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How to Make Healthy Energy Balls

Far healthier than almost any energy bar that you can buy in a store, these energy balls are full of vitamins, minerals, and natural compounds that are perfect for providing a quick boost of energy.

Because these energy balls are made out of fiber-rich whole foods, eating just one or two can be surprisingly filling - quite the contrast when you consider that most folks have no trouble eating half a dozen or more mini-donuts in one sitting.

Let's take a step-by-step look at how to make these decadent and nutrient-dense energy balls.

To start, count out about ten dates and place them in a bowl.

DSC01385

Soak the dates in water. If you think to do this an hour or more in advance, it's fine to use room temperature water. If you're pressed for time and only have a few minutes for soaking, use hot water. The idea is to soften the dates so that they're easily blended into a soft paste.

DSC01390

Measure out a cup of raw pecans and put them in a food processor. A strong blender might also work, but for this recipe, a food processor works best.

If you have trouble digesting nuts, soak them in water overnight, strain, and dry with a towel before proceeding.

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Process pecans on low or using a pulse setting until they're nicely ground. You don't want to make pecan butter here - you're looking for nicely ground pecans.

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Add a heaping teaspoon of quality cocoa powder. If you don't enjoy chocolate, it's fine to skip this step.

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Blend or pulse for another few seconds to bring ground nuts and cocoa powder together.

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Add six soaked and mildly crushed dates to the mix. It's best to add a little water to this recipe to create proper texture. A good way to add just enough but not too much water is to lightly shake the dates as you get them out of their bowl of water, give them a gentle mush with your fingers, and add them slightly wet to the ground pecans.

DSC01409

Process on low or use the pulse setting until the dates and pecans become a mass that looks something like this:

DSC01411

You want the texture to be such that you can pinch off teaspoon-size chunks and roll them up with your palms into bite-size balls. If need be, add another mushed up date or two, but always be conservative in adding extra dates, as once the mixture gets too moist, it's very difficult to fix by adding more nuts.

Please note that the mixture doesn't need to come together as a big ball as shown above. As long as you can pinch off small amounts and roll them up into balls that remain intact, you're good to go.

This is about what the energy balls should look like:

DSC01421

For some variety, bring out some dried coconut, cocoa powder, or any of your favorite raw nuts and dried fruits.

On this particular day, I felt like putting a nice coat of coconut and raw cocoa on our energy balls.

DSC01414

Here's what they look like dressed up in a coat of dried coconut:

DSC01425

And with a dusting of raw cocoa powder:

DSC01428

Please note that because we already added cocoa powder to the pecans in the food processor, adding an extra coat of cocoa powder gives these energy balls quite a rich, dark chocolate-like flavor. If you're more of a milk-chocolate person, you probably won't want to add this extra coat of cocoa powder.

It's really as simple as that. You can gently press your favorite nuts and/or dried fruits into the tops to provide an endless variety of energy balls. For example, here are a couple with whole raw cashews on top:

DSC01435

Once you're done making your energy balls, you can enjoy them right away, or keep them covered in the refrigerator, where they'll stay fresh for at least a few days.

If you have a few dates, nuts, and other ingredients left over, bring them together in the food processor and see what turns up - we've discovered some of our favorite combinations doing just this with leftovers - a good example of such a mish-mash is dates, almonds, coconut shreds, and goji berries.

Please note that for different types of nuts, you'll have to adjust the number of dates you use to create a "cookie dough" that can be rolled up into these energy balls. For example, almonds release less natural oils than pecans, so for almond-date energy balls, you need to use about 9 or 10 small soaked dates for each cup of raw almonds.

If you have your own favorite recipe for healthy energy snacks, please consider sharing in the comments section below.

Enjoy!

Here's the recipe without pictures:

Healthy Energy Balls Recipe

Ingredients:

Ten dates
One cup of raw pecans
Heaping teaspoon of cocoa powder
Dried coconut shreds (optional)
Raw cashews (optional)
Goji berries (optional)

Directions:

1. Soak the dates in water. If you think to do this an hour or more in advance, it's fine to use room temperature water. If you're pressed for time and only have a few minutes for soaking, use hot water. The idea is to soften the dates so that they are easily blended into a soft paste.

2. Measure out a cup of raw pecans and put them in a food processor. A strong blender might also work, but for this recipe, a food processor works best.

If you have trouble digesting nuts, soak them in water overnight, strain, and dry with a towel before proceeding.

3. Process pecans on low or using a pulse setting until they're nicely ground. You don't want to make pecan butter here - you're looking for nicely ground pecans.

4. Add a heaping teaspoon of quality cocoa powder. If you don't enjoy chocolate, it's fine to skip this step.

5. Blend or pulse for another few seconds to bring ground nuts and cocoa powder together.

6. Add six soaked and mildly crushed dates to the mix. It's best to add a little water to this recipe to create proper texture.

A good way to add just enough, but not too much water is to lightly shake the dates as you get them out of their bowl of water, give them a gentle mush with your fingers, and add them slightly wet to the ground pecans.

7. Process on low or use the pulse setting until the dates and pecans become together into one mass.

You want the texture to be such that you can pinch off teaspoon-size chunks and roll them up with your palms into bite-size balls. If need be, add another mushed up date or two, but always be conservative in adding extra dates, as once the mixture gets too moist, it's very difficult to fix by adding more nuts.

8. For some variety, roll balls in dried coconut, cocoa powder, and consider adding raw nuts and dried berries on top before serving.

 
 

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Average: 4.7 (273 votes)
 
 
 

Energy Balls

12.75

I also make a version of your Energy Balls regularly. I enjoy adding a few drops of peppermint oil to the mix.

Energy Balls variations

More Variations - Add:
Meat of 1-2 young Thai coconuts
Raisins
Carob Chips
Peanut Butter

Energy Balls

I like to make my energy balls with half dates and half figs (about 5 of each). The figs give a nice texture, as well as adding sweetness. I enjoy the energy balls stored in, and eaten from, the freezer, so I make each energy ball small enough to be just one small bite. The energy balls do not freeze solid in my freezer, but are pleasantly cool enough to really bring out the flavors, I think.

Energy Balls

12.75

Your photos showing the texture is very helpful. Looking forward to mixing these up. Thank you.

Healthy Balls

I made these last week and they are incredible! I put a good portion of them in the freezer for future snacking. Really good trail snack - 2 of these things are filling and give you a boost.

A must try!

I make something similar

I make something similar using equal amounts of any/all of the following - ground sunflower seeds, ground flax, ground pumpkin seeds, ground sesame seeds, ground hemp seeds, ground almonds, chia seeds, fine dried coconut then add enough honey to get the right texture to roll into balls and then roll them in ground pecans

Great recipe for kids! My

Great recipe for kids! My kids can't eat pecans or cacao so I make a similar version (Matt Amsden's)using ground almonds with carob powder or ones with true cinnamon and raisins. they love them. I do a double batch and they are awesome straight out of the freezer ;-) they don't freeze solid making them a great snack that lasts for weeks when rationed out LOL

Energy Ball recipe - here's a recipe for sugarplums - similar

This recipe reminded me of the sugarplums I make every Christmas.
In spite of the name, they are similar and made of healthy ingredients. One could roll them coconut or cocoa as Dr. Kim does with the energy balls rather than the sugar called for in the recipe. Note that the amount of sugar involved is minimal in any case. They are just delicious!

1/2 cup slivered almonds
4 oz. dried figs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey
grated zest of one orange (1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Toast almonds in a small skillet then cool. Combine figs, cocoa, cinnamon and almonds in a food processor, pulsing until peppercorn sized balls form. Add the honey, orange zest and almond extract. Pulse 3 or 4 times more until well mixed.
Form into one inch balls and roll in (sugar) cocoa or coconut.
Makes about 2 dozen. They will keep about 2 weeks at room temp.
They can be set in paper cups (like the ones for chocolates) and make a lovely gift...if you can stop eating them, that is! Enjoy!

Healthy energy balls

I have made a number of variations to this wonderful recipe and they're all good. I often add vanilla and sometimes a few drops of mint extract. Also, a pecan/walnut combination and a date/raisin combination work very well. I also find that raw carob powder is just as tasty in this recipe as cocoa powder.

My version includes half of

My version includes half of whole organic lemon and some coconut meat (cream concentrate)

Energy Balls

12.75

We made these tonight in our blender. They are delicious!!! And are perfect for that little bit of sweet I crave after dinner. Thank you so much for the recipe.

This recipe looks terrific!

This recipe looks terrific! I was looking for something I could carry with me to munch on. Much better than a Cliff Bar or, Lord forbid, Doritos!

However, I have one question/concern: Aren't dried fruit essentially all sugar? How many energy balls do you think one should have at a time, and how long should one waiting before getting a jolt from another one?

Thanks so much.

Eric

energy balls

12.75

Hi, Just wanted to ask if you've ever tried your protein powder in this mixture? I haven't made these, but plan to buy some protein in my next order to try it, and thought it might increase the nutritional value and be quite tasty...am also wondering about a little orange zest...thanks for the great ideas! janie

Energy Balls

12.75

These energy balls sound delicious, can't wait to make them. Thanks for the recipe.

so good

12.75

I made these with dried figs (instead of dates) and pecans, and they are wonderful. Rolling in the cocoa makes them extra special.

Great Recipe...

12.75

...although I have yet to taste them, but based on the smell, know they will taste great. I just finished making a batch for a treat after a long day of fasting during Ramadhan. Traditionally Muslims break fast with dates and water. The raw chocolate powder and nuts will be a nice addition to an already energizing treat. Thanks for a a quick, easy and healthy recipe.

These were very good, and

These were very good, and very easy to make! Everybody wanted t try them so I was making batches non stop for a while there. LOL Thank you!! :)

recipes

It would be wonderful if you would put all your great recipes into a book.
Thank you,

AN

I second that!

Dr. Kim--Please do consider a whole foods cookbook! I was already going to ask if you could give us more Korean recipes. This cuisine is perfect for the paleo lifestyle, as is most Asian cuisine. Anyway, we would love ALL of your recipes compiled in one place, whether Korean, North American, or whatever. It would be such a gift!
Carol

Sesame Energy Balls

The process of the Sesame Energy Ball is the same as the Energy Balls done by Dr.Ben, the only thing is that we should use Sesame seeds. First take out the seeds from the dates and keep it aside. Then prepare the sesame seeds by slightly frying on low flame, and let them to cool before grinding them along with the dried coconut powder. After that add the dates as much as we require for the sweetness and grind slightly. Then make small balls out of the mixed thing. Consume daily one in the morning in the break fast. It really works for the muscle spams. This i am taking since two years and this has done a great remedy for my muscle spams.
Thanks,
Sridhar

energy balls

I had the fortune to be 19 and incredibly poor in San Fransisco in 1969. Living in the Haight with 26 other people, and "living the life". Anyway, my recipe for energy balls....as much peanut butter as you can afford, mixed with a bit of honey, then wheat germ and dry powdered milk, until you can roll it. More powdered milk than wheat germ. Sorry, not exact, does not need a topping. no refrigeration, and my son grew up on these...saved me too. Roll them up into 1" balls, and try to save a few....

energy balls

Thank you for sharing this detailed recipe. I will prepare these energy balls and add some VitaGreen Powder to give them a green alkaline boost. Kids won't even know there are greens in there!

Could I have recipe for your energy balls?

If you don't mind sharing, would love the recipe for your energy balls as well. Would be great for swim meets. Thx, Swimmersmom

Love this recipe...

Since I saw this recipe I keep getting request for it in my house. My roommate offered me money to pay for the ingredients, ha! That in my book means they are a hit :) I'm usually pressed for time so soaking the dates in warm/hot water definitely does the job when you want instant gratification. Thank you so much for this recipe. So far I've used a mix of walnuts and almonds. I'm excited to try it with the pecans.

I love your site. I love all the hip exercise because I have hip issues and now I've been doing more foam rolling since watching your videos. I've had a foam roller but not used it consistently enough. I've seen some improvement in the last week :)

Kristin

I have used raisins in place

I have used raisins in place of dates; and adding flax seeds, a few chocolate chips and peanuts;

 

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