What Are Fat Balls, Anyway?

(Image credit: Lee from America)

OK, I’ll be honest: “Fat Balls” sounds like a supremely unflattering nickname for the least popular kid in an ’80s summer camp comedy. “Last one to the lake has to bunk with Fat Balls!”

Despite the unappealing name, fat balls can be a solid addition to your diet. They can help fuel you during a mid-morning workout, late-afternoon conference call, or trans-Atlantic flight.

Here’s what you need to know about fat balls.

What Are Fat balls?

Fat balls (which are also known as fat bombs, energy balls, or protein bites) are exactly what those two words promise: small one- or two-bite snacks that are extremely calorie-dense, thanks to their high healthy-fat content.

Their key ingredients usually involve nut butters, raw nuts, and coconut oil, so they also have more protein than your average cookie, and a lot less sugar too. (That means you might not feel that post-snack sluggishness that you get after pressing your favorite numbers on the vending machine).

Why You Might Want to Start Eating Fat Balls

Fat balls are the go-to snack for a lot of people who follow high-fat, moderate-protein ketogenic or Paleo diets, and the “HEY LET’S TALK ABOUT CROSSFIT” set. But you don’t have to be wiping up a sweat puddle to justify adding them to your diet.

They’re easy to make and easy to transport, which makes them solid choices for late-afternoon slumps, long road trips (or flights), or even your next movie night, provided that you don’t mind eating straight from your jacket pockets.

The key, though, is portion control. The servings are small and, delicious as they are, you might not want to inhale the entire pan at once. Why? Well, it’s kind of there in the name.

How to Make Your Own Fat Balls

One keto-friendly website suggests that there are three crucial components to a fat ball: healthy fats, flavoring, and texture. We like that approach, because it means that you can customize your own recipe based on what you like, not because of what’s on an ingredient list.

Fat Ball Formula: Healthy Fat + Flavor + Texture

As we mentioned above, the healthy fats are most often nut butters, coconut oil, or even actual butter or ghee. For the flavoring, think vanilla extract, ginger, cinnamon, peppermint, or dark chocolate (read: things that can provide a big taste kick without adding a lot of extra sugar). And finally, for texture you can roll each ball through chopped nuts, chia seeds, or coconut flakes — or bacon bits, if you want a more savory snack.

Need a bit more guidance? Here are five of our favorite fat ball recipes on the internet.

Have you tried fat balls? What do you think?