I have to tell you something very important, healthy food doesn’t have to make you feel sad. It really doesn’t!
There are still treats in the whole food world, and these Superfood Energy Bites will make your whole family smile. REALLY BIG!
In fact, I had the opportunity to catch up with some college friends, Rachel and Levi and their 6 wonderful kids, a few months ago and these treats were a major topic of conversation. Rachel asked me if I would please share the recipe, and so here it is!
The great news is that the recipe is pretty simple to put together, all you need is a food processor and your hands (but not your hands IN the food processor….that would not be fun!) to put these little bites of tastiness together. Not only that, but you can really tweak the add-ins to suit your tastes or what you have on hand. I am actually going to make another version of the recipe later today that incorporates cacao nibs…yum!
So, not only do these energy bites taste amazing, they are packed with nutritious ingredients!
Check out the nutritional powerhouse foods that are in these tasty bites, then scroll down to print out the recipe!
(Nutritional information from: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods)
Dates form the base of the energy bites recipe, and provide the sweetness. I’ve tried this recipe with all types of dates, so you can choose the plain ones from the grocery store or go fancy and buy them from your specialty grocer. Just get the whole dates without the sugar on them.
So dates provide some of the “quick energy” in these energy bites because they are an excellent source of easily digested carbohydrates. The carbohydrate energy is balanced out by the fiber content that helps to slow the absorption of energy into the body. Dates contain trace minerals plus nutrients and other minerals including B vitamins, copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium, selenium and potassium.
In addition to the nutritional benefits, dates are considered an alkaline food (based on its pH). Alkalinity in the body is believed to be a precursor to overall health, and eating alkaline foods is believed to balance out acid promoting foods and stresses on the body. Not only that, but a special fiber in dates called beta-D-glucan. This fiber slows the emptying of the stomach and helps provide extra bulk to your digestive system and help you to eliminate wastes efficiently. Not only that, but the beta-D-glucan is believed to help maintain even blood sugar balance! So this sweet fruit will help support the good health of your body, and not send it on a roller coaster ride like refined sugar.
I add pumpkin seeds to the dates when I put them into the food processor to blend into a smooth paste. Raw pumpkin seeds contain an impressive amount of essential fatty acids, phytosterols (especially beta-sitosterol which as been studied for its positive benefits to the male prostate) and minerals. In fact, pumpkin seeds are particularly high in phosphorus, iron, and zinc, as well as vitamin A, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3.
They don’t add a distinct flavor to the the energy bites, but pack in a lot of nutrition and add some fiber.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut oil comes from the coconut fruit and is filled with necessary saturated fats that help to support hormone production and brain composition. Did you know that your brain is made up partially of saturated fats? These fats, in balance with other fats, are an important part of helping the body function well.
Not only that, but coconut oil includes medium-chain fatty acids that are believed to help support the immune system. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, a compound that is only found in coconut or breast milk! The body can convert lauric acid into monolaurin which fights bacteria and viruses!
The saturated fats in coconut oil are known to be quick burning and provide energy while being less likely to be stored as body fat. How cool is that?
These tiny seeds have next to no taste, but add a fun crunch to the energy bites and a LOT of nutrition! I buy mine through our local food co-op, but they’ve become popular enough that I’ve been able to find them in some high-end grocery stores, health food stores, and even Sam’s Club! There are several colors of chia seeds that you could buy, but they all taste the same, so don’t worry about which color you pick.
Chia seeds have been called the “Aztec Running Food” because they are full of nutrition that promotes sustained energy. Filled with B vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, manganese and phosphorus, it is no wonder that chia packs an energy punch. Chia seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Unsweetened coconut shreds contain some of the benefits of the coconut oil since they have a small amount of oil in the meat of the coconut still, but have other healthy benefits all of their own! When you are gathering your ingredients make sure you buy the unsweetened shreds since sweetened coconut has added sugar and has been treated with propylene glycol, an ingredient in anti-freeze. You don’t want that junk in your energy bites!
On their own coconut shreds are filled with healthy fiber as well as manganese, molybdenum, and copper.
Goji Berries (also called Wolfberries)
Goji berries go by many different names but are all from the species Lycium barbarum. Goji berries are grown mostly in China and have an impressive amount of protein for a fruit: 4 grams per 1 ounce serving! Goji berries are also filled with amino acids and Vitamin A. Each goji berry contains over 20 trace vitamins and minerals and is known to be high in antioxidants.
I use a dried goji berry, and you can buy them at most grocery stores in the dried fruit section or at a specialty grocery store/health food store. I’ve also used the dried wolfberries from Young Living, and found them to be very good as well! They are a mildly sweet berry and usually are sold unsweetened.
So now that we’ve seen what makes these superfood energy bites so super, let’s get on to that recipe!
- 16 oz. Pitted Dates (unsweetened)
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
- ¾ cup chia seed
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup dried unsweetened goji berries (also called wolfberries)
- Put dates, pumpkin seeds, and coconut oil into your food processor and process at full speed until mixture becomes a smooth paste (about 3 minutes).
- Remove mixture to a large bowl and add in remaining ingredients, mixing by hand.
- Form into bite sized balls and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
For example, you can replace the pumpkin seeds with an equivalent amount of nuts, or replace the goji berries with dried cranberries or any other dried fruit.
Just keep in mind to replace products with others that have similar properties and you'll get a consistent product.
Additionally: You may want to try flavoring these with a few drops of orange or tangerine essential oil. Just add a few drops to the mixture while mixing in the ingredients by hand. Only use a brand that states that internal use as an option on the bottle. (We trust Young Living.)
You can play with the recipe and switch out some ingredients. You just want to make sure that you always have the dates, chia, and coconut oil because they are key to the energy bites staying together.
You may want to even consider adding a protein powder or supplements like maca powder to the energy bites. They truly can be customized!
Leave me a comment and let me know what special goodies YOU add to this recipe, or did you make it just like it was written?