Loaded with all kinds of super nutritious and wholesome ingredients, this sturdy Veggie Barley Salad is a veritable explosion of flavors and textures! Perfect for potlucks, picnics or no-fuss lunch at the office.
Man, I love barley! Really I don’t understand why it is that it’s so unpopular, this grain. It has the coolest texture, so much flavor, and is so crazy uncomplicated, too!
Unlike rice, barley is super easy to cook… you just can’t mess it up! And unlike rice, it’s equally delicious hot or cold, making it a perfect contender for cold salads. Why people still use cold rice in salads is beyond me. I mean, the thing gets totally unpalatable after it’s been in the fridge for a while. It becomes hard and dry and totally tasteless. But barley? Barley stays supple, crunchy and chewy and has the coolest of textures, even when cold. Not to mention the fact that it remains super tasty, too!
Granted, it may take a little bit longer to cook than rice, but it’s so much worth the extra time. Plus, you can totally make a bigger batch and reheat it later, or use the leftovers to make all kinds of dishes, like this very salad, for instance. Me, I even like to throw some in my morning cereal; it gives it tons of texture, and much nutritional benefits, too!
Why not go ahead and cook a batch now, and then whip up this super delicious and nutritious salad?
If you’re not sold on it yet, give it a try. I’m sure that you too, will totally adopt it.
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.
Don’t settle for canned soup; homemade is so much better – and saves cans, too! Plus, this one-pot Vegan Vegetable Lentil Soup recipe is so easy to make and tastes so good, it’s undoubtedly going to become a family favorite! If you’re willing to share, that is…
I’ve been on a crazy Lentil Soup kick lately… I must have had it for lunch at least 3-4 times a week for the past 2 months…
Only, I’d made it a habit of eating it from a can — yes, yes, really: straight out of a can! — which I would buy by the case at Costco. Surprisingly, despite the overall mushiness and “overcookedness” (I totally just made up that word) of the lentils, the soup is still decent enough to keep me coming back for more. But then I started thinking about all the waste that I was generating, between the cans themselves and the cardboard box that held all the cans together.
So I thought hey, why not make a big batch of homemade lentil soup on the week-end instead and have it last me all week, if I’m going to eat this much Lentil Soup? Not only is my soup going to taste that much better, but I’m also going to save all this waste, too! Not to mention be done with the mushy lentils!
And so I went through with this plan and figured I would log the recipe, while I was at it… because I get the feeling I’ll be making this soup time and time again! Indeed, this homemade version is so good, I may very well find myself eating it every day, now!
Or well, at least for a couple more weeks, or months!