Date & Peanut Butter Balls - My Sugar-Free Shop

After my post last week about sort of quitting sugar, it was time to put my money where my mouth is and do the food shopping.

I'm an avid meal planner, so I planned meals for the week and had to think about what we'd do for snacks and the like. Then off I trotted to my local supermarket. Here's how it went down.

Shopping for a family without buying packaged snack foods and packaged sauces/mixes etc isn't impossible. It takes a bit of planning and lots of label reading. I skipped entire aisles because I knew I just didn't need anything down that aisle.

Yoghurt is a huge minefield for hidden sugars. At my supermarket it lives towards the end of the shop, so by the time I got there I was really tired and aware that I'd left my children with my BFF who hadn't really slept for the past four months (newborn). I read as much as I could fathom and put in Yoplait FormeFrench Vanilla yoghurt for me and Danone Greek Blueberry yoghurt for the girls. Rookie error.

This morning I loaded up my breakfast bowl with frozen blueberries, my seed and nut mix, a sliced banana and some of the Yoplait FormeFrench Vanilla yogurt. Immediately it didn't taste right. I went back to the container and read the ingredients more carefully. Whilst there's no added sugar, there's added 'Sweeteners, 955 and 900'. Essentially a truckload of artificial sweeteners. Gross. I'll be getting some natural yoghurt today instead.

Buying dips was quite an interesting time too. The Woolworths Macro brand and Woolworths FreeFrom dips were lowest in sugars and looked yummiest. I can also look at making our own dips too but I've never had any luck with making Hummus. Can you recommend me a good recipe please?

Sauces are also a minefield. I picked up a reduced to clear Fountain Soy Sauce that was free from added sugars for $1.20. Not popular with the demographic of my town I suspect.

I also purchased the Kraft Natural Peanut Butter. Ingredient list: Peanuts. Bam.

Lots of nuts, seeds and fruit. A boatload of seasonal veggies (note to self: make time to go to the greengrocer next week instead.) Woolworths have a great yet highly annoying scheme called 'The Odd Bunch'. Essentially it's fruit and veg that would otherwise be passed over for wholesale purchase because it might look different or not meet size requirements. It's a bonus for me because we get to eat a kilogram of avocados for $6.98. It's highly annoying because it's a symbol of how as a society we've been groomed to only want 'perfect' food. When you grow your own veggies it's rare to see two of the same size and appearance. Thinking of that, imagine the waste involved for farmers when big name supermarkets only want to buy perfect fruit and veg.

Whilst more expensive than I intended, this shop represents most of our weekly needs with some extra meals for the freezer. I bought a box of bread mix so we can make our own cheese and bacon rolls for lunch, and this will hopefully be our bread quota for the remainder of the shopping period. I also spent $11 at the butcher on free range bratwurst sausages. My butcher also has a great little corner of cryovac'd bacon or ham pieces that are too small to use on slicer, so they pack them and sell for $8/kg instead of $21 or $16/kilogram. Bonus! They freeze well and taste great.

Time for some cooking? Let's do it!

Date and Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients

The ingredient list here is really flexible. You can use pretty much anything that you fancy that can be whizzed up. I've also put chia seeds, sultanas and apricots in before. I used:

  • 400g pitted dried dates
  • handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • smaller handful of sunflower seeds
  • smaller handful of walnuts
  • 2 tbsp shredded/dessicated coconut
  • 2 tbsp cashews (the remainder of a packet)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut for rolling the balls in

Method

  1. Put the dates in your food processor bowl with the pepitas, walnuts, cashews, coconut and sunflower seeds.
  2. Cover your ears, send your children to another room and turn it on.
  3. Call the children back so they can help you put the peanut butter in. Realise it's a task too difficult for a two and four year old, do it yourself and listen to the fights. Reassure them that they can roll the balls in coconut.
  4. Send children out of the room. They will refuse to leave until you turn on the food processor, then they will scream and leave. Make sure the peanut butter is helping to bind the mixture together. Add a teensy amount of water if necessary.
  5. Call them back again so they can put the extra coconut in a large flat plate/bowl and argue over whose turn it is to roll the balls.
  6. Make teaspoonful balls of mixture and roll them in the coconut.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  8. Try not to eat them all at once.

These are added sugar free and quite filling. I have been enjoying one with a cup of coffee in the morning. They are quite energy dense, so as with all things yummy moderation is key. That said, I'd prefer my ever-moving toddlers ate these as opposed to most other things.

Have you tried this recipe? What do you think? Have you done a sugar free shop? Tell me everything.

I'd love you forever if you pinned this post and recipe too. Sharing is caring! x