This dietitian adores carrot cake. Adores with a capital “A.” Growing up, each person in my family got to choose what type of cake we wanted to enjoy on our birthday and every year, there was no need to even have a discussion with me- carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I was a little bit predictable.
Through the years I have attempted making healthier versions of my beloved treat…some good and others an epic fail. But the combination of warm spices, chewy raisins, crunchy bits of carrot and moist cinnamon spiced cake make my mouth water just thinking about it!
My most recent birthday…9.18.17
While working at Rex Surgical Specialists a few years ago, I shared this Carrot Cake Oatmeal with our cooking class. This was a recipe I have been making for years with many of the flavors and textures I love about carrot cake. Recently I decided to attempt my own version of carrot cake balls for an energizing and delicious snack to enjoy mid-afternoon or as my after dinner treat.
Carrots have received a bad reputation from the “high glycemic/low sugar gurus.” Actually, their glycemic index for 1 serving of raw, diced carrots is 35 (under 55 is considered “low”). You can read about whether we should be making food choices based on the glycemic index in my published article for the online magazine, TJM. But if you want my plain and simple nutrition advice, if it grows in the ground or on a tree, we should be free to eat it!
Carrots are a sweet vegetable which makes them a great option to introduced to kids in a variety of ways! Just a 1/2 cup portion provides 184% of your daily needs for vitamin A! Immune function, reproduction, vision, and cell communication are just a few of the roles Vitamin A plays in keeping your body healthy and functioning well. Carrots also may be of benefit in warding off cardiovascular disease. According to this study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2011, consuming an average of ¼ cup of carrots daily were associated with a 32% reduction in the risk of developing coronary heart disease.
These Carrot Cake Snack Balls are so easy to make and filled with good-for-you foods. Use your favorite protein or “green” powder to make them- I used vanilla flavored. At, first it might look like you need more liquids but just keep mixing and you will find that a crumbly dough forms.
Carrot Cake Snack Balls
1/2 cup raisins, packed
1 tbsp water
1 very large carrot (about 1 cup grated)
½ cup almond flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 servings vanilla whey protein powder (about 60-65 grams total)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
½ cup, walnuts, finely chopped
Place raisins in a small bowl with water and microwave for 20 seconds. In a food processor, blend raisins in liquid until mostly pureed. Shred carrots into raisins using the grate attachment on your food processor.
In a medium bowl combine almond flour, oats, cinnamon, salt, and protein powder.powder. Stir in carrot and raisins mixture, melted coconut oil, and vanilla. Combine well until the mixture is moist and comes together when pressed. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow to set.
Finely chop walnuts. Roll mixture into heaping tablespoon size balls and then roll in walnuts to coat. Place balls in air-tight container and keep refrigerated.
SERVINGS: Makes ~20 balls
TIPS & TRICKS
- When stirring up wet and dry ingredients, it might not look wet enough initially. Keep stirring because it will be!
- Refrigerating the mixture before rolling into balls will make it less sticky and easier to handle. But, if it still feels too “tacky,” freeze the mixture for a few minutes to harden and make it easier to form balls.
NUTRITION PER BALL
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 2g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Find more than 15 additional snack ideas to pack in your lunch box (or your kids!) in my article The Art of Snacking Well.
You really can have your cake, and eat it too!