Two-Ingredient Fruit and Nut Balls (Fitness Friday)

I previously blogged about making fruit and nut bars (homemade Larabars), and today’s post is a variation of that recipe. If you don’t have a food processor, you may want to check out the original post, as that gives you an alternative to make them with a pastry cutter and an immersion blender.

With just two ingredients -dates and peanuts- you can make inexpensive fruit and nut balls that are packed with minerals, protein, fiber, and carbs. Store them in the fridge or the freezer, and grab one when you need it. They’re great for a post-workout snack or to keep your energy levels up during a run. My toddler won’t eat peanuts or dates by themselves, but together… he can’t get enough of them!

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Homemade Fruit & Nut Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup halved peanuts
  • 15 medjool dates

Steps:

Remove the pits from the dates. I like to slice them lengthwise, until I feel resistance from the pits. Then I stop, open the date, and just pop the pit out.

Soak the dates in a cup of water for about 5 minutes, to soften them (optional step). In the meantime, put your peanuts into the food processor and grind them until they’re finely chopped (about 10 seconds). They should look like the second photo below.

Remove the nuts from the food processor and place them into a bowl. Now put your dates into the food processor and pulse them for 15 t0 20 seconds. Add them into your bowl with the nuts.

(Sometimes I put the dates through the food processor first and then the nuts second. It doesn’t really matter, but if you’re soaking the dates, it saves time to chop the peanuts during that time).

Use your hands to mix the peanuts completely with the dates. Make sure it’s mixed really well and there aren’t any loose peanuts on the bottom of the bowl.

Then separate and roll your mixture into little balls. I make mine about the size of Swedish meatballs (1-1.5″ diameter). This mixture will make 14 balls that size. You’ll want to refrigerate (or freeze) them as soon as possible. They’re easy to wrap individually with plastic wrap, place in baggies, or just line them up inside a Tupperware-type container. (That’s what I do.)

If I make 14 balls from this mixture, then each one has about 128 calories along with protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.Β Both dates and peanuts naturally contain calcium, iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium. Peanuts also contain magnesium.

(I was going to list the exact number of grams of each vitamin and mineral, but my brain was starting to hurt, and I was afraid I was just going to type the wrong thing! I’m horrible at math.)

If you can’t find dates at your regular grocery store, try a Middle Eastern grocery store. I’ve found dates at both a nearby military commissary and a Lebanese cafe/store. Another option would be to use raisins or dried cranberries. In that case, I’d use 1 cup of either to 1 cup of peanuts. Have a peanut allergy? You can use cashews, walnuts, or whatever suits your fancy. If you’re allergic to tree nuts too, then I’m sorry. πŸ™

Fitness Friday Details:

Each Friday, I’m linking up with some awesome bloggers at JillyConyers.com and Wedonthaveitall.com to motivate each other on our fitness and/or weight loss journeys. We’d love for you to join! Don’t have a blog? Leave a comment and tell us what your goals are and how you did this week.

Diet:

This week I finally decided that my goal to build muscle probably won’t happen unless I eat more, especially protein. Once I came to that conclusion, I upped my limit on MyFitnessPal. But the limit wasn’t the problem; the issue was I just wasn’t hungry and eating enough. The first day, I forced myself to eat about 700 calories more than I wanted to. My stomach hurt that evening.

The next day… Oh wow! I was ravenous almost all day! It was like my body went crazy over the extra food and just wanted more. And I realize that’s what happened to me last week after my cheat day. I had trouble reigning my appetite in. I think I just haven’t been eating enough to sustain my current lifestyle.

Now that I know I need to eat more, I have to find the balance of exactly how much protein I need and how many carbs. I’ll probably switch it up a bit…heavy on the protein on lifting days and carb load if I have a big run.

I did do better at eating even more veggies and fruit this week, so that’s a win.

Stats:

Still right at 152 lbs. It hasn’t changed in two weeks, and I think that’s a combination of not eating enough (plateauing) and building muscle. I think I look more toned though, and that has me excited. Next week I’ll post my measurements, and we’ll see if I’ve made a difference in the last month.

Exercise:

Wow, this week was a difficult one. Like many people, the Polar Vortex has kept me and my toddler inside. We had almost a foot of snow here in Southern Virginia, which is not normal at all. Everything shut down for several days. I think schools are still closed today, actually. I can’t run outside with the jogging stroller, and even if the base gym were open (it’s probably not), Baby J has a bad cough, so I can’t take him there to infect other little ones.

If you want, you can read more about my internal struggle to LET GO over on my other blog. Home workouts have been the way to go this week!

Monday– Ran outside since the weather was decent. Got 5.4 miles in, then walked around the playground while Baby J played for 45 minutes or so.

Tuesday– Visited the base gym with the family workout room. Ran 1.2 miles on the treadmill (varied pace) as a warm-up before lifting weights. I only lifted about 10 or 15 minutes before Baby J started fussing because he was tired. I would’ve let him just cry and lay on my jacket to rest, but there were other moms in there, and I didn’t want any judgment for being “that mom.” So we headed home, and I lifted a bit at home with my adjustable Bowflex weights.

Wednesday– Did 40 minutes of a Brazil Butt Lift workout and lifted for about 20 minutes. By Wednesday night I really wasn’t sore at all and felt like I hadn’t been doing enough on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thursday– I was able to get in a pretty intense ab workout once Baby J was in bed. I also did lunges, squats, and lifted with the Bowflex weights.

Friday– The forecast is supposed to be in the upper 40s today, so if this snow melts quickly enough, I’m going to try to run outside this afternoon. It’s supposed to be in the upper 50s tomorrow, so you can bet I will be outside running then! If I’m able to get in 5 miles between today and tomorrow, I’ll have met my Winter Miles Challenge for this week. I’ve really wanted to up my challenge from 10 miles to 20, but that hasn’t been possible with the weather and illness. Maybe next week!

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So all things considered, it was an okay week! No, it did not at all go as planned, and I probably didn’t push myself as hard as I could have. But I did stay active even though I was cooped up alone with a sick toddler for almost 3 days!

Did you meet your goals this week? What are your goals for next week? What do you have planned this weekend?

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39 Comments

  1. Yes! I love this recipe and I would have never have tried the dates if you didn’t show me out to use them! Thanks for sharing. And I love that you’re upping protein. More protein! More Protein! πŸ™‚

  2. What a great toddler recipe! The balls look like just the right size for a little one, and also very easy to hold. I think that my kids would be interested in trying this.

  3. What a great recipe, I am going to test it out with my (suddenly very picky) almost 2 year old! Thank you so much for sharing!

    As far as goals, this week after I do my long run tomorrow, I will have run 40 miles this week (training for a marathon) so I hit my goals. Next week my mileage is slightly higher.

    1. Hi, Sophia, did I say figs? If so- oops! I’ll have to check what I wrote. This recipe actually uses dates, not figs. However, you can use raisins or dried cranberries. I’d use one cup of those to a cup of peanuts (or other type of nuts). It might work with prunes too, if you like those.

  4. What a great healthy treat for the kiddos. I have to tell you when I was little my mom told me dates were cockroaches. I believed her for years and wouldn’t eat one. I think I was in my 20s before I actually tasted one. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Danielle, it’s one of the Beach Body videos. It IS intense! There are several different workouts on the DVDs to choose from, so I get a good mixture of cardio and strength training.

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