Nuts, seeds, coconut oil, and pure maple syrup make up these ketogenic fat balls for a highly customizable snack. Full of fat and protein, these bites are perfect for a paleo or low-carb diet.
This post is sponsored by Vital Proteins.
Also known as energy balls, protein balls, protein bites, snack balls, you name it. While there are a ton of recipes for the ball food group on the internet, there are some differentiating factors between them. Some ball recipes you’ll come across are made using oats, dates, and/or other ingredients that contain carbohydrates or high amounts of sugar. While there’s definitely nothing wrong with these types of snacks, I personally avoid high amounts of sugar and grains because I have IBS and find by body functions better on a very low carbohydrate and sugar diet.
The difference between a fat ball (or keto ball) and some of the other energy bites out there is they’re exactly how they sound – packed with fat. Ketosis balls are designed to be low in sugar and carbohydrates, upping the fat ante for a snack that feeds your ability to burn fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates. You’ll notice I use pure maple syrup in my fat ball recipes, which technically makes them not fully keto. If you are, indeed on a ketogenic diet, use a tablespoon of Erythritol (I like Swerve), monk fruit sweetener, or xylitol.
Which brings me to my next point – let’s back up a bit.
What is ketosis?
In case you’re unfamiliar, ketosis is a metabolic process wherein your body burns fat for fuel when it doesn’t have enough glucose to convert into energy. In this sense, for one to stay in a state of ketosis, consistently consuming a low-carbohydrate diet is necessary so that the body is trained to recognize fat as fuel. This method of living generally results in high energy and athletic performance, although when many people first begin eating a ketogenic diet, they notice a short-term decrease in energy until their body is in ketosis.
Acheiving ketosis does take time and only works when one truly sticks to a low-carbohydrate diet. In my humble opinion, a ketogenic diet is unnecessary unless you’re doing so for specific health or fitness reasons – if your body thrives on carbohydrates and your overall health is good, I don’t see a reason to stop doing what works for you.
You may have read in my How to Make Bulletproof Coffee post that I tend to eat a diet high in fat, because my body doesn’t process carbohydrates well. In essence, I’ve trained my body to efficiently burn fat for fuel rather than carbs and sugar. While ketosis can have a weight-loss effect, and/or make you look supremely awesome naked, the purpose of eating a high fat diet for me is for health, not vanity.
There are a great deal of opinions out there on who should be eating what in which amount. I generally ignore unsubstantiated statements and go with my gut – literally. I eat a diet my body loves and craves, which happens to be paleo-centric.
Okay, so now we have the theory down – fat for fuel, protein for strength and macronutrients – lettuce talk about these specific balls.
Made with raw nuts (I like using almonds and cashews), nut or seed butter (I use sunflower seed butter), pure maple syrup, coconut oil, and collagen powder, these balls equate to balls of high-octane energy in the form of protein and fat. I use pure maple syrup to sweeten the balls, but as I mentioned earlier, you can use a zero sugar sweetener, such as Erythritol, xylitol, or monk fruit sweetener. I don’t add very much sweetener to the balls because the intent for me isn’t to eat these as a sweet treat or dessert, but rather a high-quality fat bomb snack. I choose pure maple syrup over a zero-sugar sweetener because sugar alcohols upset my IBS. If you have gut issues, I suggest sticking with a natural liquid sweetener like pure maple syrup or honey.
I add Vital Proteins Marine Collagen to my ketogenic fat balls, because they provide an additional nutrient boost which I find to be extremely helpful. In case you aren’t familiar with the benefits of collagen powder, you can learn more from my Rejuvenating Peach Spinach Smoothie Bowls post – or, The quick run down is collagen is helpful with digestion, repairing your gut lining, which is awesome for folks like me who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or other digestive issues. In addition, collagen is the protein building block for your skin, connective tissue, ligaments, muscles, bones, hair, nails, etc. The powder is flavorless, so you won’t notice a difference in the flavor of the balls. I love that the simple addition of the powder generates more protein and benefits to my GI tract and tissue.
There are a myriad of ways you can go about this recipe. You’ll notice I kept certain ingredients vague (see my recipe notes for details) so that you can customize them to your heart’s delight. You can use virtually any nut you’d like (walnuts, almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts work great), any nut or seed butter (sunflower seed butter and almond butter are my favorites), and can get creative by adding dried fruit, cocoa powder, extracts, etc. Also consider adding Vital Proteins also makes beauty collagen, banana, vanilla whey depending on the nutrients you’re going for.
Flavor-wise, these balls taste nutty and coconutty with a slight chocolaty undertone from the cacao nibs. They’re not overly sweet, so feel free to adjust the sweetness to your own palate.
These fat bombs are perfect for packing for road trips, airline trips, hiking, biking, trail running, etc. They provide instant workable fuel to keep you energized and replenish your calorie tank. If you’re an athlete, and/or are training for an event, these are your jam! If you’re a parent of children with food intolerances, these are also a great resources for summer snack or school lunches.
Fat balls for lyfe!
Ketogenic Fat Balls
- 1.5 cups raw nuts see note*
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup nut or seed butter of choice see note**
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs optional
- 2 scoops Vital Proteins Marine Collagen
- 1/2 cup coconut oil melted and cooled
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup see note***
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Add the raw nuts to food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and process until a thick paste has formed. The dough should be sticky.
Roll the fat ball mixture into 16 to 20 balls. Store in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator or freezer (balls thaw quickly, so I store mine in the freezer).
*I used 1 cup raw almonds and ½ cup macadamia nuts, but you can use any combination of your favorite nuts.
**I used sunflower seed butter. To keep these paleo, avoid using peanut butter
***Use a zero-sugar sweetener such as Erythritol, monk fruit sweetener, or xylitol to make these a completely sugar-free ball for a ketogenic diet. If you aren't on a ketogenic diet, you can increase the amount of pure maple syrup to up to 5 tablespoons for a sweeter ball.