Nut Free Energy Balls are pretty much the perfect snack! These make great nut free school snacks, nut free treats for school birthdays, or just everyday healthy snacks. Make a big batch and freeze half so you always have some on hand!
Have you ever noticed that nearly every no-bake bite or bar recipe out there has nuts or nut butter? Our nut-sensitive Prep Dish subscribers have brought this to my attention! Nut allergies make it difficult especially when you want a homemade bite or granola bar. Everyone likes that perfect on-the-go snack or to use them for a quick breakfast. So I introduce… Sunbutter Bites. While this recipe does have seeds it is void of any tree nuts so hopefully, this will help you with all your snacking needs!
Sunbutter is made from sunflower seeds and provides creaminess like nut butter and just as much flavor. It is high in fat, but not quite as high in protein as nut butters. I combined the sunbutter with hemp seeds, which will increase the protein content a bit. These bites will definitely keep you feeling satisfied as a snack should!
Did I mention these bites are no-bake? They come together in the food processor in 5 minutes and another 5 minutes to assemble. I bet it will take you longer to find your ingredients in the pantry than it does to make these. If you have kids with nut allergies this is the perfect after school, in the car, at the park snack!
As always you can make this recipe your own. If you can't find hemp seeds, don't give up! You can replace with ground flax seeds or chia seeds. You also get full control over the mix-ins you want to fold in. Cacao nibs, chocolate chips and cranberries are tested and approved but I've been wanting to try chopped dried pineapple as I always love the combination of pineapple and coconut. Give them a try!
Sunbutter Paleo Energy Balls
- 1 cup medjool dates
- 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1 cup sunflower seed butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup min dark chocolate chips optional
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries optional
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs optional
- In a food processor combine the following until smooth: 1 cup dates, 1 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup hemp seeds, 1 cup sunflower seed butter and 1 tsp cinnamon.
- Option to fold in any combination of 3/4 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup cacao nibs or 1/2 cup dried cranberries.
- Drop by 1 T onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze in a single layer.
- Once frozen, you can store in a container or baggy (these also work at room temp/ refrigerated, but my preference is frozen!).
What is the nutrition like for these nut free energy balls?
Sweetened with dates, these nut free energy balls make the perfect nutritious snack. They're full of protein and healthy fats as well as vitamins. Here are a few of the nutritional benefits from this healthy energy ball recipe:
Dates (Copper, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium)
Studies show that dates may not only be a healthier replacement for sugar, but indeed a genuine healthy food in their own right. Dates provide several vitamins in addition to plenty of fiber. Medjool dates like the ones in this recipe provide more calcium than other varieties.
Coconut (Copper, Iron, Selenium, Manganese)
Coconuts are very high in manganese, which is beneficial for metabolism and bone health. Because this recipe calls for coconut butter, which is simply ground up coconut meat, it retains all of these good benefits!
Hemp Seeds (Vitamin E, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Protein, Omega-3s)
Also known as “hemp hearts,” hemp seeds are high in ALA like flax seeds and are also high in linoleic acid. They may help reduce the risk of heart disease and reduce PMS and menopause symptoms. Hemp seeds are also an excellent vegetarian source of protein and healthy fats. If your local grocery store doesn't have hemp seeds, you can find them here.
Sunflower Seed Butter (Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Folate, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium)
Quite high in both Vitamin E and selenium, sunflower seeds may help your body fight chronic disease and inflammation. Sunflower seeds may also help lower blood pressure. As with all nut and seed butters, look for a sunbutter that contains only sunflower seeds and possibly a bit of salt like this one.
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.
Dark chocolate (Antioxidants, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Potassium, Zinc)
Full of nutrients and antioxidants, dark chocolate is good for your heart and may even help lower blood pressure. Interestingly, consuming chocolate with milk may interfere with how well your body absorbs the antioxidants, making dairy-free chocolate an excellent choice.
Cranberries (Vitamin C, Manganese, Vitamin E, Vitamin K1, Copper, Antioxidants)
Similar to many other fruits and vegetables, much of cranberries‘ 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. Make sure to look for low sugar or no sugar added cranberries like these for maximum nutrition.
Cacao Nibs (Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Manganese, Copper)
Cacao nibs are a great way to get the nutritional benefits of chocolate, without the added sugar. They're super high in antioxidants and are also a good source of healthy fats. Cacao nibs might help fight inflammation and boost your immune system. They're also good for your heart!
Are these good meal prep snacks?
Here at Prep Dish we provide subscribers with weekly meal prep meal plans. All of our recipes are designed to prep ahead so that you can spend 1-2 hours once a week prepping healthy food for the week instead of scrambling every day to put meals together. (You can try our meal prep meal plans for free here!)
You can make this whole recipe ahead of time and store in the fridge for the week. If you don't plan to eat them right away, they also freeze quite well! Flash freeze by placing the energy bites in a single layer on a sheet pan in the freezer for a few hours. Then transfer to a freezer bag or freezer container. Flash freezing keeps them from sticking together when frozen! You can eat them directly from the freezer or thaw for a bit.
What are some other healthy nut free snacks?
If you're looking for healthy nut free snacks, you've come to the right place!
While our meal plans do sometimes call for nuts, we have many subscribers who deal with nut allergies. Every week we provide nut-free substitutions in our subscriber newsletters for those with allergies. Whether you have an allergy or you need nut free school snacks due to school rules, I've got you covered!
Homemade popcorn is the perfect snack! It's gluten free, dairy free, nut free and SO tasty! You'll find 3 suggested popcorn mixes in this post in addition to instructions on how to make tasty homemade popcorn. A couple of the mixes contain nuts but simply omit or replace with pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
Guacamole Stuffed Mini Peppers
Guacamole is packed with vitamins and healthy fats, making it a highly satisfying snack. You can simply dip veggies in the guac if you prefer but these stuffed mini peppers are quite fun!
Blueberry Chia Pudding
If you prefer sweet snacks to savory, chia pudding is an excellent choice! Prep it ahead and add whatever fruit and mix-ins you enjoy. This makes a great breakfast too!
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