No-Bake Chocolaty Protein Goji Berry Granola Bites

There are so many things I love about this No-bake Chocolaty Protein Goji Berry Granola Bite recipe! You know all those seeds you can use in the Life Changing Cracker recipe and the Overnight Oats recipe we shared? Here’s another snack option you can make with them with a totally different taste! These power-punched bites are loaded with protein, natural fats, and anti-oxidants.  Here are some highlights that make it so good for you:

Cacao: Touted as being even better for you than dark chocolate, cacao nibs and cacao powder found in this recipe are full of flavonoids and antioxidants that fight off free-radical damage which can cause DNA damage, premature aging and even cancers. Think of antioxidants as firefighters putting out a blaze — a blaze of inflammation in your body. And cacao is one of the highest sources of antioxidants. The best part is it will make this snack taste “chocolaty” to you and will fire up all those pleasure sensors in the brain and lower your cortisol levels (aka: destress). In addition, one ounce of cacao nibs has 9 grams of fiber! Fiber helps to control your blood pressure and blood glucose levels. This fiber can also help lower blood cholesterol. Last, but not least, cacao has magnesium and potassium. A one ounce serving of cacao nibs has 64 milligrams of magnesium making it one of the best dietary sources of it. Magnesium aids in protein synthesis within the body, helps muscle and nerves function properly (great if you are experiencing fibromaylgia symptoms), plus helps manage blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.

Flax: Flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, but low in carbs, so it will help you feel satisfied longer so you will eat fewer calories overall which may lead to weight loss. ALA (another type of omega-3) fats found in flax may also help reduce inflammation. Studies have shown flax can help with weight loss and it will help to make healthy hair and clear skin. You’ll also get all the benefits of lowering blood cholesterol and managing blood glucose levels. Flax is also high in antioxidants, so just like cacao, flax will help to fight off free-radical damage which can cause DNA damage, premature agin, and even cancers. In fact, one study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that the lignans in flaxseeds may also reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer. And finally, the lignans in the flax have been shown to have benefits for menopausal women. Evidently, it can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy because lignans have estrogenic properties.

Goji Berries: Goji berries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and are also low in calories. They are also a good source of iron and vitamin A. One serving of about four ounces of goji berries even provides nearly 10 percent of the suggested amount of dietary protein. Goji berries have a high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score of 3,290, showing that they contain much larger concentrations of antioxidants than most other fruits. They also raise blood sugars slowly — important for women with PCOS trying to manage insulin responses. Some studies also point to goji berries helping to lower arthritis symptoms. And these berries aren’t for everyone either — anyone who uses blood thinners or takes diabetic medication may have a negative reaction eating goji berries, according to WebMD. When in doubt, ask your doctor first. According to Paul Gross in his report, The Top 20 Superfruits, a quarter cup of goji berries contains 11 essential vitamins and 22 trace minerals, including 24 percent of our RDI of potassium, 18 percent of our RDI of zinc and a whopping 100 percent of our RDI of iron, copper and riboflavin. They also contain 8 polysaccharides, a primary source of dietary fiber. (Learn more:  http://www.naturalnews.com/044316_goji_berries_superfoods_antioxidants.html#ixzz48q0wxCQ7)

No bake Chocolaty Goji Berry Granola Bites

Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of manganese (74%), phosphorus (57%), magnesium (48%), copper (48%), zinc (23%), protein (20%), and iron (16%). They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which can give your health an added boost.  Also promising, recent animal studies have shown pumpkin seeds to improve insulin regulation. (Learn more: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=82 )

Walnuts: Cannot say enough good things about Walnuts! The anti-inflammatory nutrients in walnuts are amazing! They are full of omega-3 fats (113%), copper (53%), manganese (51%), molybdenum (20%), and biotin (19%). They also have anti-cancer treating benefits as well as the ability to help lower the bad cholesterol. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, “The form of vitamin E found in walnuts is somewhat unusual, and particularly beneficial. Instead of having most of its vitamin E present in the alpha-tocopherol form, walnuts provide an unusually high level of vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol. Particularly in studies on the cardiovascular health of men, this gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E has been found to provide significant protection from heart problems.” (Learn more: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=99 )

If you want to add even more protein punch, you can include any protein powder you’ve been using. Although, a short word on protein powders and PCOS… the thing that’s problematic for us cysters with these powders is that most contain dairy and sugar or terrible sugar substitutes (sorbitol, mannitol, aspartame etc.) that mess with our insulin sensitivity. Read your label carefully! There is a lot of natural protein in this recipe already — you could probably skip the protein powder if you don’t have any on hand, or if you are concerned about it affecting your hormones.

No-Bake Protein Goji Berry Granola Bites - Option 1

  • Servings: 10-15
  • Difficulty: easy
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PCOSbitesNo bake ChocolatyGoji Berry Bites

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 cup rolled or quick oats (gluten free)
• 1/2 cup pecan pieces, chopped
• 1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped
• 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
• 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup flax seeds
• 1/4 cup cacao nibs
• 2 Tbsp of cacao powder
• 2 Tbsp of protein powder (optional* – see note above about which one you choose if you have PCOS)
• 1/2 cup of goji berries (*see note above if you are on blood thinners or on diabetic medicine)
• 1/4 tsp of Pink Himalayan Salt, finely ground
• 2/3 cup of almond butter
• 1/2 – 2/3 cup Honey

OTHER TOOLS YOU MIGHT NEED:

9″ x 13″ pan with lid to cover or saran wrap
Large mixing bowl
Silicone spatula
Non-stick spray

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. (Quick oats, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, cacao nibs, cacao powder, protein powder, salt, and goji berries. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients.
  2. Drizzle honey evenly over the top of your dry ingredients.
  3. Add almond butter and incorporate into ingredients until all ingredients are fully combined.
  4. Take a 9″ x 13″ pan and spray with a non-stick spray. Spread your mixed ingredients into the base of the pan, pressing down firmly.
  5. Cover your 9″x 13″ pan with saran wrap or a plastic fitted lid and place into your refrigerator and chill overnight.
  6. In the morning, cut unto 2″ x 2″ squares and snack on as needed. Keep your bars in fridge for up to a week.

Tip: If you don’t need a larger batch, take half of what was made and place in a freezer ziplock bag and freeze for later use.

gluten-freelactose-freecorn-freerefinedsugar-free
This recipe is Gluten-free, Lactose-free, Corn-free, and Refined Sugar-Free

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Snack: Aaaamazing Homemade Beneficial Nut Butter

When you have seven people eating out of one fridge, getting creative about cost-savings becomes essential when it comes to snacks. At $10+ for a 12 oz. jar, feeding a family of seven a healthy treat can get expensive — fast!

Almond nut butter

Nut butter is a great to use for a quick spoon full when you feel your sugar-levels dropping. (I sometimes eat two scoops before I make dinner to hold me over until it’s time to eat.) You can use on Life Changing Crackers or even on a slice of Ezekiel Bread toast. I don’t recommend eating this (found in the freezer section in the health food area of your grocery store) sprouted grain bread more than one time a day, 3 times a week at the most. Ezekiel bread is a great transition if you are just starting to go gluten-free, but your goal should be to be off all bread if at all possible if you suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

This recipe makes about 3 small 12 oz. mason jars full.

Aaaaamazing Beneficial Nut Butter

  • Servings: About three 12-oz jars
  • Difficulty: easy
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PCOSbitesNut Butter

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 full cookie sheet of Almonds

• 1/3 cookie sheet Pre-shelled Walnuts or Pecans (whichever you have on hand)

• 2 tsp Finely Ground Pink Himalayan Salt

• 1/4 cup of Date “Sugar” (optional – leave out if going for sugar-free, but this will have a low-glycemic response compared to other sugars)

• 2 TBSP Honey (optional – leave out if going for sugar-free)

• 15 shakes of Cinnamon (a great inflammation fighter)

• 1/2 pkg of Dried Blueberries or 1/3 cup of Craisens or 1/3 cup of dried Cherries (helpful antioxidants)

 

OTHER TOOLS YOU MIGHT NEED:

• High-power mixer/blender

• Bowl

• Rubber Spatula

• Mason Jar

• Small spoon for compacting nut-butter mix into your jar as you add it.

• Knife and cutting board if you’re chopping up dried cherries into smaller bits. No knife needed if you are using dried blueberries or Craisens.

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take a large cookie sheet (the kind with a lip all the way around them) and place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of it. Pour your almonds on top of the parchment sheet, spreading as a layer so that the almonds cover the entire cookie sheet. Place in the hot oven for about 10 min. (This will heat up the almonds/walnuts/pecans and allow the oils to break down faster when you go to break them up.) Nuts for nut butter
  2. When timer goes off, remove almonds from heat transfer your almond/walnut/pecans into your high-power mixer/blender adding 3-4 shakes of cinnamon in-between scoops of nuts as you add until you get to 15-shakes of cinnamon total.
  3. Add you date sugar at this point as well so it can incorporate into the nut blend as it breaks down in your high-power mixer/blender.
  4. It will take about 15-minutes on high for the almonds to begin to turn to a nut butter state; just keep stopping periodically to scrape down the sides and keep things blending.
  5. Begin to blend your nut mix on high. Be sure to pause periodically and “scrape down sides” times and add about 15 shakes of Ground Cinnamon.
  6. It will take several minutes for your nut mix to begin to break down the oils in the nuts to the “butter” stage. You’ll begin to see it change slowly. Keep blending until the entire batch has been converted to a smooth consistency.
  7. Pour in about 2-3 TBSP Honey to preference and add your salt. Mix to incorporate everything.
  8. Pour nut butter into a bowl and fold in 1/2 pkg of dried blueberries (or any other type of add-in you prefer) until they are completely incorporated.
  9. Transfer nut butter to a canning jar or recycle your old almond butter jar. Cap with a plastic lid and place in fridge.
  10. You’re done! Put a lid on your mason jar and keep your nut butter in your fridge. It should be good for about 4-5 days (if it doesn’t get eaten before then!) Our family loves this as a little snack each day!

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Above:Beginning to turn to butter.

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Above: Almost all converted into nut butter

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(Above: Incorporate any mix-ins you desire.)

If you want to try another version, make just as directed above, but instead of blueberries, put in dried chopped cherries or Craisens and 1 tsp of Vanilla.

This recipe is refined-sugar free, gluten-free, corn-free, and lactose-free.

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