From the moment your alarm clock goes off in the morning until the end of the workday, it can feel like a mad rush to get everything done. PSA: If you're eating both breakfast and lunch at your computer, you aren't working from home, you're living at work.
A mid-afternoon break where you're not checking your inbox or chasing your kids around can make a huge difference in terms of mood and energy—even if it's just 10 minutes. Mindfully brewing a cup of tea and biting into a snack that lights up the pleasure centers in the brain may be exactly what you need to get through the rest of the day. And the date and walnut balls that nutritionist Mia Rigden, CNS, shows how to make in the latest episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp are perfect for moments just like this.
- Mia Rigden, chef, nutritionist, and the founder of RASA, a company specializing in individualized nutrition programs
"They're great as an afternoon snack, a little sweet treat, and they're perfect for the kids," Rigden says in the video. Oh, and they don't require any baking whatsoever. Rigden says these balls get her nutritionist seal of approval because the walnuts are full of protein and healthy fats while the dates are full of fiber. Both nutrient-rich ingredients are anti-inflammatory, too.
The date and walnut balls are spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, which both have their own nutritional benefits. Cinnamon helps keep blood sugar levels steady while cardamom is linked to combating chronic inflammation. Plus, both spices add a warming quality that makes this snack perfect for fall. "I'm always looking for an excuse to use more cardamom. It's my absolute favorite spice," Rigden says while adding the ingredients to her food processor.
All you have to do to make this snack is blend all the ingredients in a food processor and roll them into little bite-size balls. Then, you roll them again, this time to coat them in coconut flakes, which add another layer of sweetness. Last, let them chill in the fridge—that's it.
"The cardamom gives these balls a really nice spicy kick and there's a hint of sea salt in there," Ridgen says, after taking a bite. "It's nutty, sweet, salty, and spicy all in one." Ready to make your snacktime dreams come true? Get the recipe below and watch the episode to see exactly how it's done.
Date and walnut balls recipe
2 cups soft pitted dates (If your dates are really hard, you may need to soak them in warm water before adding to the food processor.)
2 cups raw walnuts
1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
Pinch of sea salt, optional
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1. Add the dates, walnuts, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt (if using) to a food processor, and grind until it’s well-combined and forms a ball. You may need to scrape the sides a few times, but some chunkier bits are fine to leave in.
2. Put the coconut in a bowl and set aside.
3. Lay some parchment paper down on a cutting board or your countertop, and roll out the date and walnut mixture into one-inch balls.
4. Once you have your desired shape, drop bites one-by-one into the coconut and coat completely.
5. Repeat with all bars, and store in an airtight container until ready to consume. Keep in the fridge or at room temperature.
Get more healthy recipe ideas in Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.
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