Almond Butter Energy Bites
As a dietitian I’m often asked what I eat. My response is for the most part always the same. “It really doesn’t matter what I eat since we’re all so different and have such different needs.” But I get it - people want to know. There’s even a hashtag - #whatIeat and even #whatIeatinaday - so yes, people post exactly what they eat with pictures and all. I’m not sure if that’s helpful (or hurtful) for people to see the actual food consumed in a day, but what I do know is that’s still not going to help the person make the food. Haha, wouldn’t that be nice.
Jokes aside, sometimes as a dietitian I get in my little nutrition brain/world and sometimes think people should just know what to eat and how to throw food together and call it a meal and make it balanced. I’ve found over the years that for some people it just comes naturally and for others, not so much. So I get it. I think at the end of the day everyone has to eat, so the simpler the better. I’ve been doing my “all things homemade” and that is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. So if/when someone asks me what I eat, I do preface it by saying that I enjoy cooking and sometimes my food takes a few hours to prepare and sometimes it’s thrown together in just a few minutes. But I have been been starting to feature quick go-to recipes for you all here and am going to continue to do so because I do think that if you have a few staples ready and prepared for the week it truly does help with the whole “meal prep” concept. Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs, Overnight Oats, & Perfect Brown Rice are just a few to get you started!
Enter how this recipe came to be. I rarely buy an “energy bar” since I’m always making my own. And truth be told, if I’m feeling down right lazy some weeks I simply put together a date with a nut butter and call it a day. Yes, some weeks even I don’t make an actual bar and go for the simple stuff. Because even though it’s simple, it’s so dang good!
But yes, I finally put to paper one of my go-to recipes for an “energy bite”. I use the air quotes because all food provides energy, but for some reason these “energy bites” have been given this name and it just sticks. So, this energy bite is quite simple. It’s just cashews, almond butter, and dates. Yes there’s some vanilla added in there, but for just three main ingredients to taste as delicious as they do. It doesn’t get any better than that if you ask me.
I haven’t swapped out different nuts or nut butters, but I’m sure they would work. And I think that’s the beauty of these bites, they’re simple. If you don’t like them as mushed up as I made them, you can even leave them with some chunks if you’d like. You do YOU! But for me an energy bite is simply as the names calls it. It’s just a small bite to tide me over in between meals. This is a snack that is nutrient dense (full of lots of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats) and just wholesome ingredients. I only used the dates to sweeten the bite naturally and didn’t need any extra binding agent (honey or syrup aka added sugar) since the dates are sticky enough. Win Win.
And for those wanting a go-to energy bite/bar they can buy - there are quite a few out there these days and I’ll be honest it’s hard to keep up with them all. Not to mention another reason why I started making my own is because they’re just so dang expensive. Yes I know time is money and convenience is a factor, but I do think that some of these are just too expensive.
Having said that my usual go-to would be a Lära bar and/or used to be a KIND bar. The Lära bar for it being just dates and a nut with a few other seasonings (vanilla, cinnamon) is hard to believe sometimes that it tastes like a “peanut butter cookie”. And the KIND bar uses a simple syrup to make the nuts bind and they tend to be more crunchy - I stopped using them due to their use of palm oil (which promotes heart disease) but also because of reports of the effect on the environment. You can read more about it here. So my back-up if I’m not having just a date and a nut butter is the Lära bar. They’re great for when I travel and haven’t had time to make my own.
Many people have told me they like the Rx bars, Shanti bars, and even a good old Clif bar. My general recommendation is to pay attention to portion sizes, total number of ingredients (you’re going to want to stay away from the chocolate ones), and price as a factor in which one you buy. Energy bars are meant to be used when you’re not able to grab something else. So here you have it, my go-to recipe for my Almond Butter Energy Bites.
Almond Butter Energy Bites
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (if cashews are lightly salted, omit adding salt)
Place the cashews in a food processor and pulse until you have a fine meal-like texture.
Add the almond butter, dates, vanilla and salt. Run the food processor on high until you have a consistency that sticks together. (If you want the bite to be chunkier, pulse the dates 1st and then add the cashews).
Use a scoop to measure out the energy bites. 2 tablespoons will make ~15 energy bites.
I leave the bites just as I scooped them out. You can roll them to form a ball if you like.
*These bites are best eaten within a few days. Freeze the extras and take one out as needed for the day. OR share with your co-workers.