Janet McCormick/For The Herald-Dispatch Energy Protein Balls can also include coconut, chocolate chips, raisins or any dried fruit.

For most of the last decade, the world has gravitated to a perennial low-carb diet, eschewing bread and often sugar, with only a few exceptions.

When family would come over for dinner in the beginning of this whole migration, I would always ignore our commitments to this new concept and make something that included pasta. I'd tell myself this menu was a perfect stand-in for a cheat day and my children and guests need a break with some delicious eats thinking nothing could beat comfort food like cream, cheese and pasta.

Realizing I needed to adopt this new lifestyle for every day, I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with a menu that would work for everyone. The results became some of my favorite meals to this day.

The good news is I'm even considering our meals or snacks needed for high energy - like when Joe is about to destroy my energy with a workout that my body, soul and mind won't soon forget. Did I tell you he's a monster coach and growls encouraging words like "Come on, you can do it, just five more reps!"

I admit, I like having the benefits of his enthusiasm, and it's definitely created a connection and filled some gaps in our relationship. We even do Friday night date night in the gym. The least I can do is fill up his meal replacement and protein snack bar drawer with home-made treats like this.

My only regret is I wish I had this kind of resolve when my children were little. This energy ball is full of fiber and whole grains and sweetened with honey. This in itself is a snack or dessert.

It reminds me of the no-bake cookies we used to make when we were kids. The only difference is all the white refined sugar would have been nowhere near the lips of my cherubs. I'm not killing my dreams of sugar-filled desserts, but I am offering a wonderful, delicious alternative when an energy snack with a little more protein than usual is necessary for a heavy workout. Packing a few of these in your children's lunch would also make a great substitute for packaged food we all grab when nothing else is available.

I put this together in minutes, and it stores well in the fridge. You can also substitute or add in ingredients to suit your preferences. Things like coconut, chocolate chips, raisins or any dried fruit are great additions. I love dark chocolate that has less sugar, and so I've hidden a chunk in each ball I rolled up.

These are excellent breakfast replacement meals as well. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have.


1 cup rolled oats (uncooked)

1/2 cup milled flaxseed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup honey

12 chocolate chunks (dark chocolate)

1 tablespoon peanut butter protein powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a bowl mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chunks and roll into balls (makes 12), adding a chocolate chunk in the middle of each ball. Can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 12 days. 111 calories, 4 grams protein, 13 grams carbs, 6 grams fat.

Janet McCormick is the owner of Let's Eat Cafe in downtown Huntington. More of her recipes can be found at http://www.10-minutemeals.com.


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