These Chocolate Energy Bites are naturally sweetened with dates for a healthy snack. They’ve got lots of protein and healthy fats thanks to almonds, use only 4 ingredients (plus spices), and are incredibly easy to make! This energy bites recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and Whole 30 compliant.
Before I had my son, I always envisioned that baking or cooking together would be something we’d enjoy. And yes, my little guy is keen to help out in the kitchen. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was how much letting go it would require.
Letting go of quality control, as the ingredients may or may not make it into the mixer. Letting go of clean floors, as a good amount of whatever we’ll be making will surely end up on the floor. Letting go of everything I’ve learned about food safety as my son dips his fingers into raw eggs and unbaked dough and wants to touch and taste everything as we go.
I hadn’t made these Chocolate Energy Bites in ages, but it dawned on me one day that they might be the perfect thing for a toddler-friendly cook-along; fun ingredients, machinery involved, and no scary raw egg to freak me out. Plus, the end result is a naturally-sweetened chocolatey treat that I actually feel good about letting my kid snack on. Parenting win!
What goes into Chocolate Energy Bites?
Only good stuff, my friends. These Chocolate Energy Bites are made with only 4 ingredients, plus a pinch of salt and a bit of cinnamon if you want to get fancy. We’re fancy people, are we not? The featured ingredients are:
- Medjool dates
- Raw almonds
- Cocoa powder
That’s it! And that means that these beauties are:
- Whole 30 compliant
What??? That’s something for practically everyone! Unless you’re allergic to almonds, in which case, I’m sorry, these are not for you.
How do you make Chocolate Energy Bites?
Ok, get a pen and write this down:
- Put stuff in food processor.
- Blitz said stuff together.
- Roll stuff into balls.
Ok, it’s perhaps a little more nuanced than that, but that truly is the basic formula. If my two-year-old can do it, you can do it! Though it should be noted that his ball-rolling skillz are not up to food blogger standard, hygiene standards, or really anyone’s standards. His work is therefore not featured in this post. Sorry!
Tips and hints:
- Do I need a food processor to make this energy bites recipe? Yes, I’m afraid that you do. You gotta grind those almonds up pretty fine and the blades make quick work of the dates. I don’t think making them without a food processor is possible, but I’m very happy for anyone to prove me wrong.
- I have a bag of ground almonds / almond flour in my cupboard. I can I use that in place of the whole almonds? Yes! If we know that half a cup of whole almonds weighs roughly 75 grams, we can substitute 75 grams of ground almonds in this recipe. Yes, you’ll need to weigh it out.
- I’m allergic to almonds, could I use something else? If there’s another kind of nut that does work for you, you could substitute an equal amount.
- Help! My energy balls are way too sticky! No problemo. That probably means your dates are extra fresh. Just add a bit more coconut to help things firm up.
- Help! My energy balls won’t stick together! Don’t sweat it – this probably means your dates weren’t super moist, and the recipe needs a bit of liquid added to it. Try 1-2 tablespoons of water, and see how that works.
- Is this energy balls recipe:
- Vegan? Yes!
- Raw? Yes – if you use raw cacao powder.
- Gluten-free? Yes!
- Paleo? Yes!
- Whole 30 compliant? Yes, with limits. They are meant to be an “emergency” snack and not something consumed as a dessert or treat.
Hey Nutrition Lady, talk to me about dates
Happy to, my friends.
Dates are wonderful things. They truly are nature’s candy. They’re sweet and caramelly, and yes, they are jam packed with sugar. 100g of Medjool dates (about 4 pitted) contains roughly 265 calories, 75g carbohydrates, 2g protein, and only traces of fat.
Of that 75g carbohydrates, about 90% is sugar, which is mostly in the form of glucose and fructose. This means that of those 265 calories, about 240 come from sugar. So when we’re baking with dates and saying ‘this recipe has no sugar!’ what we’re really saying is ‘this recipe has no REFINED sugar!’
Dates are an excellent source of dietary fiber (about 7g in that 100g serving), and especially rich in soluble fiber, which is the kind that helps maintain healthy blood cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. Plus dates are rich in a host of different vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, K, copper, magnesium, and manganese. So eat ‘em up!
Other healthy treats you might enjoy:
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Chocolate Energy Balls
These Chocolate Energy Bites are naturally sweetened with dates for a healthy snack. They've got lots of protein and healthy fats thanks to almonds, use only 4 ingredients (plus spices), and are incredibly easy to make!
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 20 Medjool dates pitted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut plus 1/2 cup more for rolling
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
Place the almonds into a food processor and pulse several times to break them up, then let it run for a few minutes to grind them into a fine powder.
Add the dates and vanilla, and again pulse to break the dates up, then let the processor run for 30 seconds or so.
Add coconut, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse until well combined. The mixture should be slightly crumbly but should keep together easily when you press it together with your hands.
If the mixture is too crumbly, add a small amount of water and pulse to combine. If the mixture is too wet, add a little more coconut.
- Spread 1/2 cup coconut onto a plate. Scoop tablespoons of the date mixture into your hand and roll them into smooth balls. Roll the balls in the coconut, then place on a plate or sheet of parchment.
- Refrigerate for a couple of hours until firm.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only
This recipe was originally published September 27, 2012. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on August 14, 2018.