Water, Morning Routines, and No-Bake Nut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake Balls

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Breakfast, Smoothies, Snacks | 0 comments

… How I Begin A Healthy, Happy Day!

No-Bake Nut Butter and Chocolate Protein Shake Balls - a gluten-free, dairy-free recipe.

How I start my morning can establish how my entire day has a tendency to play out. If I begin my day with chaos, too many demands before I’ve even had time to brush my teeth, or I’ve pushed the snooze button so many times that I have to “hit the ground running”, there’s a good chance that the chaotic pace will stay that way and impact my mindset all day long.

Similarly, if I just grab whatever food is fast and easiest to deal with first thing in the morning, I find that I have established my eating pattern for the day – usually one of high calories, minimal nutrition, and short-lived taste bud love. Uggh!

These don’t make for happy, healthy outcomes and can become my habitual undoing if I’m not careful.

So over the past few months I’ve moved myself gradually (because too many changes at once often become ignored and resented – at least by me) into a handful of simple habits that are becoming so comfortable and eagerly anticipated, it’s almost like looking forward to chatting with a good friend over a cup of morning coffee. Perhaps they will help propel you into a healthy, happy morning routine of your own.

First thing in the morning, I drink 12-20 ounces of water before eating anything else. Sometimes this is cool, filtered water from my tap. Sometimes I make a cup of hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar stirred in. I’ve found that the mornings I make sure to drink water, my digestive system is so much happier, even throughout the entire day. This practice also replenishes the fluids I’ve lost during the night, and gives me a good start on the 64 ounces of water (minimum) that I try to consume every day. When I forget my water-before-food rule, my gut seems sluggish all day and I tend to migrate more toward unhealthy food choices. This simple ritual also perks up my energy levels right away and breaks me out of morning “sleepy head” mode.

Secondly, I’m learning to become the Ruler of my mornings (yes, with a capital R), even if I only get to rule my time for 10 minutes (though 30 minutes is my goal – but I don’t have young kids at home any longer, so I feel your reality check being sent my way 🙂 ). It’s still my time. Some days I have to sneak out of bed before everyone else to make sure I get this, but it’s so worth it. These few minutes might be spent just sitting in a quiet space while I drink my water, no TV or morning news, just quiet. Or I may do a little yoga. I LOVE the mornings I can fit in a pinch of yoga. If I don’t have enough time for a full session, I turn on one or more short YouTube videos with Tara Stiles. She has videos as short as 5 minutes. They give me just what I need and keep me from having to miss out on this me time completely. Me time also sets up my day – one with a happy attitude, full of focus, and able to generously give of my time to others. They can have the 23 hours 50 minutes … just leave my 10 minutes alone.

Then it’s all about breakfast. This is about the time that the house becomes busy. Yep, my ten minutes are over but I still need to make sure I have a solid breakfast to keep me going strong and focused all morning. Cooking something can’t always happen, right? So I turn to nutritional quick bites that thoroughly satisfy my taste buds, while still give my body and brain what they really need.

No-Bake Nut Butter and Chocolate Protein Shake Balls - a gluten-free, dairy-free recipe.

Enter No-Bake Nut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake Balls. What a mouthful – and oh so good. They’re my morning protein shake in a super convenient, ultra tasty, on-the-go bite. I love these little bites! They provide vitamins and nutrients, antioxidants, and all the wholesome goodness I’d get in one of my protein shakes. Even the greens! I make up a batch of this protein shake balls recipe and then store them in the fridge or freezer (depending on how cold you like them) and grab a few when I need a quick breakfast or a healthy pick-me-up snack.

These gluten-free, dairy-free Nut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake Balls are also free of soy and corn. They have a dark chocolate, mild coffee flavor, with a chewy, fudgy texture. I love that they are naturally sweetened with only 1 Tablespoon of honey in the entire batch (about 26 balls), with banana and dates for extra wholesome yum. Nut butter and chia seeds provide ample protein, and unsweetened cocoa powder contributes antioxidants and bold chocolate flavor without being overpowering. (Mr. DF thinks they have a flavor similar to fig newtons.) Then there are the fresh spinach or kale leaves. I always add spinach or kale to my shakes, so it was a no-brainer inclusion here too. You cannot taste these greens at all but you’re still getting all the nutrients. I must admit here, though, the reason you’re not getting progress photos in this post is because the mixture doesn’t look too appealing during the processing phase. Yeah, let’s just leave it at that. But once all the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the mixture is rolled into little balls, and coated in shredded coconut (should you choose, and of course is my preference), they are perfectly pleasing. Even kids will like them – just don’t make them while they’re home or you might never hear the end of it.

So there you have it … how I create a happy, healthy morning to set the foundation for a strong day … water, morning routines, and protein shake balls.

I love sharing delicious and nutritious recipes with you. And I love being inspired by others too. I just discovered another site with amazing healthy choices you might enjoy. Be sure to check out Aloha’s healthy recipes. They’re photos make you want to jump right into the image and start noshing. (This is not an affiliate link, I just thought you’d like them!)

P.S. One more bad habit I’ve almost broken … checking my email, either personal or work, before I’ve finished my morning routine. Checking email before taking care of myself seems to be the biggest deterrent of them all. I’ve discovered email can wait just a few more minutes.

Now, on to these awesome grab-n-go Nut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake Balls.

No-Bake Nut Butter and Chocolate Protein Shake Balls - a gluten-free, dairy-free recipe.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free No-Bake Nut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake Balls

Servings: 26 half-ounce (15g) balls
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 10 Minutes
Chill Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 cup brown rice cereal - I like Barbara's Brown Rice Crisps cereal
  • 1/2 cup nut butter - I prefer homemade with only raw almonds or cashews and a pinch of salt
  • 4 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 medium, ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips - I like Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon instant decaffeinated coffee granules
  • 1 cup packed spinach or kale leaves
  • 6 Tablespoons finely chopped shredded coconut, optional for coating


  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
  • Add brown rice cereal, nut butter, dates, banana, chocolate chips, chia seeds, honey, cocoa powder, and coffee to a food processor. Process until well blended with some chocolate chips or cereal still chunky.
  • Add spinach or kale leaves to mixture and blend well until fully incorporated and mixture is a dark brown color.
  • Using a #60 (half ounce) scoop, make balls and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Place coconut in a small bowl. Roll each ball in coconut, if desired.
  • Place balls back onto baking sheet and place baking sheet in freezer for at least 10 minutes to firm up. Transfer balls to a resealable container lined with wax paper, and fill with balls. Store, tightly sealed, in fridge or freezer. Will keep about a week in fridge or up to 3 months in freezer. These won't spoil if kept at room temp for a couple of hours, but will become soft and a bit messier to handle.

Do you have a happy, healthy morning routine? Have I given you any ideas?

Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™


Other recipes you might enjoy:

Green Juice ... Go!

Green Juice … Go!

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (Power Pucks) GFDFEF

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Gluten-free Dairy-free Apple Sausage Rice Egg Scramble

Apple Sausage Rice Egg Scramble

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