Friday, December 14, 2012

Healthy Dried Fruit and Nut Balls

Dried Fruit & Nut Balls

Dried Fruits are some of the healthiest alternatives to refined sugar, and they are an excellent way to satisfy a sweet craving. While many manufacturers use the natural sugar found in fruit, called fructose, to sweeten their products, eating fruit itself in moderation is a great way to get needed nutrients and vitamins. Dried fruit is a quick and tasty way to get those same benefits during a busy, fast-paced day.

Nuts and Seeds, although energy dense and therefore high in calories, they can in fact be beneficial for weight loss.  Both of these foods are high in fiber and protein making them a filling snack option that will keep you satiated for a long time.  Not only this, but nuts and seeds are packed full of nutrients, making them a health super food, and hugely more nutritious than other popular snack foods.
Combine these healthful ingredients and 
boost your energy with healthy super foods! 

Nutty Notes:
Healthiest Nuts & Seeds

According to the George Mateljan Foundation’s list of the world’s healthiest foods, the healthiest nuts include:

Almonds: High in vitamin E, magnesium, copper, vitamin B2 and phosphorus and concentrated in protein.  The majority of fat in almonds is heart healthy mono-unsaturated fat.

Cashews:  High in antioxidants, mono-unsaturated fats and phosphorus and with a lower fat content than many other nuts.

Flaxseeds (Linseed):  High in omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial for anti-inflammatory properties, as well as vitamin B6, fibre and manganese.

Peanuts:  High in mono-unsaturated fats, flavonoids, antioxidants, and folic acid.  They are also high in vitamin B3 and are thought to contain an antioxidant known as resveratrol, which is thought to have anti-aging effects.

Pumpkin Seeds:  High in essential fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K, these may be beneficial for arthritis and help lower cholesterol.

Sesame Seeds:  Good source of Vitamin B1, mono-unsaturated fats, and phytosterols which inhibit cholesterol production.

Sunflower seeds:  High in linoleic acid, fibre, magnesium and phytosterols.

Walnuts:  High in omega 3 fatty acids, manganese and copper.  They also contain an essential amino acids used by the body to make nitric oxide, which is required for keeping blood vessels flexible.

Healthy Dried Fruit & Nut Balls
The Chef In My Head adapted from Whole Living
Approx. 30 balls

2 cups mixed dried fruit (I used prunes, strawberries, raisins, goji berries, bananas, cherries, cranberries) 
1-1/2 cups raw mixed nuts and seeds (I used walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sprouted almonds)
Coarse sea salt
1/3 cup raw sesame seeds

In a food processor, pulse dried fruit; transfer to a bowl.

Pulse nuts and seeds until finely chopped and add to dried fruit with a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of salt.

Knead together and form 1-inch balls; roll each ball in sesame seeds.

Notes:  I used prunes for the obvious health benefits but also because they make good glue to hold balls together.  I find it helpful to dampen my hands to form balls before rolling them in sesame seeds.

Personally, I think Santa would like these!

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