By Loraine Fick

I love sugar, just love it, but I try not to eat sugar. For one thing, my blood sugar is a tad out of whack, most likely a combination of advancing age and eating a zillion refined carbs over the years. You might be surprised that almost everyone over 45 or so has at least slightly wacky blood sugar. And you know what I don’t want to get? Diabetes. Wacky blood sugar is like going up the ladder rungs to the top of the slide, and diabetes is the slide. Luckily you can back down the ladder, which is what I’m trying to do.

Anyway, I still love sweetened, carb-loaded food, but my sweet/carb tooth can be satisfied with healthier options that don’t take much fuss or time. Like these protein balls. I’d been looking forward to making these because (1) I like small, cute food and (2) they’re healthy and tasty and I can just grab one or two (or a bagful …) and go.

Coconut flour holds everything together, but I promise these don’t taste like coconut. I happened to find vanilla bean paste on Amazon really cheap, but you can use regular vanilla and add a tiny bit more coconut flour. Just a tiny bit though, like a half a teaspoon. That stuff sucks up liquid like nobody’s business. You can use regular sugar; it only amounts to a ½ teaspoon per ball, so that won’t send anyone’s blood sugar soaring. For a no-sugar option, I’ve been using monk fruit sweetener (not easy to find in stores but Amazon has it), but it’s expensive and some folks say it has an aftertaste. You could use granulated stevia too. I’m not a fan so I don’t use it much in recipes where there’s any chance I might taste it.

Without further ado …

Protein Trail Balls


1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup sun butter
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup sugar (or monk fruit sweetener or granulated stevia)
1 TBS vanilla bean paste

Mix all the ingredients together and then refrigerate for 30 minutes (or longer–they get even easier to handle). Shape into balls and roll in your favorite topping, which keeps them from getting all over your hands. Pop them back in the refrigerator until you want to bag some up and take with you. They’ll get a little softer but not mushy.

These 3 kinds are toasted sesame, toasted walnut and pistachio. I tried to roll them in dried cranberries but not only are cranberries hard as heck to cut up, they also looked like bits of dried blood. So no.

They’re easy to make, easy to take with you. They’re pretty small but the taste is big.

Loraine Fick is a writer and low-carb food experimenter with a love for animals and cake. Her greatest challenge is a short attention span, and her greatest strength, at least foodwise, is a desire to share recipes that are good and good for you. Follow Loraine’s blog at Spoonfully – Adventures in Low-Carb Cooking & Baking.