You can’t escape these little buggers. Bloggers and health enthusiasts everywhere are making them. Energy bites or energy balls are made by my coworkers. You can get them at Freshii. They make a great substitute for raw cookie dough cravings and are perfect for a 3 pm sugar crash or a between work & the gym fuel up.
Energy Bites come in a few different formats, but most are either oat & nut butter or dried fruit & nuts. They can be really, really tasty. However, they are not quite as healthy as the internet makes them seem.
Oats + Nut butter
These are the easiest kind to make. You only need a bowl, a spatula measuring spoons, and maybe a little patience. They taste the most like cookies and the least like health food. It’s like cookie dough, but healthy, which is generally a good thing in my book.
Also, they’re endlessly adaptable and can be made with any mix-ins you have on hand.
Oat Nut Energy Bites Basic Recipe
- 1 ¾ cup oats (old-fashioned or quick cooking)
- ¾ cup all-natural peanut butter
- ⅓ cup liquid sweetener such as honey or agave (or slightly more if needed to bind mixture together)
- ⅓ cup mix-ins such as chocolate chips or dried fruit
- ¼ cup health boosters such as hemp hearts or chia seeds (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Add more peanut butter if the mixture doesn’t hold together or a few more oats if it is too sticky. Divide into 2tbsp balls. Refrigerate until firm.
Fruit + Nuts
These seem modeled after the date & coconut rolls you can find with the dates in the produce section of your grocery store or an ERG! Bar. You can make key lime pie bites with lime juice and zest or lemon poppy seed bites with lemon juice, lemon zest and poppy seeds. Or, you can stick with a classic and just do almonds, dates and coconut for a more traditional date roll flavor. Some people make these with cocoa powder and a dash of sweetener added to be “brownie” bites. I recently found a recipe, using my favorite root, turmeric.
Fruit & Nuts Energy Bites Basic Recipe
- 1 cup nuts (cashews or almonds)
- 2 tbsp liquid (vanilla extract, lime juice, lemon juice, water)
- 1 cup packed pitted dates (soak in warm water first if very dry)
- ⅔ cup unsweetened fine coconut
- 1-2 tsp flavoring (citrus zest, spices)
Grind the nuts in a food processor then add the dates until a dough/paste forms. Add the coconut, your liquid and any flavoring until well combined.
Protein Powder + Superfoods
If you don’t want to mess around, start with a protein powder base and blend in your favorite superfoods like coconut oil and chia seeds to make something that is both incredibly healthy and portable. These tend to taste like the protein powder, so make sure you pick one that you like. I usually buy NutraSumma Pea Protein. If you use cinnamon as your spice in these, they taste almost like a snickerdoodle.
- 3 scoops (90g) vanilla protein powder
- ½ cup (50g) instant oats
- Approx 2 tsp ground cinnamon, turmeric or other spice (optional)
- ½ – ¾ cup milk (non-dairy milk works just fine)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp liquid sweetener such as honey or agave
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, starting with the smaller amount of milk. Pulse until a dough forms. If it is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time so you don’t end up with a goopy mess.
How to eat energy bites
It should be noted that these pack a punch. Most bites are between 100-150 calories each. I usually eat them in 2-3 for a good-size snack or to fuel me up before a dance class. That whole class at 6:30 thing makes it hard to fit in a dinner after work and eat exactly the right thing to not slow me down. Just because these are healthy doesn’t mean they are calorie free! They are a great mix of protein, fat and carbohydrate to fuel a workout or an afternoon full of meetings.
Do you have a favorite energy bite recipe? Let us know in the comments!
Mary Fran Wiley is a well known gluten-free and positive living blogger from Chicago where she writes Curiouser and Curiouser, maintains the Chronic Positivity Project, and has been featured in Allergic Living Magazine, Care2.com and Today.com.