I’m beyond exciting that in just a few short weeks my new cookbook The Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook will finally be hitting bookstores May 7, but it’s available to pre-order now!!
This week, as an added bonus (and a thank you to everyone who has already pre-ordered the book!), if you pre-order the Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook from your retailer of choice, you will get access to a FREE 39-page bonus pack downloaded today with a 4-week dinner plan using recipes from all 4 of my cookbooks and my blog, a few sneak peaks from the new cookbook (Air Fryer Tortilla Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw, Air Fryer Herbed Cornish Hen for Two and Air Fryer Cheesy Green Chile–Chicken Chimichangas), an updated pantry list, a weekly grocery list, and 2 new exclusive air fryer recipes that you won’t see anywhere else! No worries if you already pre-ordered, simply use your proof of purchase!
Kids need a quick boost of whole food protein? Two of these fudgy energy balls provide 8 grams of plant protein with NO powders in sight.
When it comes to high-energy snacks for kids, we have demands. We want whole foods. We want protein. Not a crazy amount of sugar, please. Also healthy fats. And of course, great taste!
It might seem like a lot to ask of a snack you can pull out of the fridge and serve in the practical instant your kids say, “Can I have a snack?” But these peanut butter fudge energy balls are high-achievers like that.
Fudgy, chewy, and speckled with mini chocolate chips, these balls are a huge hit with kids from toddlers on up to… well at least middle-age. Stash them in your fridge for after-school snacks, or pack them to-go for park snacks or after-sports pick-me-ups.
We love them in lunchboxes, too, although they may not comply with your school’s allergy requirements. To make these energy balls peanut free, you can substitute your favorite seed butter in place of the peanut butter.
Plant-Powered, Whole Food Protein
These energy balls get their protein purely from nuts and seeds. Sure, we could have added a scoop of protein powder into this treat and checked off the “protein” box. But we like to focus on whole foods for our kids, because whole foods come with lots of added nutritional benefits like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
Which is exactly what you get with the blend of natural peanut butter and raw sunflower seeds in these energy balls. Together, these powerhouse ingredients provide four grams of protein per little ball. (For the sake of comparison, an egg or an ounce of cheese contains about six grams of protein. So if your kids eat two balls, they’ll get be getting more protein than they would from a serving of eggs or cheese. Pretty good, right?)
More Reasons We Like Protein Energy Balls for Kids
Protein is great. But the best snacks deliver a balance of nutrients at the same time. And these energy balls do just that.
Healthy fats and complex carbohydrates help kids stay satisfied, and give them the energy they need to play and learn.
Check out these special nutrition benefits from the whole food ingredients in this snack:
Whole grain rolled oats are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber.
Sunflower seeds have plenty of Vitamin E, selenium, and healthy fats.
Medjool datescontain minerals like potassium and copper, and they sweeten without refined sugars.
Tips for Making Perfect Protein Energy Balls
You’ll love how easy it is to make these sweet, chocolatey peanut-butter energy balls. It takes fewer than 10 minutes from start to finish!
To start, get out your trusty food processor. Add the oats and seeds and grind, grind grind. You’ll want to leave the blades running for a couple minutes to get as fine a consistency as you can for these ingredients. This is key for getting a really fudgy consistency!
When the oats and seeds are finely-ground, dump them straight into a mixing bowl, and place the pitted dates into the food processor. Blend them up until you get a sticky ball of date paste. (Make sure you use Medjool dates, rather than another variety like delet noor. Deglet noor dates, while tasty, are too dry to form a sticky ball.)
Add the date ball to the mixing bowl along with all the rest of the ingredients. And now? Now you gotta roll up your sleeves.
Knead the ingredients all together until everything’s really well incorporated. Don’t be afraid to get in there with your fingers and really mash it.
Then grab a clump of dough that’s roughly two tablespoons in volume, and roll it between your palms into you get a smooth ball. Repeat until all the dough is used up. And that’s it!
You can eat these room temperature or store them in the fridge for up to two weeks. We like to eat them cold, right out of the fridge.
Energy Bites, Balls, and More, Galore
Yup, we looooove all kinds of energy balls and bites. And you can make them in so many different flavors to match your tastes. Try some of our other healthy high-energy treats. Rest assured, they are ALL ROUND.
If you’re new to my meal plans, I’ve been sharing these free, 7-day flexible healthy meal plans (you can see my previous meal plans here) that are meant as a guide, with plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food, coffee, beverages, fruits, snacks, dessert, wine, etc or swap recipes out for meals you prefer, you can search for recipes by course in the index. You should aim for around 1500 calories* per day.
There’s also a precise, organized grocery list that will make grocery shopping so much easier and much less stressful. Save you money and time. You’ll dine out less often, waste less food and you’ll have everything you need on hand to help keep you on track.
Also, if you don’t have the Skinnytaste Meal Planner, now would be a great time to get one to get organized for 2019! There was a print error last year, but it’s perfect now! You can order it here!
Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, are designed to serve 1 while dinners and all meals on Saturday and Sunday are designed to serve a family of 4. Some recipes make enough leftovers for two nights or lunch the next day. While we truly believe there is no one size fits all meal plan, we did our best to come up with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. Everything is Weight Watchers friendly, I included the updated Weight Watcher Freestyle Points for your convenience, feel free to swap out any recipes you wish or just use this for inspiration!
The grocery list is comprehensive and includes everything you need to make all meals on the plan. I’ve even included brand recommendations of products I love and use often. Cross check your cabinets because many condiments you’ll notice I use often, so you may already have a lot of them.
And last, but certainly not least, this meal plan is flexible and realistic. There’s plenty of wiggle room for cocktails, healthy snacks, dessert and dinner out. And if necessary, you can move some things around to make it work with your schedule. Please let me know if you’re using these plans, this will help me decide if I should continue sharing them!
**Green salad includes 6 cups mixed greens, 3 scallions, 1 cup each: tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, chickpeas and ¾
cup light vinaigrette. Set aside 2 servings with dressing on the side for lunch Thurs/Fri.
This easy Key Lime Yogurt Pie is a cross between a key lime pie and a key lime cheesecake with a light, creamy filling that is sweet and tart, made with key lime juice, yogurt and cream cheese in a graham cracker crust.
Key Lime Yogurt Pie
The filling requires no baking, it’s set with gelatin so if you wish to make this a no-bake pie, you can also use a ready-made graham cracker crust. This was so delicious I had to get it out of my house, as I tested it a few times to get it just right! If you have been following me, you probably know how much I love pie, it’s my favorite type of dessert and the only sweets I really crave. Some other pies I love are this Peanut Butter Pie and this Mixed Berry Pie.
The fitness tracker trend is in full swing. But are they right for kids? Learn why you might want to measure kids’ activity levels–and when you shouldn’t.
Seeing fitness trackers everywhere? That’s no surprise. Between 20-40% of American adults use “wearable fitness devices” or fitness trackers, and the trend is expanding to include kids, too.
Fitness trackers promise a world of ease and progress in physical fitness. They help us make incremental improvements, nudge ourselves to be active, and celebrate personal bests.
But when you watch your eight-your-old bounding across the back yard with his friends, you might struggle to see how the fitness tracker mentality applies to kids. Do you want your kids to enter into the tech-heavy world of fitness tracking? Or is it better for them to play and move free of devices?
Read on to learn why and when you might choose to let your kids use fitness trackers… and the specific circumstances your kids might be better off without them.
When to Say “Yes” to Fitness Trackers for Kids
If you’re on the fence about buying your kids a fitness tracker, take a close look at your individual child and your shared motivations for wanting a fitness tracker. Consider a tracker if one or more of these circumstances rings true:
When it’s just for fun. Healthy, active kids might like to turn fitness trackers into game time. Let them run, jump, tumble, and play, and rack up “points” on their trackers.
When you need track your kids’ activity levels for medical reasons. Kids with medical conditions as diverse as diabetes to ADHD might benefit from using fitness trackers. Think of trackers as a tool to help you better understand symptoms and promote wellness.
When your teen athlete is working toward specific fitness goals. Fitness trackers can help teen athletes improve their performance at a healthy pace.
When to Say “No” to Fitness Trackers for Kids
Wearable devices don’t automatically help your kids, and they might even carry the potential for harm. Here are four times a fitness tracker probably isn’t right for your kids.
Your kid doesn’t want to wear one. If a fitness tracker feels like an obligation, your child might come to feel negatively toward physical activity–the opposite of what you’re aiming for!
You’re concerned that your child is focusing too strictly on health. If you start to notice what appears to be an excessive focus on exercise and/or regimented eating habits, a fitness tracker probably isn’t appropriate. In this case, please reach out to your family doctor or pediatrician with your concerns.
You’re having a low-tech moment. Technology abounds in our environment, and going without it can feel like a breath of fresh air for you and your kids. If you want your kids to tune in to their surroundings on the trail, for example, leave the fitness trackers at home.
You want to foster a love of physical activity for its own sake. One of the biggest benefits of physical activity and exercise is that it makes us feel good. Period. If you want to foster a love of movement and play, you might choose to forgo the system of competition and reward that’s inherent in kids’ fitness trackers.
The Bottom Line
Fitness trackers can be fun for kids, but the average healthy child doesn’t need a special device to move in a healthy way.
If you find yourself wishing your child were more active, it’s perfectly OK to turn to low-tech solutions first. Check out these articles for fresh ideas to help you AND your kids move more, feel better, and live longer.
When I was a kid, I was always intrigued by the boxes and bottles under grandma’s kitchen sink. One of those boxes that was prominently emblazoned with a Mr. Yuck sticker was “20 Mule Team Borax.” What a strange name, I thought as a kid (and still kind of do as an adult).
Just because Grandma used borax and she lived to be 95,