I often find I need a quick pick me up at about 3:00 PM. This usually consists of a cup of green tea and something sweet. But since I want to limit my intake of refined sugar, I've been on the lookout for products that are naturally sweet. I've found some snack bars, while they are marked as natural or have a GMO-free seal, the sugar contained in them is refined not natural. How do I know?
If a product does not list the sugar as being Organic sugar, then you can bet it is refined and / or GMO. What is also interesting, is we have no clue how much sugar is really in a serving of any product by simply reading the label. Do you know how much a gram of sugar is? I know I don't. We do not operate on the metric system in the US. It is so clever that products are labeled in metric which is very confusing to American consumers.
An easy way to think about how much sugar is in a serving: 4 grams = 1 tsp of sugar. If we look at a popular instant breakfast, oatmeal with any flavoring, it can have anywhere from 11 grams - 13 grams of sugar. This translates into 2.75 tsp - 3.25 tsp of sugar in a single serving. That is a lot of refined sugar for just one meal. Since finding foods without refined sugar can be challenging, I've tried to make my own sweet snacks.
One great thing about using fruit, which contains natural sugar, is the sugar is combined with other vitamins and minerals. When combined with additional nutrients, it helps the body absorb the natural sugar in a timely fashion instead of providing a big spike in blood sugar. Plus, by eating fruit based snacks and desserts you are getting potent antioxidants. Antioxidants can help support your body's fight against disease causing free radicals.
Given all of the above, I decided to try my hand at making Fig Energy Balls. Costco had a bag of dried figs on sale so I bought it! You have to love the unplanned purchases at Costco. But of course, as the big bag of figs was staring at me every time I opened the pantry door, I started thinking what else I can do with them. So I experimented.
I made Fig Energy Balls for an afternoon snack. They were so easy to make! And without any added sugar, resulted in a healthy snack for the work week. The Fig Balls are so versatile! Any nuts or seeds can be used. The add-ins are totally up to you! I simply used what was in the pantry. Feel free to follow the recipe below or make a change based on what you have in your pantry. The recipe is below.
If you make my Fig Energy Balls, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heatherleehurst and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on my recipes! If you would like to receive healthy living advice and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.
Serving Size: 1 Fig Ball
Makes: 12 Fig Balls
15 Dried Figs
1/4 cup nuts or seeds (I used pumpkin seeds)
1/3 cup oats
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 TBSP Hemp Hearts
2 TBSP Raw Honey
3/4 cup of a topping to roll the balls in: coconut flakes, raw cocoa powder, chopped nuts, wheat germ, ground flax seed meal, anything goes! I had a little bit of a coconut mix that had seeds and nuts in it left in the pantry so I used that.
1-2 TBSP Water, as needed
Put all ingredients into a food processor.
Process until the ingredients make a ball. It takes about 5 minutes. You will have to stop it to scrape down the sides at least once. I found the mixture got a little thick so I added 1 TBSP water half-way through the mixing.
To assemble, the mixture will be very sticky.
Put a little bit of coconut oil on your hands for easy handling.
Roll the fig mix into balls, roll the balls into your topping of choice.
Place on parchment paper and put in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. The balls are ready to eat!
Let me know what you thought of this recipe by leaving a comment below!