My doula friend Jen, over at Your Birth Scotland, asked me to create a few low FODMAP recipes for pregnant women and postpartum mums that would be easy for them to make, but would be nice and healthy to help nourish their bodies too.
These apricot and sunflower seed energy balls are excellent little snacks that are filled with energy and nutrients for new and expectant mums. They’re incredibly easy to make because all you have to do is just throw all of your ingredients into a food processor (a handy tool to have in the kitchen because you can puree food for your baby with it) and then roll them into balls before coating them.
I should mention at this stage that if you’re sensitive to oligo-fructans then just give this one a miss because it’s not going to be compatible with your IBS requirements. However, if you don’t have a problem digesting oligo-fructans then I’d highly recommend giving this recipe a go!
This is the second batch of energy balls I’ve made. The first ones, Chocolate Date Energy Balls, were lovely but I realised that I’d made them a little too big, so I thought I’d make these ones a bit smaller. They’re certainly more comfortable to eat because they’re bite-sized and their smaller size also helps to keep the FODMAP content low.
I asked a few of my friends who’ve had babies what kind of snacks they found useful during their pregnancies and postpartum and they all said that they needed quick, convenient things that they could grab to eat while juggling a baby, but that were fairly healthy and would give them plenty of energy. Thankfully, I think these fit that remit quite well.
These apricot and sunflower seed energy balls are delicious while being stuffed full of good things, such as fibre, and they have heaps of iron in them (something pregnant women and those who have recently given birth are often low in). In fact, in order to absorb the most amount of iron from food it’s best to consume it along with some vitamin C because it helps the body to take the iron in (i.e having a glass of fresh orange juice along with your steak and chips or ham salad sandwich).
However, these energy balls do this already because you’ve got the vitamin C in the dried dates and apricots supplementing the iron that’s naturally found in the oats, tahini and within the dates and apricots themselves. Also, the dried dates and apricots contain important vitamins and minerals including potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, folate and vitamin A. It’s like these energy ball ingredients want to make you healthier! And as doula, Jen, at Your Birth Scotland attests, it makes sense to supplement your diet with as many naturally occurring vitamins and minerals as possible to ensure a healthy pregnancy and to take care of your adjusting maternal body postpartum.
I made these with the intention of them being a snack to nibble on throughout the week, but my partner seemed to find them irresistible as a breakfast food, grabbing two before leaving the house on a morning, or stuffing a couple into their packed lunch bag, or munching one or two while doing the dishes as a little after dinner natural sugar hit.
Regardless of how or when you want to eat them, you can be guaranteed that these energy balls will put more than a little spring back in your step.
1 firm banana
A pinch of salt
50g dried apricots
50g sunflower seeds
4 tbsps. cocoa powder
50g coconut oil (melted)
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp hot water
60g desiccated coconut (reserve a little for coating the energy balls)
30g sesame seeds (for coating the energy balls)
Lay a bowl, two plates and a piece of greaseproof paper out on your work surface.
Put all of your ingredients into a food processor and blend together until it starts forming a ball. Empty out into the bowl.
Pour the sesame seeds onto one plate and the leftover coconut onto another plate so that you’ve got a production line in place.
Take a small piece of energy ball mixture and roll it in your palms until it forms a small ball and then roll it in either the sesame or the coconut coating and set on the greaseproof paper.
Continue until all of the mixture is used up and then put the energy balls in the fridge to harden. Enjoy!