Emily Samuel is a celebrity fitness trainer at Dogpound in New York City.
Nigel Barker

Celebrity fitness trainer Emily Samuel isn't one to sugar-coat her nutrition advice. She says you can't cheat your way into healthy eating.

Samuel is a trainer to stars like Karlie Kloss and models for Victoria's Secret who flock to Dogpound - an exclusive Manhattan gym named in honour of Hugh Jackman's French bulldog.

"I'm gonna say what everyone doesn't want to hear," she told Business Insider. "Prepping meals. The thing that's most annoying to do? In fact, that's what's going to help you."

Scientific research backs Samuel up on that: People who eat more home-cooked meals consistently consume less sugar, eat healthier ingredients overall, and take in fewer calories (even when they do wind up eating out).

Before Samuel heads out the door in the morning to work out or meet her clients, she said she grabs a few refrigerated, no-bake protein balls.

"It's my little secret," she said. "These no-bake little healthy balls that I make, that take literally five minutes, last me all week. That's my breakfast every day."

Here is the simple mix-and-chill recipe that Samuel recommends

The five core ingredients are:

  • 1 cup of rolled oats (oats are a great source of healthy fat, protein, and calcium)
  • 1/2 cup of cacao chips
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds (which are high in healthy polyunsaturated fats and filled with omega-3s that can help lower your cholesterol)
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter (or another nut butter of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup of honey (or agave nectar)

If you like, you can also add in:

  • A teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A touch more oats if the mix seems too wet
  • Or a little extra nut butter if the consistency is too dry

Mix these ingredients together in a bowl. After that, Samuel said, "you roll them up into a ball, you put them in the fridge, and then, voila!"

You can use an ice-cream scoop or spoon to form the balls, making each one about the size of a golf ball. Then either freeze them for an hour (if you're pressed for time) or refrigerate overnight.

Samuel also likes to add some protein powder to her balls, but you don't have to. There's still a vigorous debate in the nutrition community about how much protein we really need in our diets, and many nutrition experts are starting to stress the importance of eating whole, healthy foods rather than relying on powders or worrying about specific nutrient groups like carbs, fats, and proteins.

To spice up her go-to breakfast ball recipe, Samuel said she sometimes uses almonds instead of chia seeds, sprinkles in a seasonal twist like pumpkin-pie spice, or adds some dried cranberries.

"You can even bring them to holiday parties," she said. "Be that cool person that brought the healthy thing."

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