Vegan no-bake energy balls with dates are a healthy snack for lunch, to beat the afternoon slump and to reduce hunger between meals. Gluten-free paleo energy bites are very-filling and provide sustained energy. Full of fibre and nutrients, this easy homemade 5 ingredient energy balls recipe can be made in 15 minutes and keeps you feeling full and energized.
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Healthy paleo vegan no bake energy balls – No gluten, no refined sugar
I’m an early morning person, and every day at around 4 pm I hit a big, fat afternoon slump. Low energy. No concentration. Zero motivation. Instead, sleepiness and frivolous thoughts about food. I’m dangerously close to give in to my sugar craving and raid the vending machine in the office building.
Since trying to cut out refined sugar, I started making healthy vegan no-bake energy balls. And let me tell you, they taste so good. They have no added sugar and are low on empty carbs, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, and dairy-free.
Instead, they are rich in filling fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that boost your energy and improve concentration. And you only need 5 ingredients and 15 minutes to make this simple paleo energy balls recipe.
Another thing I love about this healthy snack is that the bites can be eaten mess-free because they aren’t sticky or greasy. They travel well and are perfect as a healthy lunch box addition for school and work, a tasty office snack, or to nibble on the go. I often keep some in a small box in my pursue and eat one or two whenever I need a little pick-me-up.
Yum and healthy lunch box idea for toddlers, school kids and adults
Energy bites are a kid-friendly homemade lunch box idea for school and preschool. They are a quick, make-ahead alternative for children who don’t like sandwiches and can be eaten on the go. Pair the bites with fresh fruits and veggies, and you have a delicious and healthy school snack that even picky eaters won’t turn down.
But we’re not just talking about school children here. Gluten-free energy bites with dates are healthy snacks for toddlers and preschoolers as well. My husband works as a teacher, and he loves these paleo-friendly, low carb energy bites as a yum lunch box snack for adults, too.
Healthy after school snack idea for kids
As a mum, you probably know this scenario: One hour away from dinner, your kid comes up and says: “Mum, I’m hungry.” – “Dinner is ready in an hour.” – “But I’m hungry now!” You also know what comes next: constant demands for a snack every 5 minutes from here on out.
Don’t fret. Gluten-free energy balls with dates and nuts are also a healthy make-ahead after school snack for toddlers, children and teens. Even picky eaters will enjoy this easy and fun homemade treat recipe. This healthy snack idea keeps hunger at bay and is much healthier than any sweets made with refined sugar and other processed ingredients.
Vegan no bake energy balls are a gluten-free homemade food gift
Gluten-free energy bites also make a healthy homemade food gift for Christmas, birthday, your friends and family, for teachers, or just to say thank you. Since my husband is munching on them all the time, I guess energy bites are also excellent DIY gifts for men and boyfriends. Quick, easy, and thoughtful.
As a packaging idea, I put the bites in cute clip top jars, which I decorated with a free printable chalkboard-style label. 4 oz mason jars would look very lovely, too, and the label fits the lid perfectly. Add a ribbon, and you have a gorgeous little present!
What ingredients and tools do I need to make paleo vegan no bake energy balls?
Why are energy bites good for you? How do energy bites work? I know you want to jump straight to the recipe and enjoy delicious no-bake energy bites by the handful. But let’s talk about the ingredients in these delicious and easy vegan energy balls and find out what makes them so healthy and good for you.
When developing this recipe, I chose ingredients with a low glycemic index. But why is that important? This quote from Healthline explains the relevance of low-glycemic foods perfectly:
“The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how much a carbohydrate-rich food may raise blood glucose levels. […] Foods with a higher GI can trigger a spike in blood sugar and insulin release after eating. High-GI foods are also digested quickly, which can mean feeling hungry again much sooner.” (source)
The health benefits of coconut flour
Coconut flour is the secret star of the recipe. This nut meal is naturally gluten-free, low in digestible carbohydrates, loaded with fibre, protein and other nutrients. Coconut flour is very filling and nourishing, and perfect for those who want to cut back on grains and reduce the carbohydrate intake.
It ranks low on the glycemic index. The high fibre content in coconut flour is said to help maintain stable blood sugar levels. Sugar absorption into the bloodstream is slowed down, thus making you feel fuller for longer.
Coconut flour is also very absorbent and the reason why these energy balls aren’t sticky or greasy and can be eaten mess-free.
I used Anthony’s coconut flour in my recipe, which is very finely milled and has a mild, nutty taste. If you have a favourite coconut flour, let me know so I can try it in future recipes.
Raw, unblanched almonds are another source of healthy nutrients. They are rich in fibre, protein, fats, vitamins (especially vitamin E), minerals (magnesium in particular), and antioxidants. Studies show that the protein and fibre in almonds can help to reduce hunger, which may help to eat fewer calories overall.
You can either use ready-ground almonds or grind up whole, raw almonds. Though I haven’t tried, you probably could use almond flour or almond meal, too. Just keep in mind that the bites will be a bit drier than with freshly ground almonds.
Healthy homemade energy balls with dates
Dates are the main ingredient of these energy bites. Eating dates comes with many health benefits: Dates are a rich source of antioxidants and also contain a B vitamin called choline, which is linked to better learning and memory. (source)
And as the other ingredients in these vegan no-bake energy balls, dates have a low glycemic impact and may have a positive effect for your blood sugar balance.
I used Medjool dates, which were very soft and sticky. If yours are very dry and solid, soften the dates in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes and discard the water afterwards.
The energy bites are also naturally sweetened with agave syrup, which has a low GI. The syrup also ensures that the mixture sticks together. Whether you use light or raw agave syrup is entirely up to you. I made the energy balls with both and liked them equally.
Honey can be used instead of agave syrup if the energy bites don’t have to be vegan. And in case your wondering, agave nectar is just another word for agave syrup.
A small amount of unsweetened almond butter adds creaminess and makes the texture of the no-bake energy balls perfect, soft and tender.
Almond butter can be subbed with other nut or seed butters, such as cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, or peanut butter if you’re not following the paleo diet. If oil separation occurs, blend the almond butter well before adding to the energy ball mixture.
Desiccated coconut and cacao
A light coating of unsweetened, desiccated coconut and cacao powder adds extra flavour and variation. I used cacao because it has a milder taste, you can prepare this easy homemade the energy balls recipe with cocoa powder, too.
I didn’t count these ingredients since you technically don’t need them to make the recipe. They look pretty (think food gifting) and enhance the flavour of the no-bake energy bites. I prefer coconut, but chocolate lovers will dig the cacao coated energy bites.
How to make the best gluten-free no-bake energy balls
The concept of this super easy, fool-proof energy ball recipe is simple: throw the ingredients into a food processor and blend until you have a uniform, sticky mixture. For perfect no-bake energy bites, follow these tips:
- Measuring dates in cups can be tricky, a digital scale is more precise. I used 16 dates, and my dates were on the smaller side. Since coconut flour can absorb large amounts of liquid, it shouldn’t be a problem if you use more dates than listed in the recipe.
- Start by shredding the almonds. Stop when the almonds look crumbly. Over-processing makes the nuts oily, and we don’t want that to happen.
- Next, add all remaining ingredients and pulse until the mixture looks crumbly and comes together. The mix is perfect when you roll a small portion into a ball, and it maintains its shape. You might still see chunks of dates, and that’s perfectly fine.
- I prefer smaller bites and used a level tablespoon full of the mixture to form balls. For larger bites, roll heaped tablespoons of dough into balls. And, yes you can totally eyeball this and mould balls in whatever size you want.
- You can leave the no-bake energy bites as is. Or be fancy and roll them in desiccated coconut or cocoa powder for gourmet-style truffles.
- Another good thing? These energy bites don’t have to chill. You can wolf them down all at once or muster a little restraint and eat them mindfully over several days. I did the former just in case you were wondering.
Make energy bites with kids
This is a healthy snack kids can make. Let your children help you roll and decorate the bites. Making tasty food together is a fun way to spent quality time with your young.
How long can you store energy bites?
Package the energy bites in an airtight container stored in the fridge. The energy bites will last for a week refrigerated. Energy bites are freezer-friendly and can be frozen for up to a month frozen.
For the energy balls
- 1 cup / 90 g / 3.2 oz coconut flour
- 1/2 cup / 70 g / 2.5 oz almonds
- 2 tbsp agave syrup
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 2/3 cup / 150 g / 5.3 oz soft, pitted dates
For decorating (optional)
- Weigh out the ingredients.
- Place the almonds in a blender or larger food processor fitted with an “S” blade. Pulse until the almonds are just ground.
- Add the coconut flour, agave syrup, almond butter, and dates. Blend in 30-second intervals until a sticky dough forms. Don’t over-process the dough, the mixture is ready when you can form a dough ball.
- Roll tablespoons of mixture between the palms of your hands into balls.
- Optionally, coat the energy balls in shredded coconut or cacao powder.
Shelf life and storage
For the best shelf life, store the energy balls in an airtight food container and consume within a week.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 22 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 30mgCarbohydrates: 12gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 2g
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