Energy balls are perfect for a quick, healthy bite of protein and nutrients. Read how easy it is to make a big batch of energy balls, and check out our favorite energy balls recipes.
WHAT ARE ENERGY BALLS?
Energy balls go by a few different names. Energy bites, protein balls, protein bites, no bake energy bites, no bake energy balls. Whatever you call them, they typically contain similar ingredients.
Most energy balls have a base of oats, and a nut butter. The oats are a dry ingredient binder, that soak up the oils and help hold everything together.
Oats are packed with protein, fiber, iron, and complex carbs. This makes them a great source of energy. I prefer using rolled oats rather than quick oats as they hold up better in energy balls. If you need gluten free energy balls, just make sure to use certified gluten free oats.
The nut or seed butter is the main source of protein, and also kind of the glue to bind with the dry ingredients.
ARE ENERGY BALLS HEALTHY?
What is or isn’t healthy for your body is best determined by you and your doctor. But there are some general guidelines for those of you asking if energy balls are healthy.
Thanks to nut butters, seeds, and ingredients like coconut oil, energy balls are a great source of healthy fats.
For years, fats were demonized as the source of all health and weight problems. As a result, people started eating more sugar and refined carbs in processed, low fat foods. We’ve since learned that this was a mistake, and that fats play an important role in things like nutrient absorption.
A lot of energy balls also contain good amounts of fiber. Ground flax seed, chia seeds, almond flour or almond butter, all add to the fiber content. Fiber is so important for digestive and heart health, so definitely good for you.
The main purpose of energy balls is quick and slow burning energy. Protein plays a big part in this. While empty carbs (like white flour and sugar) give you quick energy that soon wears off and makes you feel more tired, complex carbs and protein give you energy that lasts. You can get protein from the nut and seed butters, you can also add a protein powder to your energy balls.
CAN YOU FREEZE ENERGY BALLS?
So can you freeze energy balls? Absolutely! Energy balls are typically fine for up to one week in the fridge. One batch rarely lasts that long in our house!
If you want to freeze energy balls for later, make a double or triple batch. Put some in an airtight container in your fridge for that week.
Place the remaining energy balls on a baking sheet in a single layer. Freeze a couple hours until firm. Then you can store them in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer.
You can take them out one a time for quick snacking, or put a whole bag full in your fridge when you’re ready for another week’s batch.
ENERGY BALLS INGREDIENTS
The energy balls recipe card in this post is based on our no bake lactation cookies recipe. I took out a couple ingredients that are specific to lactation (like brewer’s yeast). But they both contain wonderful, energy giving, whole food ingredients that are perfect for a quick and healthy snack.
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ROLLED OATS – As mentioned above, oats are quite the superfood. They have protein, fiber, iron, and complex carbohydrates. Each of these are important fuel for your body. This is why oats are typically a main ingredient in energy balls. You can sub quick cooking oats if that’s what you have at home. If you use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oats, they are certified gluten free.
NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER – Our favorite natural peanut butter is Adam’s Crunchy. We buy the giant jars of it from Costco and go through at least one a month. Peanut butter is a great source of healthy fats, protein, and even fiber. Make sure to go with a natural peanut butter that doesn’t contain added fats or sugar.
If you hate mixing natural peanut butter, check out our easy guide on How to Stir Natural Peanut Butter. You only have to mix it once when you first open it. There’s no separation down the road.
RAW HONEY – Raw honey is our sweetener of choice at home, and it lends a wonderful sweetness to these energy balls. Make sure not to give raw honey to kids under 2. If you’re planning to share these with your one year old, swap the honey for maple syrup. You may just need to add a little more dry ingredients as maple syrup is runnier than honey.
ALMOND FLOUR – Almonds are full of calcium, protein, and healthy fats. I love Bob’s Red Mill almond flour for adding to energy balls, smoothies, oatmeal, and pretty much anything I bake.
FLAXSEED MEAL – Flax seeds are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.Great for energy! They also contain lignan, a plant compound that is believed to lower cancer risks. Flax seeds contain 800 times more lignan than other plant sources! A Canadian study of more than 6,000 women determined those who eat flaxseeds are 18% less likely to develop breast cancer. This is another ingredient I sprinkle on everything in addition to using in energy balls.
COCONUT OIL – Coconut oil contains healthy saturated fats that provide you with quick energy. The fatty acids in coconut oil are shorter than most fatty acids, so they actually help with fat burning! The solid state of cooled coconut oil also helps with holding the energy balls together.
DAIRY FREE DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS – You don’t have to use dairy free chocolate chips. But I find that the dairy free dark chocolate chips tend to have a lot less sugar added to them. I also like having the energy balls be dairy free so I can share them with dairy free friends and family members.
HOW TO MAKE ENERGY BALLS
If you have a stand mixer, it is the easiest way to make these energy balls. But you can definitely mix them by hand in a large bowl as well.
- Place the oats, peanut butter, honey, almond flour, flaxseed meal, and coconut oil in a large bowl.
- Mix everything well until you have a dough that holds together when you squeeze it in your hand.
- Mix in the chocolate chips.
- Roll into balls about one inch in diameter.
- Store in a airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- If you’d like to freeze them, freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet for a few hours. Then transfer to an airtight bag in the freezer.
ENERGY BALLS FOR KIDS
One of the best things about energy balls is how easy they are to make. But if you want a fun afternoon project with the kids, you can also turn them into really cute kid snacks. Here’s a couple ideas for you.
PIN TO SAVE ENERGY BALLS FOR LATER
PRINTABLE ENERGY BALLS RECIPE
Energy balls are perfect for a quick, healthy bite of protein and nutrients. This is our go to energy ball recipe made with ingredients we always have in the pantry.
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup natural peanut butter we use crunchy
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 3/4 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips
Place oats, peanut butter, honey, almond flour, flaxseed meal, and coconut oil into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Mix on low speed until everything is incorporated.
Add the chocolate chips and mix again.
Roll into balls about an inch in diameter. If you find the dough is too crumbly, especially for the last few balls, it may just need to be warmed in your hands a bit to soften the oils and help it hold together. You can also add a little more peanut butter if you need to.
Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator up to two weeks.
To freeze energy balls, place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze a few hours until solid. Then place in a sealed bag in the freezer.
MORE ENERGY BALLS RECIPES
Here are a few more energy ball recipes from other bloggers that our family has absolutely loved!
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.