I'm currently leading a group of 40 women through a week of no added sugar. It's been such a fun, engaged group. When you are making a big change- like avoiding added sugars- it's much easier to do it with an accountability group! We are on Day 2 and so far I've been doing pretty good. Honestly, I'm usual careful with how much sugar is in my diet but it's also easy to let in sneak in when you've been stuck at home for 2 months.
This week has been a good reset for being more conscious and intentional with what I am eating. Do you find yourself craving sugar at certain times of the day? For me it's typically in the afternoon! Some days I can manage by drinking sparkling flavored water but other days I need something. I like to keep energy balls on hand for my kids and for myself. The traditional energy balls I make are wholesome but they are sweetened with honey or maple syrup.
Honey and maple syrup are "natural" sweeteners but they are still considered added sugar. And while they are a better choice than others, you should still be mindful of how much you are consuming.
Since I'm avoiding added sugars this week, I came up with another version of energy balls. Instead of using honey/maple syrup, I used dates! Dates are an awesome choice because they are naturally super sweet. They have the added benefit of having fiber and a low glycemic index. Just make sure you choose the fresh, Medjool variety that are sticky and sweet!
You'll also want to soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes. This rehydrates and softens the dates, making it easier to process them.
Almond Butter Energy Balls (No Sugar Added)
10-12 Medjool dates, pitted
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond butter
3 tbsp flax seed
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1. Add dates to a bowl with the hot water. Let soak for ten minutes so that they soften and then drain.
2. Add softened dates to a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the ingredients stick together.
3. Roll into balls and store in the fridge.
Makes about 12-15 balls.