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No-Bake Protein Balls That Power Up Your Workout (And Taste Like Dessert!)

  • Apple Cinnamon Protein Balls

    You'd be hard pressed to find a pair that goes together better than apple and cinnamon (OK, maybe peanut butter and jelly—more on that couple later), and the sweet combo works just as well as you'd expect in these protein balls.

    What you'll need:
    ground flaxseed
    dried apple
    vanilla protein powder
    cinnamon
    apple sauce
    maple sugar

    Why they're great: You don't have to be vegan to enjoy flaxseed. Ground flaxseed offers up a heavy dose of both protein and fiber, so your muscles will be ready to rock (climb, if you choose) and your belly will be filled.

  • Banana Nutella Protein Balls

    Find us someone who doesn't L-O-V-E Nutella, the creamy chocolate-hazelnut spread that goes well on practically anything—you won't be able to. The homemade version of this rich topping is only the beginning of why these banana protein balls are sooo good.

    What you'll need:
    hazelnuts
    coconut oil
    cocoa powder
    chocolate protein powder
    mashed banana
    honey or agave

    Why they're great: Bananas are a star player in the world of post-workout recovery food, because they're loaded with potassium, a mineral that's depleted during tough workouts and is important for maximizing energy reserves and muscle recovery.

  • Red Velvet Protein Balls

    Red velvet cake is usually off-limits if you're watching your weight. The traditional cream cheese frosting and moist chocolate-flavored cake are not exactly diet-friendly. But thanks to these protein balls, you can satisfy that craving without going overboard on sweets.

    What you'll need:
    beets
    dates
    cocoa powder
    vanilla protein powder
    almond butter
    honey or agave

    Why they're great: The health benefits of beets are seemingly endless. Their folate has been shown to fight depression, their nitrates have been said to promote a healthy brain, and beet juice has even been linked to improved athletic performance.

  • Chocolate Walnut Brownie Protein Balls

    At first bite, you might think you're chewing on a lovely truffle candy. But these crunchy chocolate walnut protein balls only taste like a brownie—we swear they're healthy.

    What you'll need:
    chocolate protein powder
    cocoa powder
    chopped walnuts
    dates
    applesauce
    honey or agave

    Why they're great: Walnuts are loaded with good-for-you fats, plus they pack in some protein and satisfying fiber. You get a double-dose of them in this recipe both in the protein ball mixture and rolled on the outside for added crunch.

  • Lemon Coconut Protein Balls

    Get your kick of citrus with these Lemon Coconut Protein Balls. They're a refreshing take on the snack that's perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up.

    What you'll need:
    vanilla protein powder
    coconut flakes
    lemon juice
    lemon zest
    honey or agave

    Why they're great: Coconut is one of the easiest ways to add flavor and sweetness to a dish for hardly any fat or calories. You get a lot of taste bang for your nutritional buck. In the case of these protein balls, the naturally sweet coconut balances out the tartness of the lemon zest perfectly.

  • Pumpkin Pie Protein Balls

    You don't need to wait until next Thanksgiving to enjoy pumpkin-flavored everything again. These protein balls are the perfect pack, grab, and go snack all year long.

    What you'll need:
    vanilla protein powder
    pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
    rolled oats
    cinnamon
    pumpkin pie spice
    pumpkin puree
    maple syrup
    chopped pecans

    Why they're great: Pumpkin is loaded with vitamins C and A—and we mean loaded. Just one cup of cooked pumpkin contains 200 percent of your daily recommendation for vitamin A. (Pumpkin isn't the only squash you should be eating up. Here's more on How to Cook Squash and Why You Should.)

  • Mint Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

    Your favorite ice cream flavor gets a reboot with these refreshing sweet treats. Just a bit of peppermint extract adds the familiar minty flavor and cashew butter holds the whole recipe together.

    What you'll need:
    chocolate protein powder
    rolled oats
    peppermint extract
    cashew butter
    honey or agave
    cacao nibs

    Why they're great: Cashews are one of the best nuts for your diet because they are relatively low in calories when compared to other nuts like peanuts. The same holds true of the rich and creamy nut butter version.

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Protein Balls

    We told you we'd come back to this dynamic duo. Peanut butter and jelly live harmoniously on your sandwich—and, as you'll soon find out, in these protein balls.

    What you'll need:
    natural peanut butter
    vanilla protein powder
    rolled oats
    dried cherries
    chia seeds
    maple syrup or agave
    almond milk or water

    Why they're great: Chia seeds and vanilla protein powder pump up the protein for a satisfying snack that really gets you ready to crush that HIIT workout. Dried cherries and almond milk act as the familiar PB&J flavors you know and love.

  • Cookie Dough Protein Balls

    This is your excuse to eat cookie dough and tell yourself it's OK—and this time it really is. There's no raw egg in this version, just chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and other sweet stuff to make you think it's a guilty pleasure.

    What you'll need:
    vanilla protein powder
    almond meal
    salt
    almond butter
    vanilla extract
    honey or agave
    semisweet chocolate chips or cacao nibs
    almond milk or water

    Why they're great: There's no other explanation needed besides this: These protein balls taste unhealthy, but they're not.

 

Alyssa Sparacino

Alyssa is the deputy digital editor for SHAPE & FITNESS and an ACE certified personal trainer. She is a cycling and barre enthusiast, and lover of both planks and pasta. Before joining the #ShapeSquad she was the digital editor for HGTV Magazine and assistant editor of Health.com.  More →

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