9 Easy-to-Prep Protein Balls for Quick, Afternoon Energy

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Energy balls are a great dessert or quick snack that's easy to meal prep in advance.
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We all fall victim to the afternoon slump every so often. But before you head toward the dessert table or stick your hand in a bowl of candy for a quick fix, consider reaching for a batch of protein balls instead.

Protein balls offer a great mix of protein, carbs and good fats. Not to mention, they're sure to quench your sugar cravings. From a hemp brownie pick to a savory goat cheese, fig and pistachio recipe, there's a flavor combination to please every palate.

So whether you're stashing these in your purse or gym bag, you can look forward to snacking on these convenient, bite-sized treats that can be whipped up in mere minutes — no baking required.

Read more: 6 Delicious No-Bake Desserts for Every Diet

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1. Chocolate Chip Chickpea Protein Balls

This recipe is made with chickpeas, which are rich in fiber.
Image Credit: Jackie Newgent, RDN/LIVESTRONG.com

Calories: 127

Protein: 4 grams

If you're fond of chocolate-chip cookie dough, you'll find these bites to be a real treat. They may taste like your beloved dessert, but they make for a balanced snack: One protein ball supplies 4 grams of protein, with 12 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fat.

These protein balls call for a 2/3 cup of chickpeas, which are rich in protein and fiber, two satiating nutrients. Fiber is crucial for promoting healthy, regular digestion, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fiber also helps control blood sugar, which is especially beneficial when you're eating a dessert.

Get the Chocolate Chip Chickpea Protein Balls recipe and nutrition info here.

2. Nut Lover's Protein Balls With Sea Salt

These are a great salty and sweet dessert.
Image Credit: Jackie Newgent, RDN/LIVESTRONG.com

Calories: 158

Protein: 4 grams

If you like sweet and savory combos, these protein balls — filled with crunchy pistachios and a sprinkling of sea salt — are for you. One serving of this recipe totals 158 calories, with 4 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbs and 9 grams of fat.

Like all nuts, pistachios are a great source of protein but they're also high in healthy, unsaturated fats. Eating nuts can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and inflammation that's linked to heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Nuts are pretty calorie-dense, though, so make sure you watch your portion size and stick to the recommended serving for this recipe!

Get the Nut Lover's Protein Balls With Sea Salt recipe and nutrition info here.

3. Tropical Protein Balls

This recipe will give you a tropical boost of energy.
Image Credit: Jackie Newgent, RDN/LIVESTRONG.com

Calories: 229

Protein: 7 grams

If you were that kid who actually enjoyed coconut chocolates on Halloween (guilty), you're going to love this tropical-inspired recipe. A two-piece serving totals 229 calories with 7 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of fat total.

The dates used in this recipe are a great source of natural sugar and give these bites a chewy texture. Dates also provide potassium, a mineral needed for almost all bodily functions, from your kidney health to heart function, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Get the Tropical Protein Balls recipe and nutrition info here.

4. Granola Breakfast Protein Balls

These protein balls make an excellent grab-and-go snack.
Image Credit: Jackie Newgent, RDN/LIVESTRONG.com

Calories: 148

Protein: 4 grams

Stash these protein bites in your fridge or freezer and they make the perfect grab-and-go morning snack. These breakfast protein balls are 148 calories per serving with 4 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbs and 8 grams of fat.

Flax seeds are a key component of this recipe and, sure enough, they back a nutritious punch. Flaxseeds are not only high in fiber but omega-3 fatty acids, too, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Found in fish and walnuts as well, omega-3s are great for your heart health and may help lower inflammation.

Get the Granola Breakfast Protein Balls recipe and nutrition info here.

Read more: 5 Omega-3-Packed Recipes That Aren't Fish

5. Hemp Brownie Protein Balls

This recipe is made with black beans, giving these protein balls a creamy texture.
Image Credit: Jackie Newgent, RDN/LIVESTRONG.com

Calories: 114

Protein: 4 grams

Imagine eating brownie batter without the repercussions, like the inevitable upset stomach. While they're not exactly brownie batter, these hemp brownie protein balls are the next best thing. One protein ball is only 114 calories with 4 grams of protein, 10 grams of carbs and 6 grams of fat total.

You'd probably be surprised to learn that these bites are made with a 2/3 cup of canned black beans, giving the recipe its creamy consistency. Legumes, like black beans, are packed with nutrients including folate, calcium, potassium and zinc, according to Harvard Health Publishing. And, they make a great plant-based protein source.

Get the Hemp Brownie Protein Balls recipe and nutrition info here.

6. Savory Goat Cheese, Fig and Pistachio Protein Balls

If you're not a fan of sweets, these make a great savory alternative.
Image Credit: Jackie Newgent, RDN/LIVESTRONG.com

Calories: 128

Protein: 6 grams

If you prefer savory over sweet, these goat cheese, fig and pistachio protein balls are the perfect alternative. One protein balls amounts to only 128 calories, with 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of fat.

Goat cheese is full of nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. And if you can't tolerate standard cow cheese, goat cheese may actually be easier on the stomach. Goat cheese may have lower allergenic properties and can be more easily digested, according to a July 2019 report in the Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences.

Get the Savory Goat Cheese, Fig and Pistachio Protein Balls recipe and nutrition info here.

Read more: The Best Low-Fat Cheeses That Won't Derail Your Diet

7. Pecan Protein Balls

These protein balls are great sources of whole grains.
Image Credit: Jackie Newgent, RDN/LIVESTRONG.com

Calories: 167

Protein: 4 grams

These energy balls are full of nutritious whole grains, seeds and nuts. This recipe totals 167 calories per one-ball serving, with 4 grams of protein, 18 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of total fat.

Filled with ground flax seeds, chopped pecans and peanut butter, these protein balls are a great source of healthy, unsaturated fats. Pecans are also a superb source of zinc, an essential mineral that helps your body process protein and boosts immune function, according to the NIH.

Get the Pecan Protein Balls recipe and nutrition info here.

8. Chocolate-Mint Energy Ball Truffles

These minty truffles are a great source of protein and magnesium.
Image Credit: Jackie Newgent, RDN/LIVESTRONG.com

Calories: 228

Protein: 9 grams

Mint and chocolate is a marvelous combination. But unlike most chocolate truffles, these are packed with protein and fiber. One two-truffle serving totals 228 calories with 9 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbohydrates and 14 grams of fat.

This unique recipe call for a cup of hemp seeds, which are a great source of magnesium, which promotes normal muscle and nerve function, helps control blood sugar and regulates blood pressure, according to the NIH.

Get the Chocolate-Mint Energy Ball Truffles recipe and nutrition info here.

9. Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dessert Hummus Balls

These protein balls are also high in whole grains.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com

Calories: 237

Protein: 7 grams

Oatmeal-raisin and hummus may sound like a curious combination. But don't be fooled: These energy bites are nothing short of decadent (and calorie-friendly). A four-ball serving totals 237 calories with 7 grams of protein, 46 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fat.

Whole-grain oats, like the type used in this recipe, contain fiber, which helps prevent spikes in blood sugar, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Whole grains also contain plant chemicals that high in nutrients and antioxidants, so these protein balls are a smart way to get your dose of oats when you're not in the mood for a bowl of oatmeal.

Get the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dessert Hummus Balls recipe and nutrition info here.

Read more: OK, But What Are Antioxidants Really?

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