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Saturday, February 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dorothy Dean presents: Peanut butter protein balls a simple, healthy resolution for New Year

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 30, 2019

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Happy New Year, friends! It sure did feel like 2019 flew by, and it also felt like I ate a year’s worth of food in the last two weeks of it. However, I have no regrets.

I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of the freshly baked cinnamon rolls, snowman-shaped shortbread cookies, creamy mashed potatoes, butter-drenched king crab, prime rib, ham, bread pudding … oh how this list can go on and on and on.

But the celebrating and overindulging are done. A clean slate of a New Year is upon us, and with that comes the notorious resolutions. If your holiday feasting was anything like mine, I know that some form of diet or healthy eating is on the list for 2020.

While planning out meals and gym time is rather easy, it’s that urge to snack that really gets us. So instead of reaching for a candy bar or chips, here’s an easy and healthy nosh to try: peanut butter protein balls.

Also known as power balls, energy bites or bliss balls, these ping pong-sized orbs are packed with protein, healthy fats and fiber.

They’re perfect as a snack, pre- and post-workout fuel or healthy alternative to dessert.

And with no oven required, they’re simple to make.

Peanut butter, rolled oats, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, honey, protein powder, vanilla and salt are combined, then rolled into balls and chilled. That’s it!

And I’m telling you, they’re so addicting. They’re like a mix of granola and cookie dough with the flavor of chocolate peanut butter cups. (Yes, I’m wondering, too, if eating all 12 at once still makes them healthy.)

These scrumptious little morsels are super versatile. The peanut butter can be swapped for any nut or sun butter. Honey can be replaced with maple syrup or agave.

Other flavors of protein powder or chocolate chips can be used. And extras including cinnamon, dried fruits, nuts, chia, hemp or flax seeds can be added.

A cookie scoop helps portion them for rolling, and try them frozen, too.

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup shredded coconut

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons chocolate protein powder (or any flavor you choose)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix them until combined.

Roll into 1-inch balls and chill for 20 minutes before serving.

Store in an airtight container in a refrigerator. Makes 12-15 balls.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at spoonandswallow@yahoo.com.

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