These Mocha Protein Balls are the end result of some serious cravings lately for a protein heavy snack in the afternoon. I’ve dabbled lately in a few bought protein bars and balls but they just don’t hit the spot. I’ve spoken in some previous posts about amping up protein intake with my increased strength training and it seems the quest for hitting the demand continues. Throughout winter my Spiced Hot Chocolate was hitting the mark, but I’ve been eager for a change to mark the end of the season.
The idea with these Mocha Protein Balls was to also create a protein ball that was a little lower in fats than the standard ball recipes with more carbs. Reason? This makes them useful for a pre or post training hit. I love the idea of packing one of these in my gym bag and being able to munch on it on the way to the gym or even between sets if necessary.
I spend a lot of time at the gym. It’s my absolute sanctuary. Ear phones on, the latest podcasts of interest (nothing to do with health, always completely dissociated – which of late is (The White Vault) playing in my ears, phone on the floor to keep track of my sets and reps. As soon as I walk in the door I am zoned in, all stressors left outside. It’s just me, the squat rack and dumbbells. Of course it feels great to build strength and see aesthetic progress, but the real benefit to me is the mental side. It’s hard to think about work or anything else when you are fixated on your breath and counting reps. I find it physically impossible to have your mind wonder, which is I guess why its become my own loved form of meditation.
It’s ironic really to say this about an inside setting when we live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia. Walking outside and looking at the surroundings, the sounds of the river and the wildlife is ridiculously peaceful. However I’ll admit that unless I jam a podcast in my ears to distract myself, I’ll walk around this gloriously picture postcard place and think about work until my neurons feel sore. Yes I’ve meditated in the past, yoga too. Love them all but nothing has my focus and commitment as much as that weight room.
At The JCN Clinic our JCN Nutritionists and Naturopath are more often than not discussing the best form of ‘switch off time’ or ‘mediation’ for our clients. In today’s fast past, social media driven world its simply hard to properly attain real down time. With being so ‘on’ all the time our perception of stress becomes skewed. So many of us are living in a state of ongoing stress without even realising it has become our norm. It’s not until we take ourself truly away without connectivity for a significant amount of time that we realise the implications of low grade stress on our day to day life.
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So why is this chronic low grade stress problematic? It puts a consistent strain on our overall well-being. If we already have gut issues or hormone issues then stress is essentially fuel to the fire. I mean honestly, I think we have all experienced a heightening of symptoms when stressed out. A sensitive gut that flares. A extra painful and PMS nightmare level period. When we already have a level of inflammatory stress then adding more physical or mental stress will tend to add to the stressor cascade.
Therefore, for us at The JCN Clinic to truly help holistically we need to consider all contributing factors. We can have an effect on chronic dysbiosis, IBS, PMS etc with dietary and supplemental intervention for sure, but if we don’t get serious about the other contributing stressors then we are not dealing with all the pieces of the puzzle. Unfortunately this can be the hardest area to ‘treat’. It’s easy to take a supplement or to change up your diet, but fundamentally changing your lifestyle stressors is often the most confronting when it comes to embedded habits. On top of this, if the stressor is your job or a family stressor you often just can’t remove yourself from it. For us at JCN this highlights even more so why it is imperative for us to have conversations with clients about management tools that help effectively create mental space for the nervous system to relax and chill the F out in the most suitable way for you.
Ideally if you are nodding your head as this resonates with you, it inspires you to have a serious think about what fills your cup in the realm of a mental health break. It doesn’t have to be throwing weights around the gym like me – it might be a daily short walk or reading for 15 minutes to start your day. We are all uniquely different. Just have a think about what gives you that spark and embrace it regularly.
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If you are after personalised nutrition advice and dietary planning individualised to your health and dietary needs then contact us at The JCN Clinic with your enquiry. We are always happy to answer any questions you have!
mocha protein balls
- makes 10 balls
- preparation time
- 20 min
- cooking time
- 1 cup (100g) pea protein isolate (unflavoured)
- 1/2 cup (65g) cacao nibs
- 1/3 cup (75g) activated buckini’s
- 1/3 cup (30g) raw cacao
- 1/3 cup 100% maple syrup
- 1/3 cup hulled tahini
- 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The use of activated buckini’s will create more of a crunch to these mocha protein balls. Buckwheat groats would work, but you will loose some of that delicious crunch factor. You can also use other protein powders if you prefer. Just remember flavoured versions will create a sweeter finish.
Add the pea protein isolate powder to a large mixing bowl.
Add the cacao nibs and the activated buckini’s to a blender and pulse to roughly break down into smaller pieces. Be mindful of not over blending as you don’t want to create a flour, you want it to have texture.
Pour the blended mix of buckini’s and cacao nibs into the bowl with the pea protein isolate powder. Add the cacao powder and mix well.
Now add to the dry mix the maple syrup, hulled tahini, coffee and vanilla extract. Mix well to start with a wooden spoon and then get your hands in there to bring the dough together. The dough should stick together nicely. If you feel its a bit dry, add a touch of water.
Divide the mocha protein ball dough roughly into 10 pieces and then roll into balls. You can make smaller balls if you prefer but the larger size will provide the upper amount of protein.
Place mocha protein balls in a sealed container and store in the freezer, as they are lovely and fudgy this way.
nutritional information for mocha protein balls
- These mocha protein balls are great combination of protein and carbohydrates for an in-between meal snack, providing over 10g protein per ball. This recipe is also lighter on added fats than my other protein ball recipes making them a great choice for a pre-work out or post work out protein and carb hit.
Nutrition Information (per ball)
|Calories/KJ||226 cal/945 kj|
Jessica Cox is a qualified practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition) and over 15 years of clinical experience. She is the founder and director JCN Clinic, published author and established recipe developer. Jessica is well respected within health and wellness space for her no fad approach and use of evidence-based nutrition.