I’ve been meaning to type up this recipe for you guys for weeks now! I’ve been making these for a while, and have served them at a bunch of our playdates. They are always a hit, and I am always both amazed and alarmed at how quickly 25 snack balls can disappear.
One of my favorite snacks to make for the kids are the coconut date energy bites I came up with a few years ago. They are easy to pack and store, and anything bite-sized is usually a hit in my house. But while there is not necessarily anything bad about them, they aren’t exactly a nutritional powerhouse. Especially when my three year old wants to eat five of them at a time.
So I set out to make a new variation – one a bit lower in sugar and a bit higher in good stuff like nuts and seeds that I can never get them to eat otherwise. At the time I was making these, I was getting ready to host my moms group over at our house and I wanted a snack for all the kids.
But there was one catch. We have a little guy in our group who has a whole host of food allergies. And while his mom certainly never expects anyone to go out of the way to make snacks especially for him, I always feel sad offering muffins and other delights to the other kids and seeing his big wide eyes full of disappointment when he is offered the grapes.
I was determined to make something that all the kids could enjoy together. And so a nut-free, wheat-free, nutrient-dense snack ball was born! Of course, there might be someone allergic to coconut or oats or something else – so make sure to always check out all the ingredients! But for the most part, I think these are free of common allergens, and I KNOW that they are delicious.
Sunbutter Energy Bites (Allergy-friendly!)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Ingredients (25 bites)
2 cup dry old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds
2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
6 to 8 pitted Medjool dates
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/2 cup sunbutter
pinch of salt
Add all dry ingredients to a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds — just enough time to grind the oats and coconut down a bit and mix everything up.
Add the dates, water, melted coconut oil (you want it to be liquid!), and sunbutter, and pulse for another minute or so. The mixture will still seem pretty dry and crumbly — scrape it down a few times with a spatula and pulse in between.
Once it is all mixed together well, scoop a little bit out at a time and form into round balls. I find the best method for this is to wet my hands and form them by hand, but you can also use a cookie scoop if you want to stay clean. Just make sure the balls are well formed so that they hold together.
That’s it! No cooking, baking, drying, or anything else — they are ready to eat!
Store in an airtight container in your pantry or in your refrigerator – up to you! If you store them in the refrigerator, they get a bit firmer due to the coconut oil hardening, but they are still just as good.
These have become a regular part of our snack rotation, and they even work as a dessert bribe in our house. Cullen is much more willing to polish off a plate of lentils and carrots if a sunbutter ball is promised at the end of the meal!
I also like that I can pack them in his school lunches, since his classroom is nut-free. And when I ask him after school what was in his lunch he always responds with, “Moooooooooom, you packed it, you already know!” And then eventually he tells me that the sunbutter ball was the first thing he ate. And half the time it is also the only thing he ate, so I’m happy to know he at least got a few good bites in his belly before nap time.
And I should add that these are definitely not just for kids. I pop them in between breakfast and lunch, or during that (awful) late afternoon stretch. And Casey has been using them for running fuel as he finishes up training for the LA Marathon! Something for everyone and that doesn’t last long in our house.
As always, enjoy – and happy weekend!!