Better-for-You Pre-Workout Energy Balls

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Fuel your workouts better with these better-for-you pre-workout energy balls.
Higher in fiber & made with beans, they’re a yummy treat!

I’ve been doing this recipe development and food blogging thing for quite a while now.

And one thing I’ve come to realize is that *my* style of recipe development and preferred eating/cooking doesn’t have a really tidy, Instagram-niched, hashtag-friendly, Pinterest-trending label.

And that’s a recipe for failure in most experts’ opinions.

The other thing I’ve come to realize is that I simply don’t care anymore.

That’s not to say I don’t care about YOU, the person who is a regular visitor to see what I’m up to. I love you! Thank you for being here.

Nor does that mean I don’t care about the random passer-by who’s just here to hop in and out to grab a yummy recipe for some peanut butter energy balls. I’m glad you found me. Thanks for stopping by!

I just don’t care about forcing myself into the kitchen to ONLY develop recipes that fit a very specific label and niche. Think: keto, paleo, vegan, sugar-free, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc., etc.

What I eat personally and cook for my family often doesn’t fit neatly into ONE category — with the exception of this seldom mentioned one:


I know what you’re thinking.

“Better for you… what does that even mean?”

Well, that depends, doesn’t it?

Better for you compared to what?

Well, in the case of these Pre-Workout Energy Balls, better for you than some of the popular energy balls online and likely better for you than a pre-workout snack you’d grab at the store.

(Note: I didn’t say those were BAD for you. That’s not the point. Better doesn’t mean those are bad. It just means these are better, IMO.)

Better for you, how?

Well, for starters, this recipe has more fiber than many of its competitors by using canned beans, ground flax seed, and coconut flour.

It has a roughly 4:1 Carbohydrate to Protein ratio, the same ratio experts recommend for fueling BEFORE a workout.

It’s considerably lower in added sugar than many pre-workout energy balls, but still tasty! I use my favorite natural non-nutritive sweeteners, Swerve brown, and a little bit of allulose. And, I opted for sugar-free chocolate chips.

Are they vegan? No. Are they keto? Um, No. Are they sugar-free? No again.

(You see where I’m going with this right?)

These better-for-you balls may not be primed for the viral life on Pinterest or Instagram, but they are perfectly suited for anyone who – like me – just wants to enjoy good food that’s a little bit better-for-you. ~Regan

Recipe Notes:

  • I opted for fairly simple ingredients and did not to use protein powder in these, but you could easily add an unflavored whey, pea, or egg protein powder.
  • I typically eat two of these about 1 1/2 hours before my morning workout (as my breakfast) with a glass of milk. They provide a nice steady source of fuel for blood sugar levels. Testing them I found my energy level stayed steady through a pretty tough workout. They would also make the perfect snack, post-workout or even an afternoon snack.
  • If you have teen athletes with higher energy needs, you could opt for regular brown sugar and regular chocolate chips. While increasing added sugar in recipes isn’t my favorite, some teen athletes do simply need more calories. These would still fall under the “better for you” category for them, given the higher fiber content as compared to other protein balls.

Better-for-You Pre-Workout Energy Balls

  • Author: Regan Jones, RDN
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 10 min
  • Yield: 24 balls 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 6 Tbsp. Swerve brown
  • 3 Tbsp. almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp. allulose
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (I used One Degree Sprouted Rolled Oats), divided
  • 2/3 cup sugar-free chocolate chips (I used Lily’s)


  1. Pulse first 10 ingredients (chickpeas through salt) in a food processor until smooth. Add 1 cup of the oats; pulse just until blended. Transfer to a medium bowl or large bowl. Stir in the rest of the ingredients – the chocolate chips and remaining 1/2 cup oats.
  2. Cover dough, and chill for 1 hour.
  3. Spoon out evenly into 24 balls. (Cookie scoops well for this.) Store in refrigerator in airtight container.


  • Calories: 107
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fat: 6.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17.5 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 3.5 g

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