Bliss balls are a yummy sweet treat in any lunchbox! They’re also fabulous for hiding some added nutritious ingredients in, like seeds, oils, superfood powders, vegetables, and even probiotics. Yep! Probiotic bliss balls are a thing! You heard it here, ladies and gentlemen. These probiotic bliss balls are easy, yummy, reasonably healthy for a sweet treat and your kids will love them!
You might be wondering why I don’t just get the kids to pop a supplement or eat some yoghurt, which is fair enough given the marketing hype around some probiotic products. The truth though is that, well, they’re usually pretty garbage.
Why most probiotic supplements are not worth taking
My issues with most probiotic supplements can be summed up in three main points:
They’re full of excipients or non-active ingredients
Excipients are ingredients in a supplement that aren’t the active ingredient, and most big brand probiotics are full of them. Sometimes these are reasonably harmless fillers (like cellulose) or safe preservatives (like citric acid). Less desirable ingredients found in many supermarket quality probiotics include:
- flavours – whether natural or artificial, they are made in a lab and do nothing nutrition-wise
- artificial sweeteners – some contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol and sorbitol. Both of these can cause an upset tummy (and several trips to the loo) when consumed in excess by most people, but for those with super sensitive tummies (like me!) even a tiny amount is not a good thing.
- palm oil – without any explanation of whether or not it has been sustainably-sourced
Many have added sugars
The majority of big brand probiotics marketed toward children come in handy chewable form. The issue with these is that they have to taste good enough to actually get your kids to eat them and the easiest way to do that is to produce them in chocolate or lolly form. You guessed it, that means sugar.
Sugar is like fertiliser to bad bacteria and yeasts in the gut, meaning it feeds these bad bacteria and knocks the balance in their favour. The goal of probiotics is typically to create balance within the microbiome, so taking a probiotic filled with sugar is a little like taking one step forward and two steps back in my mind.
They’re not tailored to your child’s needs
Parents choose to give their child probiotics usually for one of two reasons:
- They would like to support their immune system and overall health; or
- The child has specific health concerns that they’re looking to address by altering their microbiome.
While both are great reasons to take a probiotic, they require drastically different approaches.
Probiotics have become a popular topic over the last 5 years with everyone from bloggers to Aunty Bev taking note. Thankfully, researchers have also noticed the hype and set to work identifying what strains of bacteria could be beneficial in treating particular illnesses. Thanks to this research, we now know that Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716 could be beneficial in treating mama’s recurring mastitis, but little Billy’s constipation is more likely to be helped by Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12.
Unfortunately, probiotic supplement labels are rarely sorted by which strain of bacteria they contain and are more likely to be advertised as a blanket solution to all concerns. If you’re merely looking to cover your bases, a multi-strain probiotic could be beneficial, but more specific problems could require a more specific probiotic.
Enter the probiotic bliss ball
Once you’ve worked out what you’re looking for in a probiotic, hiding them in a bliss ball is almost like making your own probiotic gummy. Probiotics can’t survive much heat and because bliss balls don’t require cooking, they’re the perfect vehicle for these little bad boy bacteria.
When it comes to probiotics, you don’t want to overdo them to start with. One bliss ball per day should be more than enough, but that means a surplus of probiotic bliss balls that will go bad before they can all be eaten, doesn’t it? NOPE.
Probiotics might be brutally murdered by heat, but they have no issues with sub-zero temperatures. (Hey, they’re kind of like me!) This means you can put them in an airtight container and freeze them for a good couple of months, popping one in the lunchbox each day.
In case #freezable doesn’t tip you over the edge into must-make-these-right-now-land, check out how simple the recipe is…
Probiotic apricot bliss balls
Makes approx. 10 bliss balls
- 1 cup of dried apricots
- 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut, plus extra for rolling
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- The probiotic powder from 4 good quality probiotic capsules
- Place all ingredients except for the probiotic powder into a high-powered food processor and process until the mixture starts to become smooth.
- Turn off your food processor and use your finger to check the mixture hasn’t become too warm. Some food processors heat up depending on how long they take to process a mixture like this. If your food processor or mixture feels warm, put the lid on and leave it for 15 minutes to cool down.
- Sprinkle the probiotic powder into the mixture, then turn your food processor back on. Process until smooth and well combined.
- Spread your remaining coconut on a plate. Using a spoon, take small spoonfuls of your mixture and roll between your palms to create a ball, then roll in the coconut to coat. Set aside on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Repeat with the rest of the mixture until it’s used up, then place baking tray into the fridge to firm for 1 hour.
- Once the probiotic bliss balls are firm, place into a jar or container and store in the freezer.
Are you looking for more gut-loving recipes? Take a look at this easy dairy-free yoghurt recipe!