Raw Almond, Date and Coconut Balls

Last week Polly Hand, owner of Chiropractic by Hand in Balham (London), asked me to do the catering for her open day. Not only is Polly an incredible chiropractor (she did some cranial work with Jasper when he was just a few weeks old and helped huuuugely), but she's also really into healthy eating and nutrition, so I was really honoured to be asked. I made four dishes; spiced pumpkin seeds, raw chocolate brownies with avocado frostingseed and coconut crackers and raw almond, date and coconut balls (all SUPER easy!) However it was the raw almond, date and coconut balls that I decided on first as I just I LOOOOOVE these little bites of deliciousness!

I was introduced to these in Spain at the fabulous Feel Great Breaks yoga retreat. Run by the gorgeous Nicola Bates and Jessica Howell, the retreat is everything you'd want in a yoga holiday; strong, dynamic and fun yoga classes twice a day (often done outside with the sunrise or sunset... swoon), pampering treatments from massage to Reiki to manis and pedis, stunning natural scenery to soak in and maintain the feeling of relaxation they work so very hard to create, and the best bit (for me)... the absolutely superb food that is healthy, nutritious and sooooo scrummy! Do check out their website for upcoming retreats as they mix yoga with a range of other activities including photography, nutrition, surfing and horse riding!

Sorry, where was I...

Not only are these tasty balls beyond easy to make. I mean seriously, ANYONE can make them! They're also packed with goodness. The dietary fibre provided by the almonds and dates prevent LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) from absorbing in the gut. It's also helps clear out your colon, stopping cancer causing chemicals from binding there. Almonds also provide a great source of Vitamin E; a powerful antioxidant, protein; a whopping 24g per 100g of almonds, potassium which helps the heart and kidneys function properly, magnesium and calcium, both important for bone health, as well as other vital minerals such as iron, zinc andmanganese to name a few! Then last but not least, 100g of desiccated coconut (the amount in the recipe) provides a generous amount of manganese (nearly half of our RDA), keeping our connective tissue strong (skin, tendons, ligaments, bones and teeth), and nearly half of our copper RDA which is critical for brain development.

All in all, these are seriously nourishing balls of nutrition! And with just 3 main ingredients there's no excuse not to give them a try.

Raw Almond, Date and Coconut Balls

Makes approx. 15 balls (depending on how big you like them!)

Ingredients

  • 200g almonds
  • 200g dates, roughly chopped (I use delegat nour dates as they're a little cheaper than medjool)
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • Pinch salt
  • Bowl of water (I always use filtered water for food prep but tap water will absolutely do!)

Preparation

  1. Process the almonds in a food processor until you have a large chunky mix
  2. Add roughly chopped dates to the food processor and process until mixed well with the nuts
  3. In a bowl combine the almonds, dates, coconut, salt and mix
  4. Rub a little water over the palm of each hand (this helps keep the mix together), then scoop a small handful of the mix into one hand, using the other to mould the mix into a tight ball. The chunkier your mix the more pressure you'll have to use, but I find it's worth the extra effort as I don't think the balls are as tasty when the mix is too finely ground.
  5. Repeat until you've used up all the mix, trying not to eat too many as you go. The crumbs at the end are of course yours for the taking!
  6. Pop them in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to eat

TIP: Dip the balls in a raw chocolate sauce (melted coconut oil, raw cacao powder and a sweetener of your choice - I always use maple syrup) then sprinkle (or roll) with extra desiccated coconut... extra mmmmm!!

TIP: Put them into mini cup cake cases before putting in the fridge to set so the chocolate doesn't pool at the bottom like in this pic!

Sources:

  • Nutrition and You: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com
  • Livestrong: http://www.livestrong.com/article/469237-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-desiccated-coconut/

Abi Manders is a mum, health coach, yoga teacher, business woman and complete and utter foodie. In a previous life Abi ran global corporate events, operated at a million miles an hour and used yoga to find balance in this crazy world we live in. Since having her little boy and studying with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, her journey has veered towards a healthier way of living. Abi believes we all have the power to heal ourselves, and that one step at a time we can make small changes to our diets and lifestyle that will have big effects on our health and happiness.