These Tahini balls are packed with a balance of fibre, protein and carbs to keep you feeling full, satisfied and energised. They are the perfect snack when you want to grab something quick before/after a workout, or when that mid-morning/afternoon slump hits.
What are they good for?
These Protein Tahini Balls are sweetened with honey and they have NO added white sugar or flour. Yet, they taste amazing!
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of many nutrients such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), magnesium, potassium and calcium. Some studies claim that PUFAs in pumpkin seeds contain a good range of beneficial nutrients- sterols, squalene, and tocopherols (Ryan et al. 2007).
Magnesium consumption is linked to a greater bone density which means that it may lower the chance of osteoporosis in women after menopause (NIH 2021). Some studies claim that 100mg/Mg daily (of a food source) can reduce the chance of type 2 diabetes by 15%, while low magnesium consumption has the potential to impair insulin secretion (Felman 2018; NIH 2021).
Pumpkin seeds also contain Vitamin E which is an amazing immuno-booster. Vitamin E helps in maintaining the optimum function of the immune responses and protects against some infectious diseases. Vitamin E is well-known antioxidant which means that it protects the body from free radicals that may damage healthy cells in the body (Lee and Han 2018). Moreover, zinc and selenium have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties which means that both of these micronutrients boost immunity (Wessels, Maywald and Rink 2017; Huang, Rose and Hoffmann 2012).
As I mentioned, pumpkin seeds contain a good amount of beneficial fats, antioxidants and fibre. This combination increases the cardioprotective value of the seeds. The fibre is known to decreased total blood cholesterol which reduces the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease (Ware 2018).
Bear in mind that pumpkin seeds are rich in fats and they are very calorie-dense. Consuming too much may lead to weight gain. Moreover, excess consumption can lead to stomach ache, constipation.
Honey has been used in traditional medicine for over 8,000 years because it has many health advantages. Raw honey- which means honey that has come straight from the beehive, contains bee pollen, propolis and many antioxidants that aid health. However, there is currently NO confirmation that raw honey has more beneficial effects over our health than regular honey, but people think that since regular honey is processed- its beneficial elements are deminished (Marengo 2019).
Usually, honey is said to offer the following health benefits (Samarghandian, Farkhondeh and Samini 2017):
- antibacterial action
- wound-healing effects
- dietary antioxidants
- anti-inflammatory effects
Protein powder has gained a lot of popularity as a nutritional supplement providing essential macronutrients which help with muscle building, tissue repair and enzymes production (Butler 2018). There are many studies that find a link between its consumption and weight loss and muscle tone in people who are overweight/obese (Wirunsawanya et al. 2018).
Moreover, it is highly effective in people who find it challenging to meet their recommended daily intake of protein. These include vegans/vegetarians, athletes, weight lifters, older adults and people with chronic illness (Butler 2018).
Pure dark chocolate (I repeat pure- no added sugar and milk) has many health benefits. Cocoa contains flavanols which are plant chemicals known for their protective effect over the heart. They support nitric oxide (NO) production in the inner cell lining of blood vessels (called endolethium) which relaxes the blood vessels and improves blood flow. Thus, decreases blood pressure (Fisher et al. 2003).
Moreover, it is rich in: iron, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.
- 80g (1/3 cup) Sunflower seeds tahini
- 1-2 tbsp honey
- 40g Vanilla Protein Powder
- 30g Dark chocolate (sweetened with stevia)
More detailed description of the directions is down below. Here is just a lil’ tutorial that will guide you through the process.
|Calories (per piece)||49 kcal|
LEE, G. and HAN, S., 2018. The Role of Vitamin E in Immunity. Nutrients Journal, 10(11), pp. 1614.
WARE, M., 2018. What are the health benefits of pumpkin seeds? [online]. Brighton, UK|: Healthline Media. Available from: Pumpkin seeds: Benefits, nutrition, and dietary tips (medicalnewstoday.com) [Accessed 15 March 2021].
RYAN, E. et al., 2007. Phytosterol, squalene, tocopherol content and fatty acid profile of selected seeds, grains, and legumes. Plant Foods Human Nutrition Journal, 62(3), pp. 85-91.
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH (NIH), 2021. Magnesium. [online]. Rockville, MD: NIH. Available from: Magnesium – Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov) [Accessed 15 March 2021].
FELMAN, A., 2018. An overview of insulin. [online]. Brighton, UK: Healthline Media. Available from: Insulin: Function and types (medicalnewstoday.com) [Accessed 15 March 2021].
WESSELS, I., MAYWALD, M. and RINK, L., 2017. Zinc as a Gatekeeper of Immune Function. Nutrients Journal, 9(12), pp. 1286.
HUANG, Z., ROSE, A. and HOFFMANN, P., 2012. The Role of Selenium in Inflammation and Immunity: From Molecular Mechanisms to Therapeutic Opportunities. Antioxidants and Redox Signaling Journal, 16(7), pp. 705-743.
MARENGO, K., 2019. What are the health benefits of raw honey? [online]. Brighton, UK: Healthline Media. Available from: Raw honey: 7 health benefits and possible risks (medicalnewstoday.com) [Accessed 12 March 2021].
SAMARGHANDIAN, S., FARKHONDEH, T. and SAMINI, F., 2017. Hoeny and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research. Pharmacognosy Research Journal, 9(2), pp. 121-127.
BUTLER, N., 2018. What are the benefits of protein powder? [online]. Brighton, UK: Healthline Media. Available from: Health benefits of protein powder (medicalnewstoday.com) [Accessed 12 March 2021].
WIRUNSAWANYA, K., 2018. Whey Protein Supplementation Improves Body Composition and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 37(1), pp. 60-70.
FISHER, N. et al., 2003. Flavanol-rich cocoa induces nitric-oxide-dependent vasodilation in healthy humans. Hypertension Journal,, 21(1), pp. 2281-2286.
|Prep Time||10 minutes|
- 80 grams Sunflower seeds tahini I used Theia's tahini
- 1-2 tbsp honey or other sweetener
- 40 grams Vanilla Whey Protein Powder you can use whatever protein you have
- 30 grams dark chocolate
- In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, mix the sunflower tahini with protein powder and honey.
- Blend the mixture until you reach a nice homogenous texture.
- Scoop the batter by heaping tablespoons (or by hands) onto a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, to prevent sticking.
- Roll the balls between your hands.
- Put the prepared balls in the freezer until you prepare your chocolate.
- My favorite way to melt the chocolate is in the double boiler, but if you don't have one, you can simply put a metal or glass bowl on top of a saucepan with some water in it.
- As the water in the saucepan begins to heat up, the steam will heat up your bowl and start melting your chocolate.
- Once you have beautifully melted your chocolate, you can take out the prepared balls out of the freezer.
- Drop your tahini balls into the melted chocolate.
- Lift the ball out of the chocolate with a fork/spoon and then transfer it to the waxed paper or on a plate.
- The chocolate will harden immediately so if you want to put some sea salt/coconut flakes you should do it when you take you ball out of the chocolate.
- You can store them in a fridge.