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Are power balls good for you?

Quick Answers

Power balls are protein-packed snacks made from nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and other nutrient-dense ingredients. They provide a convenient, on-the-go energy source. However, power balls are often high in calories, sugar, and fat, so moderation is key. Overall, power balls can be a healthy snack option when consumed occasionally as part of a balanced diet. But eating too many may lead to weight gain or other health issues. Consider your own nutritional needs and diet when deciding if power balls fit into your lifestyle.

What are Power Balls?

Power balls are small, spherical snacks made from pressed or blended ingredients like oats, nut butters, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, protein powders, and more. The ingredients are mixed together, often with a sticky binder like honey, maple syrup, or nut butter, then rolled into bite-sized balls.

Power balls provide a substantial dose of calories, protein, fiber, and nutrients. Their portability makes them a popular energy-boosting snack for activities like hiking, sports, travel, and busy workdays when you need food on-the-go. They are sometimes referred to as energy balls or protein balls.

Here are some typical ingredients found in power balls:

  • Oats – For carbohydrates, fiber, B vitamins
  • Nut butters – For protein, healthy fats
  • Nuts and seeds – For protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals
  • Dried fruit – For natural sweetness, fiber
  • Protein powder – For extra protein
  • Cocoa or chocolate chips – For flavor
  • Honey, maple syrup, dates – As binders and natural sweeteners
  • Coconut, coconut oil – For healthy fats
  • Ground flax or chia seeds – For omega-3s, fiber
  • Spices like cinnamon, vanilla, ginger – For flavor

The specific ingredients can be customized to create power balls with different textures, flavors, and nutritional profiles.

Benefits of Power Balls

When made with wholesome ingredients, power balls can provide some important benefits:

Convenient Nutrition

Power balls pack a lot of nutrition into a small, portable snack. The carbohydrates provide quick energy, while the protein, healthy fats, and fiber help you feel fuller for longer. This makes them handy for busy days when you don’t have time to sit down for a full meal.

Energy Boost

The combination of simple and complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats in power balls gives you sustained energy. The dried fruit also contains natural sugars to help fuel your body and brain. This makes power balls a smart snack before or after a workout.

Curb Hunger and Cravings

Power balls provide satiety from ingredients like oats, nut butters, protein, and fiber. This helps curb hunger pangs and cravings for less healthy snacks like chips, cookies, or candy.


When thoughtfully formulated, power balls pack a lot of important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial nutrients from whole food ingredients. This makes them a nutrient-dense mini meal or snack.

Easy to Make

Homemade power balls are simple to whip up with basic kitchen tools and no baking required. You can customize them to your tastes and dietary needs. Making a batch yields snacks for the whole week.


Power balls can be a fun, healthy snack to fuel kids. The small size and variety of flavors appeals to picky eaters. Make a batch together for a hands-on nutrition lesson.

Potential Downsides of Power Balls

While power balls can be nutritious in moderation, there are some potential downsides to watch out for:

High in Calories

With concentrated sources of carbohydrates and fats, power balls pack a lot of calories in a small package. Eating too many may hinder weight loss or lead to weight gain. Pay attention to portion sizes.

Sugar Content

The dried fruit, chocolate chips, honey or syrup used in homemade power balls can make them high in natural sugars. Store-bought varieties also sometimes contain added sugars. This could be problematic for diabetics or those limiting sugar. Check labels and recipes.

Easy to Overeat

The small size, portability, and great taste of power balls makes it easy to overdo it. Be mindful of your portion sizes to avoid downing several hundred extra calories without thinking. Pre-portion balls after making a batch.

Contains Allergens

Power balls frequently contain common food allergens like nuts, soy, dairy, and wheat. Those with allergies need to carefully check the ingredients list and avoid their trigger foods.

High in Fat

While the fats in nuts and seeds are largely the healthier unsaturated type, power balls derived a fair amount of calories from fats. Limit portion sizes if trying to lower overall fat intake.

GI Issues

Some people experience digestive upset like gas, bloating, or diarrhea when overdoing high fiber foods like power balls. Introduce them gradually if you have a sensitive system.

Easy to Make Unhealthy

While homemade power balls allow you to control the quality of ingredients, packaged varieties at stores are sometimes made with refined flours, sugars, unhealthy oils, and fillers. Check labels and ingredients.

Are Power Balls a Healthy Snack?

Whether or not power balls are a “healthy” snack depends on their specific ingredients, your diet, and how often you eat them.

Power balls made with whole grains, nuts, seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, spices, and minimal added sweeteners can provide quality nutrition. But consuming too many overall calories, sugar, or fat from any food is unhealthy.

Here are some factors to help determine if power balls are a smart occasional snack for you:

  • Carefully check ingredients if purchasing pre-made power balls, as quality can vary significantly between brands. Avoid those with refined grains, hydrogenated oils, artificial ingredients, and added sugars.
  • Stick to whole food ingredients when making homemade power balls, avoiding highly processed protein powders, spreads, and sweeteners.
  • Watch your portion sizes, as power balls are calorically dense. Limit yourself to one or two at a time.
  • Power balls make the most sense for active individuals who can burn the extra calories. They may lead to weight gain if eaten frequently in a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Be mindful of any food sensitivities you have. Avoid ingredients like nuts, wheat, and dairy if they give you problems.
  • Consider your overall diet. Power balls don’t make sense if you already consume adequate protein, carbs, and fats from balanced meals and snacks.

Within the context of a healthy diet, power balls can provide a nutrient and energy boost. But they are easy to over-consume. Be sure to eat them in moderation as part of an active lifestyle.

Power Ball Nutrition Facts

The specific nutrition content of power balls can vary substantially based on the ingredients used. Here is the nutrition profile of 1 homemade peanut butter power ball (40g):

Calories Total Fat Carbohydrates Protein
200 12g 16g 6g

As you can see, just one power ball provides nearly 10% of calories from fat and a substantial amount of carbohydrates. So portion control is important.

Let’s compare to a commercial power ball product:

Calories Total Fat Total Carbs Protein Sugar
160 7g 20g 3g 8g

This product has slightly less fat but more carbs and added sugar. As you can see, nutrition content varies widely among different brands and recipes. Check labels and ingredients lists closely.

Healthy Power Ball Recipes

You can control the quality of ingredients by making homemade power balls. Here are some healthy recipes to try:

Classic Peanut Butter Power Balls

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1⁄2 cup oats
  • 1⁄2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1⁄3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Mix ingredients together until a dough forms. Chill slightly. Roll into 1-inch balls and enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Power Balls

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 3⁄4 cup almond butter
  • 1⁄2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Process dates in food processor until chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process until a sticky dough forms. Roll into balls and coat in cinnamon.

No-Bake Cookie Dough Power Balls

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1⁄2 cup almond butter
  • 1⁄3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1⁄4 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Form into balls and store chilled.

Tips for Making Power Balls

Follow these tips to create flavorful, nutritious homemade power balls:

  • Choose raw, unsalted nuts and seeds to avoid added oils and sodium.
  • Use nut butters with no added oils or sugars.
  • Sweeten with dates, bananas, dried fruits, pure maple syrup, or raw honey instead of refined sugars.
  • Add spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla to boost flavor.
  • Swap chia or flax eggs (1 Tbsp seed + 3 Tbsp water) for regular eggs.
  • Add shredded coconut or coconut flour for healthy fats and texture.
  • Refrigerate power balls in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  • Coat balls in coconut, crushed nuts, cacao nibs, or seeds before serving.

Experiment with ingredients to create tasty power ball recipes that suit your dietary needs and preferences!

How to Portion Control Power Balls

It’s easy to overindulge when snacking on tasty power balls. Practice proper portion control:

  • Consume just 1-2 power balls as a mini meal or snack.
  • Pre-portion balls when you make a batch by rolling them 1-inch wide.
  • Portion into snack bags with just a serving size.
  • Avoid mindless eating from a large bowl of power balls.
  • Stay aware of your hunger levels so you don’t overeat.
  • Read nutrition labels of store-bought power balls and stick to a single serving.
  • Pair power balls with other foods like fruit or yogurt for a balanced snack.
  • Drink water before and after eating to help feel satisfied.

With a little mindful attention, you can enjoy all the nutrition of power balls without overdoing the calories, carbs, sugar, or fat.

Storing and Freezing Power Balls

Proper storage is important for preserving freshness and preventing spoilage of homemade power balls:

Pantry Storage

Place power balls in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days. Avoid hot spots like near the oven. The balls may harden slightly as they sit.


For longer shelf life, refrigerate power balls for up to 1 week. Allow to come to room temp before eating for best texture.


Freeze power balls in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet before transferring to an airtight container. Thaw at room temp or microwave just until softened. Frozen balls will last for 2-3 months.

Freeze Dried Fruit

If using fresh fruit, consider freeze drying it first to extend the shelf life. Freeze dried fruit won’t spoil as quickly.

Properly stored, homemade power balls maintain peak freshness and flavor. With a stash in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, you’ll always have a hearty, healthy snack on hand!

Buying Pre-Made Power Balls

For convenience, you can purchase pre-made power balls from grocery stores, health food markets, and online retailers. However, quality varies between brands.

When buying ready-to-eat power balls, be sure to:

  • Check the ingredients list and nutrition facts.
  • Avoid products with refined grains like white flour.
  • Watch out for excessive added sugars.
  • Look for mostly whole food ingredients you recognize.
  • Seek brands without artificial additives.
  • Select options with at least 3g protein per serving.
  • Find certified gluten-free and vegan options if needed.

Higher quality prepared power balls will provide more nutritional value. But you lose the ability to customize them to your diet. Overall, making your own is best!

Are Power Balls Suitable for Diets?

Power balls can fit into many different diets when made with the right ingredients:

Gluten-Free – Use gluten-free oats and avoid wheat in homemade balls. Check labels on store-bought kinds.

Dairy-Free – Opt for alternate binders like nut butters,banana, or flax eggs rather than yogurt or milk. Avoid dairy add-ins.

Vegan – Use chia or flax eggs instead of regular eggs. Avoid dairy and honey.

Vegetarian – Choose plant-based proteins like flax, hemp, or pea powder rather than collagen or whey.

Keto – Formulate low carb balls with nuts, seeds, coconut, cacao, and nut butter without oats or fruit.

Paleo – Allowed ingredients include nuts, coconut, chia, spices, and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

Low Sugar – Limit dried fruit to 1-2 ingredients. Sweeten with stevia or small amounts of maple syrup instead of sugar.

With creative substitutions, power balls can be adapted to work with many dietary lifestyles. Just focus on allowed ingredients for the diet you follow.


Power balls provide a dose of energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals in a convenient, portable form. Homemade with wholesome ingredients, they can be a nutritious occasional snack for active people. But beware of excess calories, carbs, sugar, and fat if over-consumed. For the healthiest options, make your own using whole grains, unsweetened fruits, plant proteins, and unprocessed binders. Practice portion control and try to limit power balls to 1-2 at a time. Eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, power balls can fuel your body deliciously. But limit or avoid them if you have trouble controlling portions of these tasty high-calorie snacks.