You may have seen versions of this recipe before. The basic formula for “energy balls,” as they’ve come to be known, is to pair dry cereal with nut butter, honey or some other type of sweetener, and mix-ins like dried fruit. While that’s sure to yield tasty results, we wanted to create a version made with whole foods whenever possible to maximize nutrient content.
Healthy Ways to Treat Your Sweet Tooth
The first ingredient we considered was the sweetener. We chose to use dates, which some call the world’s healthiest sweetener, with just a touch of brown rice syrup, which contains only glucose and no fructose. Researchers believe that, because glucose can be metabolized by all the cells in the body, it may be less likely to cause metabolic problems than fructose. Dates, like all fruits, do contain fructose, but because they also contain fiber, minerals, and vitamins, making them a healthy way to add a little sweetness to your cooking. Research has even shown that dates can decrease cholesterol and strengthen your bones, among other benefits.
Are Energy Balls The Perfect Snack?
According to Robyn Coale, RD, owner of Nutshell Nutrition in New York City, the “satiating combination of protein, carbs, and fats” makes energy balls “pretty much the perfect snack.” Plus, they’re completely customizable and portable!
For our energy ball recipe, we start with a base of all-natural, minimally processed almond butter blended with dates, brown rice syrup, and a dash of cinnamon. Then we fold in puffed rice cereal to for a satisfying crunch, and chia seeds for a protein boost.
To make these nutrient- and flavor-packed energy balls, you will need…
- ½ cup almond butter
- 3 medjool dates
- 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup of puffed rice cereal (We like Nature’s Path!)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons dried fruit of choice
How to Make Energy Balls
- Begin by pitting the dates, then place the dates, almond butter, brown rice syrup, and cinnamon in your food processor.
- Pulse until the dates fully blend into the rest of the mixture. We find that adding two tablespoons of warm water helps the mixture intermingle.
- Pour the puffed rice cereal, chia seeds, and dried fruit together in a medium mixing bowl and stir together We like to use cranberries and mulberries, but any dried fruit will work. If you’re using a larger fruit like mango, be sure to slice into small nibs before mixing.
- Pour the almond butter mixture into the bowl and stir until the ingredients are well dispersed.
- Wet hands thoroughly and begin shaping the balls by rolling a spoonful of the mixture between your palms. To prevent stickiness, rinse and re-wet your hands periodically. We find that doing this every three balls or so makes the whole process go more smoothly.
- Place the balls on parchment paper and place in the freezer to set.
You can keep the energy balls in the freezer or at room temperature. You can make a batch over the weekend and have snacks at the ready all week long (assuming you don’t eat them all at once!).