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For more nutrient-rich packaged snacks, see Clean Choice Awards 2016: Snacks.
A convenient snack isn’t always the healthiest solution when mid-day lethargy and hunger descends. Thankfully, good things come in small, sweet packages.
Decadent in flavor and nutrient-dense, raw energy bites provide sustenance to stifle cravings and natural energy to get through the day. They are simple to make (no cooking or baking required) and easy to transport. Stash them in a container and bring them along to the office, the gym or on a hike.
See also Almond Biscotti Energy Balls.
Medjool dates serve as the base for most energy bites. These plump dried, flavorful fruits are a great binder, and they are loaded with nutritional benefits. Although they are a high-calorie fruit due to their lack of water content, dates are a great alternative to most desserts. A single date contains 6 percent of daily value in fiber, as well as high levels of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and more.
Pairing dates with superfoods (in this instance, raw cacao and flax) and nuts is the equation that makes energy bites so nourishing. The combination of antioxidants, omega-3s and vital nutrients like manganese and calcium provides ample fuel for the body. Matcha, ground green tea leaves, is an appropriate add-in for those with a caffeine craving. Together with the amino acid L-theanine, matcha powder delivers caffeine in moderation to activate a relaxed focus. These energy bites are also vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.
To learn about the health benefits associated with cocoa, see Your Brain on Chocolate.
Here’s how to make your own energy bites:
- 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp flax seed meal
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp almond butter
(Makes about 10 bites)
- Put dates, almonds, cashews, cocoa powder and flax seed meal in a food processor. Blend on high until well mixed.
- Empty this mixture to a large bowl. Then, add the coconut oil and almond butter and mix well.
- Roll the mixture into balls, about the size of a tablespoon.
- Roll in matcha powder, pepitas, coconut shreds, cocoa powder or preferred topping.
- Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Nutrients per serving ( 28g): Calories: 132, total fat: 9g, sat. fat: 2g, polyunsaturated fat: 0g, carbs: 12g, fiber: 2g, sugars: 8g, protein: 3g, sodium: 1mg, cholesterol: 0mg
For another snack recipe that incorporates cocoa, nuts and dates, see Mocha Cashew Bars.
Samara Napolitan is a writer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her writing has appeared in Relix, The Post & Courier and The Collective Quarterly, among other places.