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
  • Print

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.

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This recipe is Gluten-free, Lactose-free, Corn-free, and Refined Sugar-Free

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BREAKFAST: Gluten-free Waffles

Gluten-free Waffles

My guys love waffles. I enjoy them too, but I don’t like making them for a large crew, because they are painfully slow to crank out. I stand there for about 40 minutes slowly feeding child after child. Pancakes are more my speed for feeding a hungry crew fast. So waffles are an exercise in patience for me.

But, today, for some strange reason, they just sounded better than pancakes. I was determined to feed my hungry crew some gluten-free waffles. I adapted a recipe I found online by Gina Matsoukas.  First off, when I followed the recipe I had found (I was doubling it), it would stick to my waffle iron, even though it seemed fully cooked through. My solution was to add some tapioca flour and that seemed to help it release. I also felt like it needed something more and added some raisens for a little bit of sweetness in every bite. You could also use carob chips or blueberries to mix in — whatever you fancy!

Gluten free waffles

Kids had one each and there was enough to feed all seven of us a 6″-7″ size waffle. I served peaches with it and my littlest gobbled hers up and the crumbs her big brother (age 6) had left. Definitely a kid-friendly recipe.  As a Mama with PCOS, I would go lightly with the toppings as maple syrup can create an insulin response.

Tip: If you don’t have as large of a family to feed, make the whole batch and throw the extras in the freezer for a quick breakfast on another day!

Gluten-free Waffles

  • Servings: 7-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

PCOSbitesimage
INGREDIENTS:
• 2 cups almond flour
• 4 TBSP coconut flour
• 1 1/2 tsp of finely ground pink Himalayan sea salt
• 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
• 4 small to medium sweet potatoes, cooked, skin removed
• 4 eggs
• 3 tsp vanilla extract
• 4 TBSP pure maple syrup
• 1 tsp of canola oil or avocado oil
• 2/3 cup of almond milk
• 1 tsp of tapioca flour
• 3/4 cups of raisins (other mix-in ideas: blueberries, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans, or carob chips)

OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT NEED:
• Waffle Iron
• A non-stick spray
• Spoon (to scoop out sweet potato from skins)
• Mixing bowls (one for dry and one for wet ingredients)
• Whisk (for wet ingredients)
• Spatula (to scrap the bowl and scoop onto the waffle iron gluten-free waffle batter)
• Cookie sheet (for cooking your sweet potatoes on)
• Parchment paper (for cooking your sweet potatoes on)

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Place 4 small to medium sized sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Poke the sweet potatoes with a knife towards the center about 5-7 times in various spots throughout each sweet potato. Bake for about 40 min or until soft in the center. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Take a spoon and scoop out all cooked sweet potato and place into your blender. Once you’ve emptied all the sweet potatoes from their outer skin, blend until a smooth puree. Set aside.
3. When sweet potatoes are finished cooking, plug in your waffle iron to preheat while you mix the ingredients.
4. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
5. Whisk together all the other (wet) ingredients in a medium bowl.
6. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Fold in your pureed sweet potatoes into your bowl of mixed ingredients. Combine until fully incorporated.
7. Open up your waffle iron and spray upper and lower sections with a non-stick spray. Add a small scoop of gluten-free waffle batter to the center and spread. It should only cover about 1/2 of the bottom. When you press down, it will expand to make a larger waffle.
8. Set your timer for about 7 minutes.
9. When timer goes off, take a fork and gently pry around edges all the way around until it lifts out of the waffle mold.
10. Top with your choice of fruit and/or maple syrup. Enjoy!

 

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

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EAT THIS INSTEAD OF THIS: Almond Butter and Peanut Butter Face-off

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Make this one change in your diet today and you’ll get:

MORE: Potassium, Magnesium, Cooper, Calcium, Iron, Riboflavin, Vitamin E, Fiber, and Monounsaturated Fats, and Omega-3.

COSTS: Almond Butter runs about $10 – $12 a jar (as of April 2016) whereas Peanut Butter (Jif), runs about $5-7 per jar. You can lower the cost of almond butter by making it at home and buying almonds bulk. I purchase mine at Sams Club presently for $17 a bag and I can make about 8 jars of almond butter (I add walnuts and other ingredients for additional health benefits) for about $2.50 a jar + a half hour of my time.

VERSITILITY: Not only can you use almond butter on crackers or eat by the spoonful, you can also use it in cooking gluten-free baked goods! Check out our dessert recipes on this blog.

The benefits of eating almond butter far outweigh peanut butter in our opinion. YOU can change your life and get your PCOS under control one bite at a time. Add almond butter to your pantry and keep peanut butter out of your grocery cart.