Instead of buying expensive protein bars all of the time (which is a guilty pleasure), I will occaisionally set out to make my own protein bars or balls. These are little hemp protein bites! The color is funny because that is what hemp looks like when it is ground up.
I used an organic Trader Joe’s hemp protein powder. I tried this out since I am pregnant and was looking to find something that would likely be cleaner, without additives, and without chemical contaminents.
Hemp Protein Bites
- 1/2 cup hemp protein powder (or you could try your favorite protein of choice)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup oats (I use gluten free oats)
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp IMO syrup (or use more honey or a maple syrup to bind)
- 2 Tbsp nut butter (I used natural peanut butter)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Combine all ingredients until the mixture forms a dry cookie dough consistency (take a few minutes of stirring and mashing with a fork). Mixture may still be mealy, but use hands to form into approximately 1-inch balls. As you use your hands to combine, the mixture will soften more easily.
With this recipe as the base, you can tweak it according to your preferences. You can add more nuts, more nut butter, different mix-ins like cacao nibs, less sweetener and more IMO syrup, etc.
I have mentioned IMO (isomalto-oligosaccacharides) syrup before. But, a quick note: it is usually made from root vegetables or corn sometimes. IMOs are basically a fiber extract that is well tolerated by the body, and also tastes a little sweet! It happens to be a good way to reduce sugar in recipes, and give a sticky texture to hold things together like protein bars. But, be careful as it is a lot of fiber, and you can overdo it. I never take in more than about 30 grams fiber from this syrup in a day for my own personal preference and experience. I buy it on Amazon here.
These protein balls are in the realm of tasting healthy. This means my husband would try it and say, “it tastes like health food”. I like them because I am used to the taste of the hemp protein and these types of foods. But, if you have never had any type of hemp product before, you may want to start with a vegan protein powder in the recipe first or a whey protein, and see how you like the less bitter tasting proteins.
Overall, these are a good balance of healthy fat, protein, and carbohydrates. So, perfect for an on the go snack or breakfast meal replacement!