These cranberry almond energy bites with dates are SO good! With only 7 ingredients, these simple no bake energy balls make the perfect snack.
As you may have noticed, I sort of have a thing for no bake energy balls.
What do I love about them?
First of all, they serve the same role as prepackaged granola bars and snack packs, but are SO much healthier. They're pre-portioned, perfect for on-the-go and super satisfying due to the mix of healthy fats, protein and carbs.
Second, there are about a million potential flavor combinations meaning that I never get bored. This also means I pretty much aways have the ingredients on-hand to make one kind or another.
Lastly, energy bites are the perfect thing to make ahead and store for later which, you know, is kind of my thing.
Oh, and they're delicious. Can't forget that!
My newest recipe is for cranberry almond energy bites with dates. They are completely sweetened by dates, no honey or maple needed. They're also super simple with only 7 ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your pantry.
Next time you have a few free minutes, make a big batch and stick them in the freezer. Enjoy them as snacks or as part of a packed lunch for months to come!
Cranberry Almond Energy Bites with Dates
- 1/2 cup medjool dates (~4)
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries*
- 1/2 cup almond butter*
- 1/4 cup gluten free oats
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Blend ½ cup (~4) medjool dates, pitted and ¼ cup almonds in a blender or food processor until well chopped.
- In a large bowl, stir the following together until well combined: ¼ cup dried cranberries, ½ cup almond butter, ¼ cup gluten free oats, ½ tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp salt.
- Add in blended dates & almonds.
- Form into 1 T balls and store in air-tight container in fridge or freezer. Yields ~18.
What is the nutrition like in these cranberry almond energy bites with dates?
- Dates: Studies show that dates may not only be a healthier replacement for sugar, but indeed a genuine healthy food. Dates provide copper, vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium, in addition to plenty of fiber. Medjool dates provide more calcium than other varieties.
- 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.
- Cranberries: High in antioxidants, cranberries provide vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E, vitamin K1 and copper. Similar to many other fruits and vegetables, much of the nutrition is in the skin so you don't get it if you drink cranberry juice. Cranberries are perhaps best known for preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) but studies show they may also help prevent ulcers, stomach cancer and heart disease.
- 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.)
- Cinnamon: Frequently used in traditional medicine, cinnamon is good for your heart and also may help stabilize blood sugar. Research also suggests that cinnamon may help lower cholesterol.
What's the best way to store no bake energy balls?
Store your no bake energy balls in either the refrigerator or the freezer. I like to do half and half so that I have some to enjoy right away and some for another week.
Bonus to storing them in the freezer? You can pop one or two into your kid's packed lunch and they'll thaw by lunch time!
What's the best way to measure dates?
I measure dates without the seeds (pitted) and loosely packed in the measuring cup.
That said, energy bites with dates are so flexible! The best way to do it is to blend everything together and then add things as needed. Taste the “dough” and if it's not quite sweet enough for you, add in an extra date!
How can I make sure my ingredients are healthy?
These gluten free energy balls are quite a healthy snack but there are a few things to look out for when choosing your ingredients.
First of all, check the ingredients on your almond butter. Many almond butters contain added ingredients like sugar and palm oil. You can of course make your own almond butter to avoid this issue, but if you don't have the time or inclination, options like this contain only almonds. These nut butter pouches also make it SO easy to measure!
Another thing you'll want to watch out for is the amount of sugar in your dried cranberries. Cranberries are naturally quite tart so many dried cranberries have added sugar. They can be hard to find at the grocery store but you can get no sugar added cranberries here or apple juice sweetened cranberries here. If you're trying to avoid added sugars, you can also try dried cherries. They're naturally sweeter so easier to find without added sugars.
Lastly, if you're gluten free, make sure to purchase certified gluten free oats. Why aren't all oats gluten free? Well oats themselves are naturally gluten free, but they're often processed in facilities that also process wheat, rye or barley. Furthermore, if oats are grown alongside one of these gluten-containing grains and the same equipment is used to harvest them, than can become contaminated this way. This explains why gluten free oats can be a bit pricier, as they have to use separate farming equipment and facilities to process them.
Can I turn these into Paleo energy bites?
Yes! You can easily adapt the recipe to fit a Paleo lifestyle. Simply omit the oats and use 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes instead.
What about keto? Could these work as a keto fat bomb?
Yes again! To make the recipe keto-friendly, use unsweetened coconut flakes in place of the oats, as in the Paleo version. Also, omit the dates and use 15 drops of stevia to sweeten instead. Lastly, reduce the dried cranberries to 2 T to keep the carbs low.
Even if you're not keto, this version makes a delicious low carb snack!
Are energy bites with dates healthier?
If you wish to avoid any added sweeteners, energy bites with dates are an excellent choice! Dates also work really well in energy bites because they lend a nice chewiness and stickiness that prevents the energy bites from crumbling.
In addition, while there's nothing wrong with using honey or pure maple syrup, dates definitely have a bit of a nutritional advantage in that they provide so many vitamins. Dates also have the benefit of containing a substantial amount of fiber, which slows your body's absorption of the natural sugars and prevents extreme blood sugar spikes.
If you want to include more dates in your diet, in energy bites or otherwise, check out my podcast episode all about dates!
What are some other recipes for gluten free energy balls?
Here are a few of my favorite recipes for gluten free energy balls:
Get more of my tips on how to make energy bites here!
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