Dark Chocolate & Apricot Oat Balls

Snack

Oat balls are perfect for a healthy snack on the go, they are made for outdoor adventures or lunchbox treats.

These balls are a no bake version so you never have to worry about them falling apart or sticking to the baking tray, so a real winner in my eyes.

Dark chocolate gives you an antioxidant boost whilst the dried apricot adds an all important sugar kick. I have used almond butter in this recipe but your nut butter of preference would be perfect.

I love to have these as a snack on the way to training and matches or as a sweet treat in the late evenings.

The inspiration came for these from one of my favourite food bloggers Gina Matsoukas who blogs at Running To The Kitchen so be sure to check out her site.

Makes 12.IMG_7451 (1)-01.jpeg

  • 30g dried apricots
  • 20g raisins
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • zest of 1/2 small orange
  • 2 tbsp coconut chips
  • 3 tbsp milled linseed
  • 100g jumbo oats
  • 50g dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 75g almond butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Roughly chop the apricots and place in a bowl with the raisins, orange juice and zest. Mix together and allow the apricots soak up the juice.
  2. Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add the apricots and raisins.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond butter, honey and vanilla essence until smooth.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry either with your hands or a fork until well coated.
  5. Dampen your hands and roll 1 tablespoon at a time of the mixture into ball shapes. Place on a tray lined with parchment. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  6. Place the tray flat in a freezer for at least 20 minutes to set. Once set, you can transfer to a resealable box or bag and store in your freezer or fridge.
  7. When eating them from your freezer, allow them to defrost for 5 minutes before eating.

5 Healthy snacks to beat the 3pm slump!

Snack

IMG_4541Snacks are essential to life but more often than not, we will be easily swayed by the allure of the numerous chocolate bars, cleverly marketed cereal bars and fizzy drinks clamoring for attention on every magazine, shop till and bus-stop. Life is busy and work is result driven therefore we all need to fuel our bodies to perform. Ensuring you are eating adequate food sources regularly is essential to maintain a full tank of energy for whatever the day brings!

Another quick way to ensure you are not unnecessarily snacking and maintaining peak performance is by ensuring you are hydrated. As a sportswoman, hydration is part of my daily routine, a full bottle of water is always by my side.

For this blog post, I have teamed up with Ballygowan who are a great Irish company who meet the hydration needs of many workplaces and sports teams across the country. They have recently launched a new product, Sparklingly Fruity, which is a great replacement for anyone who favours fizz over water to meet their hydration needs. So why not try some of my top five favourite snacks.

  1. Water – did you know our bodies are approximately 60% water? We are constantly losing and gaining water throughout the day, that’s why it is essential to keep a close eye on your urine colour and ensuring you are snacking on water. Again if you are trying to curb unnecessary snacking – simply have a bottle of water close at hand to banish cravings for sugar.
  2. Nuts – a quick and easy source of essential fat, protein and numerous trace elements. Simply have a large bag of mixed nuts in your handbag, car or at your desk to ensure a healthy snack option at all times. A small amount goes far so this infograph is a great guide to portion sizes. 
  3. Apples slices topped with nut butter – quick, easy and tasty. 
  4. Granola coated nutty banana – simply slather some nut butter over a banana and then roll in granola. These can be frozen or kept in the fridge until ready to be eaten. I find these great to have as a pre-match snack. 
  5. Oatcakes and hummus –  oatcakes are a great source of slow release energy whilst the hummus is bursting with protein. Follow this super easy recipe to make your own oatcakes and beetroot hummus. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Oatcakes:

  • 8oz oats
  • 25g solid coconut oil
  • 225ml boiling water
  1. Blitz the oats in a blender of food processor until they form a coarse flour.
  2. Melt the oil in the water & add to the oats. Combine with a fork until a dough forms, cover with cling film & place in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  3. Divide the dough in two & place one half between two sheets of parchment. Roll the dough out to about 1 inch thick.
  4. Using a cookie cutter divide into portions. Repeat the process with the remaining half of dough. Place on a greased & lined baking tray.
  5. Bake at 130°c for 1.5 to 2hours. Allow to cool on a wire rack & store in an airtight box or freeze.

Minty Beetroot Hummus:

  • 400g tin broad beans
  • 300g cooked beetroot
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 50g walnuts
  1. Rinse & strain the tinned beans.IMG_3966
  2. Place the beans, roughly chopped beetroot & mint in a food processor. Blitz until a smooth purée is formed.IMG_3967
  3. Add the walnuts & lemon juice. Blitz again until fully combined.IMG_3968
  4. Keeps fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days or divide into smaller portions & freeze.