These healthy protein balls for kids get made extremely regularly in our house; partly because we all like the taste, and partly because they are great fun for my 2 year old to help squish into ball shapes! Sweetened with dates and containing a big dose of protein, these are a great healthy snack to keep little tummies fuller for longer.
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A tasty snack to give a big protein boost!
When eggs, dairy and soy are off the menu due to allergies, it can be really hard to think up healthy meal and snack ideas which contain a good dose of protein. Among the many benefits, protein is really important for helping your child stay full for longer. So, including protein at each meal and as part of the (frankly relentless) snack schedule will hopefully slightly reduce the number of food requests throughout the day.
Of course, including protein is easier for meat and fish eaters. But a lot of people (me included) are trying to reduce their meat intake. Plus, meat at every meal would get rather expensive! I particularly struggle to think up snack ideas which give a good dose of protein, and that’s where these protein boost balls come in handy.
The protein here comes from the almond butter, oats and flax seed, all great vegan protein sources.
Which dietary requirements are oat & almond butter protein balls suitable for?
This recipe is suitable for kids who are following a vegan diet, and those with allergies to dairy or egg. It is also soy free, and using gluten free oats is an easy swap to make these protein balls gluten free!
Unfortunately, these are not suitable for those with nut allergies as they contain almond butter. An alternative would be to use sunflower seed butter – I have never tried this, but if you give it a go let me know how it tastes!
Are these protein balls for kids also suitable for baby led weaning?
Protein balls make a great snack for babies, just leave out the optional chocolate chips. They contain lots of healthy fats and (without the chocolate chips) no refined sugar. The balls are a bit squidgy which makes them easier to hold, but just be aware that they can get slightly crumbly if they’ve been out of the fridge for a while. Also, just be aware that almond butter is a potential allergen; only serve once you know your baby is tolerating almonds.
What equipment do I need to make oat & almond butter protein balls?
You will need a food processor (my trusty Kenwood* does the job very well) and a tupperware for storing them.
Just a note about the ingredients; most are very easy to get hold of, but finding dairy and soy free chocolate chips can be tricky. I use Moo Free baking drops*, which you can buy from Amazon, or direct from the Moo Free website.
When choosing an almond butter, make sure you buy a pure nut version without added salt or sugar. I tend to use Meridian*. I buy the massive tub as we go through so much!
If you are looking for more healthy dairy, egg & soy free snack ideas, you may like to try:
Oat & almond butter protein balls for kids
- Food processor
- 140 g pitted medjool dates
- 1 tbsp water
- 75 g rolled oats (use gluten free oats if required)
- 4 tbsp smooth almond butter (choose a pure nut version with no added salt or sugar)
- 60 g dairy & soy free chocolate chips – I use Moo Free (optional)
- 1.5 tbsp ground flax seed
- Make sure all stones have been removed from your medjool dates and add them to a food processor, along with one tablespoon of cold water. Soft dates work best for this; if yours have got a little hard then soak them for 10 minutes in boiling water before using.
- Blend until you have a date paste (it doesn't need to be completely smooth, a few lumps left is fine). Then add in all other ingredients and pulse to combine well – the mixture will start to have a crumbed texture.
- Remove from the food processor bowl and shape into around 15 small balls. You will need to squish hard to get them into shape, so this is a perfect part for kids to help with. Beware, much will get eaten along the way!
- Place the balls in a tupperware and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, which will help the balls retain their shape.
- These will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for around 3 days.
- If you or your child has an allergy, always double check that the recipe and all of the components are suitable. This includes checking ‘may contain’ statements on each ingredient and making your own assessment of risk based on personal circumstances.
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