I’ve reviewed a lot of cookbooks over the years, but one group has always been missing from the target audience has been for nearly all the books I’ve seen – families. It’s great to try to make whole foods plant-based recipes for yourself and/or significant other, but what about your kids? A lot of people assume, “oh, they’re growing so fast they can handle the extra junk calories” but the reality is that it’s most important to eat a healthy diet during childhood. Cells are dividing at such a rapid rate that an excess of free radicals and toxins in a child’s system can set them up for a whole mess of issues like allergies, asthma, ear infections, etc., and even may lay the groundwork for chronic diseases down the road. On top of that, child behavioral disorders (tantrums, ADD, etc.) and poor nutrition are closely linked. But how do you get picky kids to eat a healthy plant-powered diet?
Dreena Burton has some personal experience in that field and has put together an extremely helpful book full of recipes, tips, and answers for all sorts of scenarios and questions. What do you do with finicky eaters? What kind of lunches can you pack for your kids that they’ll actually eat? How do you host kid-friendly but healthy parties? Even if you don’t have kids (yet), the recipes in this book are ridiculously good. I’ve made a good amount of them at this point and they’ve all been winners along with being not too complicated.
The lovely folks over at BenBella Books have allowed me to share one of my favorite recipes with you — the protein power balls below. Since my schedule is insane, I’ve been looking for things I can make in bulk and have on hand for quick snacks, and these power balls fit the bill. Check them out below!
As an aside, I’ve fallen in love with a new protein powder on the market that I’ve been making these with…there’s nothing like it on the market when it comes to taste, purity, nutritional profile, and performance. If you’re interested in hearing more about it or trying some, email me at email@example.com.
GIVEAWAY ALERT: I want to hear from the parents out there – what tricks and tips do you have to share with the Planteater community about raising healthy kids? Share in the comments below (or post this review on facebook with the hashtag #planteatergiveaway) and you’ll be automatically entered to win a free copy of this book! The winner will be announced next Monday, August 3rd.
UPDATE – Congratulations to Jeff Mayer, who’ll be receiving a copy of the book!
Protein Power Balls
Makes 25–28 balls
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup coconut flour (see note)
1/3 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1½ cups pitted dates
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2–3 tablespoons chocolate plant-based protein powder (see note)
1/4 scant teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
In a food processor, process the pumpkin seeds, coconut flour, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds until fine and crumbly.
Add the dates and process through until they are worked into the mixture and are crumbly.
Add the cocoa powder, Vega powder, sea salt, and vanilla extract and process again for a minute or two. It will appear as if nothing is happening for a few minutes! The mixture will just be whirring around in crumbs, but soon it will start to become sticky and form a ball on the blade. Stop the machine and remove the dough.
Take 1–1½ -tablespoon scoops of the dough and roll in your hand. Repeat until you have rolled all of the dough.
Coconut Flour Note: If you don’t have coconut flour, you can substitute 3/4 cup rolled oats.
Protein Powder Note: If you have a favorite chocolate protein powder you would like to add—go for it. If you don’t want to use any protein powder, omit it, and make these simple changes: increase the cocoa powder to 1/4 cup total, add another 2 tablespoons of hemp or sunflower seeds, and another 2–4 dates, to taste.
Idea: You can leave these balls uncoated, or roll in a dusting of coconut sugar, cocoa powder, ground pumpkin seeds, or a combo!