In the need for a pick-me-up this afternoon? These adaptogen-based snack balls will boost you up in no time!


Your typical snack balls just got taken up a notch with the addition of energizing adaptogens – maca, ashwagandha,, and reishi. These energy snack balls are loaded with healthy fats, fiber and protein, making them a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

But before we get into the recipe, what are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are substances, such as herbs and mushrooms, that increase the body’s ability to cope with stress and fatigue. They’ve been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, and are now becoming more mainstream as a natural way to help manage stress and fatigue.

They work by strengthening and stabilizing our adrenal glands, which pumps out adrenaline and cortisol when we are stressed. These hormones naturally raise our blood sugar and increase our heart rate. This is fine if the stress is short-lived, but in reality, we tend to be faced with constant stress which leads to a consistent output of stress hormones that is associated with weight gain, inflammation, and chronic disease.

Adaptogens help respond to our body’s systems by restoring balance, managing stress, and keeping our hormones in check. While there is no specific formula for which adaptogens to incorporate, many adaptogens have research supporting their effectiveness. Below is a list of the more common adaptogens:

  • Ashwagandha
  • Astragalus
  • Cordyceps
  • Eleuthero
  • Ginseng
  • Holy Basil
  • He Shou Wu
  • Maca
  • Reishi
  • Rhodiola
  • Pine Pollen
  • Schisandra Berry

It’s important to note that some adaptogens can interact with certain medications, so it’s recommended to consult with your doctor or pharmacist for possible interactions, as well as if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also be sure to get your adaptogens from a reliable source, since herbs and supplements are not regulated by the USDA or FDA.

Now that you’ve gotten to know what adaptogens are, let’s get to the recipe!

Unlike other snack balls which are typically heavy on the dates, this recipe calls for only four pitted medjool dates. The smaller amount of dates provide a light sweetness and significantly cuts back on the number of carbohydrates and sugar (quick energy) in these snack bites. Don’t get me wrong, carbohydrates are important. But when you want sustained energy, look for a snack that is higher in fat and protein.

These nourishing snack balls are made with a combination of almonds and cashews to provide a variety of healthy fats and a more complex flavor. The addition of the hemp seeds provides Omega-3s, which are essential for our body and have been linked to reducing inflammation, promoting heart health, and numerous brain benefits like decreased risk of depression and increasing cognition and memory.

The sweet, nutty flavor of these snack balls is enhanced with vanilla and a pinch of salt. But what makes these snack bites really special are the energizing adaptogens – maca, ashwagandha, and reishi.

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoon maca powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon reishi (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 soft pitted dates
  • hemp seeds, maca, or cacao for rolling, (optional)
For the full recipe and instructions, visit the original article.

Jessica Kelley, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian based in St. Louis, MO. She promotes a healthy lifestyle that focuses on wholesome, natural ingredients to fuel our everyday lives to lay the foundation for balance without obsessing over numbers or fad diets. Read more from Jessica at Nourished by Nutrition.