Cranberry orange energy bites to power you through the holidays! Try this quick and healthy no-bake recipe for a boost of energy and satiety!
Like most of us normal people, it is common to overindulge during the holiday season! How can you resist when you are surrounded by pumpkin pies, cookies, buttery mashed potatoes, and even fantastic cheese spreads? Is it the sweet and decadent taste or the festive flavors of pumpkin, gingerbread, and peppermint? These cranberry orange energy bites bring the taste and flavors we crave of the holidays. Instead of refined sugar and empty calories these snacks provide our sweet tooth with all natural sweetness and good-for-you plant-based fats. Did I forget to mention that these fiber and protein-rich treats are gluten free and vegan?
More Nutrition Less Hunger
During the holidays, it is estimated that Americans consume on average 3,000 to 4,500 calories on Turkey Day. This is not a surprise since most recipes are packed with butter and sugar. Is it possible to eat less calories? Yes! Combining fiber and protein in a meal or snack makes you feel fuller and so you end up eating less!
Instead of refined carbohydrates, try substituting whole grains and all natural sweeteners, like honey or fruits for white breads and sugars. Add in protein and healthy fats from nuts, lean poultry, and beans for a greater satiety feeling. Don’t forget your fruits and vegetables! Starting your meal with non-starchy vegetables will fill you up leading to less indulging later. For more healthy tips during the holidays, check out this article from my Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
These energy bites combine both fiber, protein, and healthy plant-based fats to stop those cravings. The dates in this recipe are naturally sweet (no sugar needed!) and along with the oats, are packed with fiber. Sunflower seed butter and chia seeds provide a combination of both beneficial fats and protein.
Store these grab-and-go treats in an airtight container to last a week on the counter, or months in the freezer. Try the bites pre- or post-workout for fueling your body, or as a midday snack!
- 10-12 pitted dates
- 1 cup rolled oats (Gluten Free optional)
- 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seed butter
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 medium orange
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon pie spice
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (optional)
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
- With the orange, zest the all of the orange peel and then quarter the fruit. Add the zest and squeeze out the juice of the wedges into the processor.
- Add in the remaining ingredients except half of the cranberries, chocolate chips, and other toppings of your choice.
- Pulse until completely blended and make sure to scrape with a spatula the ingredients that stick to the sides.
- Transfer the mix to a bowl and fold in the remaining cranberries and toppings.
- Roll the mix into small balls as you would for cookies, about 1-2 inch diameter. Cover the sheet loosely with foil and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or the freezer for 1 hour.
- Makes 18-20 energy balls and is good for up to a week in the fridge or a few months in the freezer.
Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and recent transplant to Boulder, CO. After working as an inpatient dietitian for almost five years in Boston, she is expanding her expertise in the health and wellness industry. Katie is passionate about cooking and food photography, sharing her culinary adventures on her food blog, One Hungry Bunny, and exploring her new Rocky Mountain surroundings. Follow Katie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.