balls!
A Snack Recipe That Keeps You Full
A lot of people (both kids and adults) turn to high sugar or processed carbohydrate snacks when they’re hungry. Not only are these terrible options from a real food perspective, they’re also not very filling.
The best snacks to keep you full for a long time contain both protein and fats like these power balls. They take longer for your body to digest, which leaves you feeling satisfied for a longer period of time.
Unfortunately so many packaged protein and fat rich nut snacks are full of additives like sugar and processed oils which is a no-go in our real food household.
That’s where these protein power balls come in! With 6 grams of plant-based protein and 15 grams of healthy fats, they’re a great post workout power food or kid-friendly snack.
Make Higher Protein Power Balls
I used pecans for my power balls, but at 2.6 grams of protein per ounce they aren’t the most high-protein option when it comes to nuts. If you’re looking to pack more protein into each power ball, try some of these options instead:
- Hazelnuts: 3.8g of protein per 1oz (and will make your power balls taste like Nutella)
- Walnuts: 4.3g of protein per 1oz
- Pistachios: 5.8g of protein per 1oz (shell before measuring)
- Cashews: 5.1g of protein per 1oz
- Almonds: 6g of protein per 1oz (highest protein option)
101 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Protein Power Balls”
Hi! The intro to the recipe talks about chocolate bars, but I don’t see them in the recipe. I have a 100% chocolate bar that was given to me that I’m trying to use up. I saw a comment below that the original recipe that had a chocolate bar was changed to this one with cocoa. Can you please post the original one? Thanks!
Hi Liz – Lisa was just referencing her experience tasting 100% cocoa in a bar, however the recipe has always called for cocoa powder from memory. I even went back and checked the oldest version of the post from June, 2010 (just one month after she started the blog), and it calls for cocoa powder. I assume you could grind up your bar and use it as a substitute though. – Jason
That’s funny… I swear I remember making these several years ago with 100% cacao bars!
Hi. If I sent these to school for an afternoon snack, do you think they would “hold up” until the afternoon? Thanks!
Yes! Lisa has sent them in her kids’ lunch boxes before. – Nicole
Hey, this recipe has changed! I used to make it all the time, and the recipe called for an ounce or two from a cacao bar. Now it calls for powder. Where’s the original recipe? (I used to make it and loved it. We took a break from peanuts for a while, so I haven’t made it. I’d love to have the original recipe back.)
These are so satisfying! I only had medjool dates and had to pit them first, but this is a really great recipe and super quick to throw together! Thank you!!
I have a proablem with my sugar levels dropping all the time so im trying these to see if they help me out. Also to have healthier snacks.
LOVE these! I’ve been making these for my very picky boys…
Modifications that I have been doing: I cut the honey down over time to 1/3 a cup, and just add more peanut butter.
Also, for peanut butter cup fans…I’ve been adding unsweetened cocoa powder to make a chocolate peanut butter version. Now, it’s not a reese’s, but they taste pretty darn good!
My kids eat these quicker than I can make them! Thank you again for helping us find real food recipes!!!
I made the “date” version for a church social and set it aside for our diabetics – they all loved them. Instead of nuts I used the leftover almond meal from the almond milk. I didn’t have medjool dates but I added 5 deglet noor dates instead.
Oops ! I also used cocoa powder, it’s what I had ! :)
I also used coco powder.
Can you give a nutrition count on these? Calories? Protein? Fat grams and such? Just want to make sure I’m staying within my guidelines. :) But they are delish!
Hi there. That is not information that we provide. This post helps explain that philosophy: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/01/04/healthy-eating-defined/.
Sorry if this has been asked before but are these freezable?
I see the recipe says 100% cacao, but then it says chocolate bar. Can I just use powdered 100% cacao?
Has anyone made these with seeds to make a nut free version for preschool?
Hi Lisa. You can find Lisa’s nut free Lara Bars here: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/07/01/recipe-homemade-larabars-4-ways-including-nut-free/. And here you will find some for everyone: http://picklebums.com/2015/03/02/15-snack-balls/.
How long do these last? Should they be refrigerated? We are looking to substitute store bought granola bars with other more nutritious treats but want something with a good pantry/backpacking shelf life. Thanks
Hello Lilly. Yes, I would keep them in the fridge for up to a week.
Could you use dried cherries or maybe crasins instead of dates, figs or raisins? Just can’t stand any of those.
Hi Peg. You are welcome to try any combo you like. Dates and figs are fleshy and sticky and work well to bind. It might be a little more challenging with other dried fruits. :)
Is there anything I can substitute for the dates? My daughters don’t like dates and I really want to try these for them!
Hi Jessica. I make a version with more nut butter and a bit of honey for sweetness. I’ve also used figs as well as very plump golden raisins. ~Amy
For the chocolate power balls can you use unsweetened cocoa powder instead of the chocolate bar?
Hello Toni. We’ve not tried. If you do, let us know how they turn out. ~Amy
Are medjool dates ok to use? It says dry dates but I’m not sure what those are. Thanks!
Hi Mandy. Medjool dates are dried. ;) ~Amy
I just made these power balls. Delicious!! How do they do in the freezer? Ok to freeze for later?
Hi Cassie. You can keep them frozen for up to 3 months. ~Amy
Love these, super yummy. Perfect for that afternoon chocolate crazing and I usually pop one right before bed.
I was wondering why they need to be refrigerated. I buy the all natural fresh ground peanut butter from Whole Foods that comes in the little deli container but I don’t remember if that needs to be refrigerated.
Maybe this is a silly question, but the chocolate bar has squares that are measured in ounces, but your recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of the chocolate. How many squares is that? Thanks!
Hi Kate. Three tablespoons is 1.5 ounces. Hope that helps. ~Amy
Could you roll these in chia seeds?
Hi Jill. Of course. :)~Amy
I made these chocolate powerballs & they are wonderful. We added brown puffed rice to give them a bit of crunch. Awesome!
good real good i liked it lots!
Do you have suggestions on making it allergy friendly? Dairy and nut free, vegan? You have a lot of PB stuff on your website, but lots of schools are also nut free..
Hi Chet. You could possibly substitute sunflower butter. As for the nuts, I’m not sure it would work the same if you leave them out all together. There shouldn’t be any dairy that needs to be replaced. Jill
What are the total carbs, if a diabetic or cholesterol diet?
Hi Judy. I’m sorry but we don’t track nutrition information. There are various tools available online that you can use to calculate the specifics. Hope that helps. ~Amy
I tried making a nut free version with sunflower seed butter instead of PB, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) instead of nuts. They were really good. I am sure you could also sub sunflower seeds or maybe some coconut for part of the nuts. I also used cocoa powder and some coconut oil in mine. Yum! Thanks for the recipe!
i have an alternate version you can try: 1 cup oats â€¢1/2 cup chocolate chips or dates â€¢1/2 cup natural peanut butter â€¢1/2 cup ground flaxseed â€¢1/3 cup honey â€¢1 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 cup of almonds. refrigerate and enjoy! you can even add other nuts of your choosing or dried fruit or coconut!
Just made the PB Honey Version and perhaps I will try the Chocolate version sometime. I will say they are very sweet even for my sweet tooth. I think if I make them again I will cut the honey in half. Also very messy to make I had coconut stuck to everything in the kitchen (of course not everyone is grossed out by getting messy).
Good gracious! Just made 2 batches of the chocolate ones and they are so delicious and addictive! I had to make myself stop at two while I was forming the others to store for the children tomorrow. Hope they make it until the morning! And you’re right, the unsweetened chocolate is magically transformed into this decadent, yet healthy treat. Thanks for sharing this one!