These High Protein Energy Bites are made with almond flour, almond butter, coconut oil & pure maple syrup. They come together as delicious almond butter protein balls! Totally prep ahead and totally delicious.
Just like that summer is coming to a close and it's back to school time! I know finding healthy snacks for school (and for running around to sports and events after school) can be challenging. It's far too easy to depend on packaged, processed bars and chips. That's why our Prep Dish team loves this very simple, healthy back to school snack your kids will love…Almond Butter High Protein Energy Bites.
These bites have a lot of good things going for them…they're portable, sweet enough without loads of added sugars and offer a good source of protein to help your kids feel satisfied.
We've added chocolate chips to this recipe but you can omit or add cranberries or raisins instead. Heck…cranberries + chocolate chips would also be a winner!
If packing in lunch for school make sure you have an ice pack for your kid's lunch bag so it doesn't lose its firmness.
Check out the notes below to make these paleo and keto friendly! You can store these in the freezer so feel free to double up the recipe to have some on hand for the upcoming weeks!
Back to School Almond Butter Protein Bites
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free oats or sub almond flour
- 2 T melted coconut oil
- 2 T almond butter or sub peanut butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 T dark chocolate chips or discs or sub cranberries or raisins
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- Blend 1 1/2c oats in food processor or blender until it reaches a flour-like consistency. Remove & set aside.
- Add 2T melted coconut oil + 2T almond butter + 1/4c maple syrup + 1/2tsp vanilla. Mix until smooth
- In a large bowl, mix 1/2c almond flour + 1/4tsp salt + 2T chocolate chips + blended oats + almond butter/maple syrup mixture.
- Mix together to cookie dough consistency. Roll dough into quarter-size balls and freeze on parchment paper.
- Once frozen, store in container in the freezer.
What is the nutrition like in these high protein energy bites?
In addition to being high in protein, these little high protein energy bites are full of other nutrients!
- Oats: Naturally gluten free, oats are full of fiber, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and vitamin B1. Oats are also quite high in antioxidants, specifically avenanthramides which may help lower blood pressure. Oats may also help with insulin resistance and help lower blood sugar in those with Type 2 diabetes. (Note: While naturally gluten free, make sure to get oats that are certified gluten free to avoid trace amounts of gluten, if needed.)
- Coconut Oil: Much of the beneficial nutritional impact from coconut oil stems from the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) it contains. Processed differently than other fats, your liver turns MCTs into ketones, which are beneficial for brain health. The lauric acid found in coconut also has beneficial antimicrobial properties.
- Almonds: High in Magnesium, vitamin E and Potassium, almonds are good for your heart and also help lower LDL cholesterol. One serving of almonds also has as much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk! This recipe includes almonds two ways. Almond butter is made by simply grinding up almonds until a smooth butter forms while almond flour is made by blanching almonds to remove the skin and then grinding into a flour. Both forms of almonds pack in a lot of nutrition.
- Pure Maple Syrup: 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup contains 165% of the recommended dietary intake for manganese and 28% for zinc. It also has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, reducing blood sugar spikes.
How can I make these almond butter protein balls Paleo?
You can easily make these little almond butter protein balls Paleo! Simply use all almond flour instead of part oats and part almond flour. You can also omit the chocolate or use dairy free chocolate if you totally avoid dairy.
Can I make these no bake energy bites keto-friendly?
Yes! Replace the pure maple syrup with 15 drops of liquid stevia and use sugar free chocolate chips.
What are some variations on these high protein energy bites?
Oh my, where to begin! There are so many ways to customize these high protein energy bites to fit your personal preferences (or you know, the ingredients you already have in the pantry…)
Energy bites are a great way to experiment in the kitchen because, since they're no-bake, you can feel if they need a little more almond flour or a little more nut butter or coconut oil when you're shaping them.
Here are some ideas on variations – make sure to listen to my podcast episode 32 on how to make energy bites for more ideas and tips for success!
- Mix up the nut butter! Try cashew butter, sun butter or even tahini for a delicious twist.
- Try different dried fruits. Chopped apricots, dried cherries, chopped dried apples, chopped dates, dried cranberries (love this no sugar added option!) or dried blueberries would all be delicious. Blueberry cashew? Apricot tahini? There are so many easy and delicious variations!
- Add shredded coconut for a different texture.
- Add chia seeds for an extra boost of protein, fiber and Omega-3s.
- Add hemp seeds for an extra protein boost – 30 grams, or 2-3 tablespoons, of these little seeds pack in 11 grams of protein.
- Use cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips for a sharper, naturally sugar free chocolate kick.
What if my child's school is nut free?
If you need a nut free energy bite to pack in your child's lunch, we've got you covered! These sunbutter bites are a delicious nut free alternative. Our carrot cake energy bites can also easily be made nut free by using sunbutter in place of cashew butter and seeds in place of walnuts.
What are some other healthy snack options?
It's easy to overlook prepping snacks but in my experience, it makes a huge difference! For most of us, when we're hungry for a snack there's no time to stop and prepare something healthy. The options are generally limited to whatever's around, ready to grab.
This is why taking a few minutes to prep some healthy snacks for the week is such a game changer! If you open the fridge and see an array of beautiful, already chopped produce, you're so much more likely to choose that than a handful of crackers or the crust from your kid's pb&j.
Here are a few of my favorite prep-ahead healthy snacks. Try prepping one of them for the week and see what a difference it makes in your day!
If you do have a day when you have a bit more time to prepare a snack or you want to get your kid involved in prepping for snack time, make sure to try my guacamole stuffed mini peppers and my coco peanut butter banana “sushi”. Both recipes are super kid friendly AND simple enough to make that little ones can easily help. You can also check out my post on some of my favorite simple gluten free snacks here!
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