Here are 10+ Amazing Add Ins & Flavor Variations for Protein Balls
Protein balls can boost your mood, improve your performance at the gym, and help you meet your weight and health goals. Aren’t protein balls exciting?
After all, packing all the proteins, nutrients and essential amino acids into tasty one-biters is really a game-changer. The downside? If you’ve been consuming protein balls for a while, you know that eventually, you get tired of them. That’s where the add-ins for your protein balls comes in, and I have ten easy ways to do it.
Bring the excitement back to your reliable protein balls and never grow tired of them. In fact, you’ll find them easier to add to your diet than ever!
There are two ways of dressing up your protein balls. One is adding delicious stuff to the protein mix to add color, texture and variety to your grab-and-go snacks. The other is adding flavor with spice, chocolate coffee and other ingredients. Let’s first talk about easy add-ins that can make your protein balls more interesting.
1. Chocolate Chips
Chocolate chips make everything better. There, I said it. From ice cream to cookies, chocolate chips are a no-brainer. Well, they can add chocolatey goodness to your protein balls as well.
The secret is keeping your protein balls healthy, so look for chocolate chips made with at least 70% cacao and no trans fats. You’ll find the good stuff at bakery supply stores. If you can’t find chocolate chips, buy a chocolate bar and crush it for chunky protein balls.
Nuts are authentic superfoods — all of them. Just a fistful of crushed nuts adds the good kind of fats, protein, fiber and tons of nutrients to your diet. Nuts are also delicious, not only for their nutty flavor but also for their crunch.
Almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts or macadamias; the sky’s the limit. Toasted them lightly before crushing and adding them to your protein ball mix for extra smokiness.
Seeds are as nutritious as nuts and suitable for people with nut allergies. Seeds are also a bit chewier than nuts, but don’t let their texture stop you — that’s dietary fiber right there, and you want to eat some of that too!
Seeds to give texture and flavor to protein nuts include flax seeds, hemp seeds and the beautiful chia seeds, which are a source of protein in their own right.
Add color and sweetness to your protein balls with sprinkles. Yes, that’s right. Use sugar confetti, sugar pearls, nonpareils (the tiny colorful beads) or jimmies (the classic cane-shaped sprinkles.)
Sprinkles are often just sugar, so use them sparingly. A fistful of sprinkles is more than enough for a batch of protein balls, making a big difference in appearance, texture and flavor. Your protein balls will look so festive they’ll make lovely gifts!
5. Dried Fruits
Dried fruit is nature’s candy. Sweet, fruity and chewy, dried fruit can shape your protein balls’ personality beautifully, whether dehydrated or freeze-dried.
Raisins are an obvious choice, but they’re just the beginning. Dried cranberries, currants and cherries are also the right size. Of course, you can also use larger dried fruit and chop it into tiny pieces. Mango to figs or kiwi, try them all. Crystallized ginger (though not a fruit) is also a wonderful add-in.
6. Oats Or Granola
Oats and granola are more than a wholesome breakfast. They add body to protein balls, and that’s very much appreciated, especially if you don’t want mushy snacks.
Rolled oats are a fantastic add-on for protein balls, as they add structure (and dietary fiber) to the mix. Granola, on the other hand, brings crunch to the equation. As you know, granola is a combination goodies, and it might already contain chocolate chips and dried fruit, so it might just be the ultimate protein ball add-on.
Not all additions to protein balls change their texture. In fact, some only add flavor to the protein mix, but sometimes that’s all you need to turn your protein snacks from good to great.
1. Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is perhaps the easiest way to amp-up your protein balls. A tablespoon or two is usually enough to give chocolatey richness to your healthy snacks.
Ensure you get high-quality cocoa powder; if unsweetened, even better. And make sure it doesn’t contain artificial flavorings; you should get roasted cacao beans that have been ground to a powder — that’s the good stuff. You can always adjust the sweetness in your protein balls later.
2. Instant / Powdered Coffee
Freeze-dried coffee, AKA instant coffee, is another easy add-in for protein balls, and it adds a grown-up feel that cocoa powder doesn’t have. Of course, you also get a much-deserved energy kick from the caffeine, so coffee is for you if you consume protein balls before hitting the gym.
And here’s a tip. If you’re not a fan of coffee’s roasted flavor, use green coffee bean powder; that’s a pro move.
3. Citrus Zest
Citrus zest is fragrant, bright and zippy. Just a teaspoon of zest to your protein balls mix can awaken your senses — that’s a citrus kick you don’t want to miss. Lemons, limes and oranges are all excellent sources of fragrant zest. Work with fresh fruit, though, as dried zest loses its fragrance relatively quickly.
Feeling adventurous? Zest a few grapefruits or mandarins for exotic flavor variations. If it’s a citrus fruit, it can be zested.
For a more conventional, but not less exciting, take on flavoring protein balls and any other sweet treat, for that matter, let’s see what we have on our spice cabinet. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ground ginger and other brown spices are always appreciated, and just a pinch goes a long way.
Tropical spices, including ginger, cardamom, turmeric and even a few saffron strands, can give your protein balls an exotic personality.
5. Antioxidant Powders
Last but not least, not all add-ins are meant to improve the texture and flavor of your protein balls; some can make them healthier while still tasty.
Antioxidant powders, from matcha green tea to powdered beet and every other adaptogen powder on the market, can boost your protein snacks. If natural, even better.
Of course, there are many other ways of customizing protein balls, so if you have a secret ingredient to share, reach out!
Try these Protein Ball Recipes (All Recipes Here)
10+ Amazing Add Ins & Flavor Variations for Protein Balls
- 7 cocoa powder
- 8 instant / powdered coffee
- 9 citrus zest (such as lemon, lime, orange)
- 10 spices ( such as cinnamon, ginger, turmeric)
- 11 antioxidant powders (matcha, beet, other adaptogen powders)
- To your favorite protein ball recipe, add 1 Tablespoon of your favorite add ins per 3 protein balls (so if the recipe makes 6 protein balls, add 2 Tbsp of the add ins)
- For the flavorings, add ½ teaspoon per 3 protein balls (so if the recipe makes 6 protein balls, add 1 teaspoon of the flavoring powder or spices)