By Harriet Mallinson | Published on May 8, 2017
Protein snack bars are so last season. Right now, it’s all about balls. To be precise, bite-sized, rolled balls of tasty protein that come in a plethora of exciting and (sometimes overly) adventurous flavors.
However, the growing appreciation of these morsels of energy means it can be confusing when trying to decide which brand or flavor to go for. To help you all out, the team at MACROS accepted the mission (and calories) of tasting the most popular ones on the market to assess the pros and cons of each ball.*
Here is part one of our definitive guide.
*A lot of protein balls were harmed in the making of this article.
Bounce balls are high protein, gluten free, dairy free, vegan friendly and are a good source of fiber, good fats and carbohydrates. Made from non-GM ingredients, their existing flavors include mint protein bomb, apple & cinnamon protein punch and coconut lemon protein crush. Their new three flavors are coconut cumin, beetroot cashew and almond kale.
This ball really hits you with its coating of chunky, crunchy nuts and the cumin stands out as you chew. The coconut, however, is nothing more than a slight aftertaste. For those looking for a sweet treat, more sugar would be required but on the whole this is a really tasty snack with an excellent texture thanks to the contrast between a smooth moist center and a brittle, almost caramelized, exterior.
Taste – 5
Texture – 5
Just as the name suggests, this ball is pretty unusual. It starts off yummy with a hint of fruitiness, but the more you chew the more a perfumed taste is emitted, as though you’ve accidentally licked a bath bomb; the balls’ pink color really doesn’t help here. Prepare for your taste buds to be utterly confounded!
Taste – 3
Texture – 3
When initially unwrapped, this one seems unpromising due to the green kale color of the nut-covered ball. This aside, it actually tastes wonderful and, thanks to the almonds, eating it is really like chewing on a hunk of marzipan. The kale, though, is nowhere to be seen (or rather savored). The taste remains the same throughout and the texture is the right amount of sweet and crunchy. Full marks.
Taste – 5
Texture – 5
Although rustic in presentation and not strictly in ball shape, this selection of Bounce treats was overall pretty delicious and gets ten out of ten for original flavor choices. Definitely something you’d wanted to snack on whether you were working out or not.
Deliciously Ella’s balls (pardon me) are naturally gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. Existing flavors include cacao and almond, hazelnut and raisin, and cashew and ginger but new members of the family include the all-natural, plant-powered, almond and blueberry protein ball and the coconut and oat energy ball.
Coconut and Oat
Despite the name, the desiccated coconut seems to only feature on the outside of the ball, and the oat is hard to make out too, leaving the main flavor as date. That said, this is a delicious product with a varied texture thanks to the crunchy pumpkin and sunflower seeds. It is naturally sweet and makes for a satisfying snack
Taste – 4
Texture – 5
Almond and Blueberry
At first bite this is a somewhat bland ball with only the slightest hint of blueberry but it proves to be a tasty treat as you keep going. It has a smooth and creamy texture, with the tiny shards of almonds adding a pleasing crunch
Taste – 4
Texture – 4
Apportioned in good sized single balls, these put the delicious in Deliciously Ella. They are good enough to munch on even when training isn’t on the horizon. Plus, if you’re particularly taken with them you can find the recipes online to replicate at home.
Kate Percy’s Go Faster energy balls come three a pack with the three different gluten free flavors coming from 100% natural ingredients. Date and coconut boost your workout, apricot and seeds sustain your training session and hazelnut and chocolate help you recharge.
Date and Coconut
These are made from dried fruit, gluten free oats and desiccated coconut and taste somewhat like cake – Christmas cake in particular. The date and coconut flavors stand out, but it leaves a slight claggy feeling in the mouth.
Apricot and Seeds
Made from dried fruit, gluten-free oats, apricots and seeds, these balls are unsurprisingly fruity and rich and the addition of seeds adds a good crunchy texture. Beware, they’re on the dry side so you wouldn’t want to cram all three from the pack into your mouth at once.
Chocolate and Hazelnut
The best of the three, these include dried fruit, gluten-free oats, roasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate, resulting in a brownie-like texture. Definitely a bit of a treat, these can easily be compared to a bar of Cadbury’s fruit and nut (although much better for you!)
These balls offer a good variety of flavors and it’s helpful to know when to fit them around your workout. The handbag sized packets are also convenient… although a bottle of water may need to be kept to hand.
Check back later this week on MACROS for Part Two.