Delicious & Healthy Energy Balls

If you are trying to eat healthily and cut out, or limit, refined sugars, then energy balls are the perfect way of satisfying even the biggest of sweet tooths.

Why You Should Be Eating Energy Balls

Energy balls are full of nutrients as they are made with ingredients which are considered to be superfoods.  They are high in protein, healthy carbs, fats and fibre which all help build lean muscle, boost energy and assist with weight control or maintenance.

The base ingredient for energy balls is dates which contain little fat, no cholesterol and healthy protein levels.  A 30g serving of dried dates, which would count towards one of your five a day, provides:

  • 81 kcal / 345KJ
  • 1.0g Protein
  • 0.1g Fat
  • 20.4g Carbohydrates
  • 20.4g Sugar
  • 1.6g Fibre
  • 210mg Potassium
energy balls, cranberries, cranberry-2897663.jpg
Rich in Antioxidants and refined sugar-free, energy balls are the perfect healthy snack

Rich in Antioxidants

Dates are rich in antioxidants which help protect your cells from free radicals (unstable molecules which may lead to disease) and studies also show that they may help support gut health. They are also rich in fibre which also aids your digestive health by preventing constipation.  In addition, because dates include phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium and are a good source of vitamin K, they can also support bone health.

Pregnant?

Then including dates in your diet in the final weeks of pregnancy may also help promote the dilation of the cervix thereby reducing the need for an induced birth.  They are also believed to be helpful in reducing the length of labour – double bonus!

A word of warning though, some people may be allergic to dates.  Mild reactions may include symptoms such as an itching mouth or tongue, sneezing or a runny nose.   If you experience these symptoms after eating dates, speak to your GP. If a more serious anaphylactic reaction occurs, call for an ambulance immediately.

When Should You Eat Energy Balls

The simple answer is whenever!  Energy balls make a perfect, quick breakfast which you can enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee or even with a nutritious smoothie, a pre or post-workout snack or a sweet healthy treat after dinner.  Kids love them too, especially our no-bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip balls which taste just like a Snickers bar but are full of natural ingredients and can therefore be enjoyed without any guilt.

Energy Ball Recipes

There is a whole range of recipes available and since they generally keep for around a week if stored in the refrigerator and two to three months if stored in the freezer you can easily make different flavoured batches which will have a long shelf life.  In this blog we have listed just 6 of our favourite go-to recipes which we are so easy to make and we know you will love.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Energy Balls

These energy balls are the ultimate healthy Snickers bar alternative

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup peanut (or other nut butter if preferred)
  • 7-8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp water (add more if the mixture is too dry)
  • ⅓ – ½ cup of chocolate chips (or chopped-up chocolate bar such as Dairy Milk)

Using the S-shaped blade on your food processor, blend the almonds and oats until the mixture resembles a rough flour.  Then add the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips/chunks).  Once the mixture resembles a paste, mix the chocolate in by hand and then form into 1-inch balls.  You should end up with around 12-18 balls

Chocolate Banana Energy Balls

This recipe does not call for dates but, the addition of Chia seeds ensures that these energy balls are still packed with antioxidants, minerals, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids.

Chia seeds are believed to originate from Central America and historically have been used by Aztec and Mayan civilizations, who considered them to be highly nutritious, both in their diets and for medicinal purposes.  This is now backed by science and is why so many healthy eating recipes include Chia seeds.

  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 tsp Chia seeds
  • 30g Oats
  • 20g Almonds
  • A handful of Chocolate chips
  • Coconut flakes to decorate (if desired)

Apple Pie Energy Balls

My granny used to make the most amazing apple pie in the world  [ recipe here] but, if you are after a healthy apple pie fix then these apple pie energy balls are the perfect alternative.  Since this recipe calls for the soaking of the dates before making the energy balls the recipe does involve slightly more work than some of the others listed in this post but the results will be worth the extra effort.

  • 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup (around 10) Medjool dates, pitted 
  • 1/2 cup dried apple slices
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt

Start by soaking the dates in a bowl of hot water for around 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and then combine with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and process and very finely chopped before rolling into balls in the usual manner.  You should get around 12-15 balls

Lemon Energy Bites

  • 10-12 Medjool dates
  • 1 cup almonds (no added salt)
  • ⅓  cup shredded coconut 
  • zest from one large lemon
  • juice from one large lemon
  • ½ tsp of sea salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

In a food processor fitted with an S-shaped blade add the almonds, dates, lemon juice, zest, vanilla and sea salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are chopped and a soft dough has formed.

Once the mixture has combined, use your hands to form the energy balls. By using about 1 Tablespoon of dough for each ball you will get uniform-sized balls.

Once the balls have been formed, roll them in coconut.

Key Lime Pie Energy Balls

My husband’s favourite “birthday cake” (and I use “because it is not a cake at all but a pie!) is Key Lime Pie and most years this will be the cake that he insists on having (although Biscoff cake is now a strong contender too! However, if you are after a healthy alternative to a sugar-laden, though delicious, pie, these energy balls are just the thing!

  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup of about 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • zest from one lime
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • pinch of sea salt

In a food processor fitted with an S-shaped blade pulse the almonds, cashews and coconut until finely chopped.  Place the mixture in a separate bowl and set aside.

Next, pulse the dates until they form a paste and then add the nuts and coconut back into the food processor, pulsing until the whole mixture is combined.

Add the wet ingredients and pulse a few more times for all the flavours to become incorporated.

Scoop 1 tbsp of the mixture and roll into balls. You should end up with roughly 15 energy balls

Blueberry Muffin Energy Balls

This recipe really couldn’t be easier and seriously, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a guilt-free Blueberry muffin-like treat?

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup of about 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup dried blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch of sea salt

Add all the ingredients to your food processor and blend until combined.  Then form the energy balls in the usual way.

Enjoy!

All in all, energy balls are the perfect, healthy, on-the-go snack.  We love these recipes and know you will too.  Let us know which one is your favourite!

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