By Kelly Hines
The same thing happens every weekday at my house – my kids burst through the door after school, pushing each other out of the way to get to the almighty SNACK CABINET. No matter how much lunch I pack, they are always starving when they get home. And almost every day, they snack so much that, by the time dinner is ready, they aren’t hungry. Then, invariably, they’re hungry for a snack again before bed! It was a pretty brutal circle, and then I started looking for a different kind of after school snack to satisfy everyone.
The big kid wanted something filling.
The middle kid wanted something healthy.
The little kid wanted something sweet.
A tall order, right? That’s when I find these awesome little no bake “energy bites”. Filling (protein from peanut butter and oatmeal), healthy (chock full of seeds), and sweet, too (because everything’s better with chocolate chips). Not only that, I could easily substitute ingredients depending on what I had on hand and to accommodate friends with food allergies. Best of all, prep time is about ten minutes.
I keep a bag of these guys in the fridge or freezer, as they’re best cold. Sometimes I’ll add them to lunches, or use them to satisfy my own wicked sweet tooth during the day. I may have even been known to eat a couple with a cup of coffee for breakfast! Versatile, easy, and delicious, they may be the perfect snack!
NO BAKE ENERGY BITES
1 Cup dry oatmeal
½ Cup peanut butter (can substitute with sunbutter, soybutter, or other alternative. I have made these several times with reconstituted PB2)
½ Cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional, but not in my house!)
⅓ Cup honey or agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ Cup ground flax seed (I use a mix of flax, chia, and hemp seeds called Whole Trilogy Health Seeds, available in most grocery stores)
Toasted coconut flakes, chopped pistachios, chopped dried fruit (such as cranberries, apricots, raisins, dates), other chips (peanut butter, white chocolate)
Mix all ingredients very well in a medium bowl. Coat hands with a small amount of oil or butter to keep mixture from sticking, then roll into bite sized balls. Place on a cookie sheet and put in freezer until very firm, 15 minutes or more. Place in a zip top baggie and store in freezer or refrigerator. Makes approximately 30 balls (depending on how many you eat while making them!).