No Bake bliss balls for easy snacks! These date balls make a brain-boosting snack that the whole family will love? Ready in just 15 minutes for when you need a quick pick-me-up or freeze them for later for a really special treat! Bite-sized and loaded with healthy fats to keep your brain going!
You know, when it comes to feeding my family, I steer clear from any fad diet. We focus on well-balanced meals that incorporate whole foods without excluding any food groups. And as a mother and a health scientist, I can't emphasize enough the importance of healthy fats in our diets.
They play a pivotal role in nutrient absorption, hormone production, maintaining robust cell membranes, and, most importantly, brain development. And no, I don't mean fats from bacon! I'm talking about the wholesome goodness you get from ingredients like the ones in this no-bake date balls recipe. The walnuts, avocado, and hemp seeds in this recipe are a powerhouse of healthy fats that should be a regular part of your diet.
So, don't fear fats, especially healthy ones! These easy bliss balls are the perfect homemade snack or healthy dessert for your family! Plus, it's an ideal choice for anyone who needs a grain-free or gluten-free dessert option. I had to innovate with naturally gluten-free recipes when my son first went gluten-free, focusing on food that didn't need fillers or gums during his gut healing process.
👪Why Your Will Love These Bliss Balls
We love these healthy bliss balls:
- Quick and Easy: With just a food processor and 15 minutes, you can whip up these little balls without any mess or hassle.
- Long Shelf Life: These vegan energy balls can be stored at room temperature, in the fridge, or even in the freezer so you can have a healthy snack ready whenever you need it.
- Nutrient-Rich: This recipe is packed with healthy fats from walnuts, avocado, and hemp seeds. These are not only essential for kids' brain development but also aid in nutrient absorption.
- Great Post-Workout or Afternoon Snack: These bite-sized snacks are perfect to refuel after a workout for that energy boost!
- Versatile HealthyTreat: This recipe is flexible. You can swap ingredients based on what you have on hand or what your family prefers. Plus, it can be served as a dessert, snack, or even breakfast on the go.
- Naturally Gluten-Free: When sticking to gluten-free diets it can feel frustrating to find healthy and delicious alternatives, but this recipe is naturally gluten-free!
🥒Will picky eaters like this
- Naturally Sweet: The Medjool dates give these balls a natural sweetness that kids love and are perfect for that sweet tooth. It's a great way to introduce them to healthier snack options without compromising on taste.
- Fun and Hands-on: The process of making these date balls can be a fun activity for kids. They'll love the hands-on experience of rolling the dough into balls and coating them in cocoa powder.
- Feels Like a Treat: Although these date balls are packed with nutrients, they feel and taste like a decadent dessert. It's a clever way to sneak in healthy ingredients into a picky eater's diet.
- Customizable: If your child isn't a fan of any ingredient, you can easily swap it out. Check out the substitution section for how to swap out ingredients.
Remember, the healthy fats in these date energy balls are crucial not just for brain development but also for nutrient absorption. But as always, it's essential to choose healthy fats from whole food ingredients, not processed oils or fried foods. That's why this date balls recipe is a winner on all fronts - it's a nutritious, kid-friendly snack that's incredibly tasty and beneficial for the whole family!
🧠Brain Benefits of Dates
Let's chat about something close to my heart. I'm super passionate about supporting our kids' health through food, especially when it comes to their ever-growing and ever-amazing brains. As a mom with a background in neuroscience, I'm all about figuring out how to utilize those whole food ingredients in recipes that my kids love.
And guess what? Our date ball recipe does just that! Here's why:
Boosting Brain and Gut Health: It's a No-Brainer!
- Super Fats for Super Brains: The walnuts in this recipe are bursting with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, essential for brain development and function (1). Avocados, on the other hand, are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (the good kind!) and DHA, both known to promote healthy brain function and help nutrient aborption (2). These fats are like sending our kids to school with the best tutors money can buy.
- Sweet Gut Protectors: Dates, our naturally sweet superheroes, are high in fiber, which is a key player in promoting a healthy digestive system (3, 4). But the cool part? This fiber also acts as a prebiotic, feeding the beneficial bacteria in our gut. So, we're not just sweetening the deal; we're nurturing a healthy gut microbiome, too!
- The Brain-Gut Superhighway: Scientists have found a profound connection between our gut and our brain, meaning when we take care of our gut, we're also taking care of our brain (5). And with the fiber-rich dates and healthy fats from avocados and walnuts in our recipe, we're giving a first-class ticket to our kids' gut and brain health. It's like a two-for-one deal!
- Anti-Inflammatory Trio: This recipe is like a trifecta of anti-inflammatory goodness (4, 6, 7). So, every bite of these date balls is like sending in a mini anti-inflammatory army to support our kiddos' brain health. It's not about who's the strongest, it's about the power of working together! Let's break it down:
So, these vegan energy balls aren't just perfect for snack time, they are also a brain-boosting, gut-loving, taste-bud-tickling powerhouse! As a scientist and a mom, I can't think of a better way to sneak in so much goodness. Your kids (and their happy, healthy brains!) will thank you.
⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
- Double or Triple the Batch: Making more of these treats at once saves time in the long run. Store extras in the fridge or freezer for a quick and healthy snack on busy days.
- Cleanup As You Go: While your food processor is doing its magic, take the opportunity to clean up. Less mess at the end means more time to enjoy your delicious date balls!
These energy bites have become my go-to for quick, healthy snacks, striking the perfect balance of sweetness and a delightfully chewy texture. Here is what you will need for this simple recipe:
- Walnuts: I've found that walnuts provide the ideal base for these energy bites. Their mild, earthy flavor and creamy texture blend beautifully with the other ingredients. Plus, they're a fantastic source of healthy fats – something I always try to incorporate into my family's snacks.
- Medjool dates (pitted): I've tried several types of dates, but Medjool dates are my favorite hands down. They're larger, sweeter, and have a caramel-like taste that makes these date balls irresistibly delicious. Plus, they're an amazing natural sweetener, which is a big win for me.
- Avocado: If you're wondering how these date balls stay so soft and chewy, avocado is the answer. It brings moisture and that perfect chewy texture to the balls. And let's not forget about the bonus of healthy fats!
- Hemp seeds: I love adding hemp seeds for a little texture variation and an extra punch of healthy fats.
- Cocoa powder: I couldn't resist adding cocoa powder - it brings a chocolatey richness that my kids (and I) love. The best part? No added sugar, and it harmonizes with the sweet dates, creating a perfect flavor balance.
- Maple syrup: This is an optional ingredient I started adding because my kids prefer a slightly sweeter version. As a mom, I've learned to pick my battles, and a little extra natural sugar is worth it to ensure these healthy fat bites are devoured.
- (Optional) Additional seeds: I sometimes sprinkle in pumpkin seeds or chia seeds for an extra nutritional boost.
For full quantities check out the recipe card.
💡Perfect Bliss Balls Recipe Tips
- Choose Your Dates Wisely: Medjool dates are my go-to for this recipe. They're sweet, plump, and add a delightful chewiness to these date balls.
- Give it a Whirl: Make sure to process the ingredients until you've got a nice doughy texture for best results. If it's not coming together, don't be afraid to let the food processor run for a bit longer.
- Roll with It: When rolling the mixture into balls, don't worry about them being perfect spheres. Remember, we're going for delicious, not a geometry award!
- Chill Out: If you find the mixture is too sticky to handle, pop it in the fridge for a few minutes. It'll firm up and make the rolling process easier.
👩🏽🍳How to Make No Bake Bliss Balls
Are you ready for the easiest vegan bliss balls recipe ever? No, really – you don't even have to turn on the oven. These no-bake bliss balls are ready before the kids even finish their homework!
Step 1: Prep Time
First things first, gather all your ingredients and take out the food processor (or high-powered blender). Make sure your fresh dates are pitted and that your avocado is ripe.
Step 2: Blend and Mix
Now comes the fun part – add all your ingredients into the food processor. Yes, that's right – no messy bowls, no complex steps. Just you, your ingredients, and the trusty food processor. Process for about 3 minutes until a dough forms. Then place the date mixture into a small bowl.
Pro tip: Not sure if your dough is ready? Look for a sticky mixture that holds together when you press it between your fingers.
Step 3: Shape 'em Up
With a spoon or a small ice cream scooper, scoop out about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time. Then, roll it between your hands to form small balls. The size is really a personal preference but I like them about 1-inch wide so they are bite-sized balls.
Keep going until you've transformed all that tasty dough into balls.
Step 4: Cocoa Coating
Next, get your cocoa powder ready in a shallow bowl or plate. Then place bliss balls into the bowl and roll gently until it's completely coated. Feel free to give them a second roll if you're a big fan of chocolate – no judgment here!
Step 5: Chill Out or Dig In
Once you've coated all your date balls, you can eat the energy date balls right away, or if you prefer, place them onto a baking sheet and let them chill in the fridge for about an hour. They also freeze well, making them a perfect make-ahead snack.
Pro Tip: If you want to add a little extra pizzazz, try drizzling some homemade chocolate syrup on top. Just warm up ¼ cup of plant milk (oat works well) until it's almost boiling, then add about ½ cup of dark chocolate chips. Let it sit for a minute then stir. Voila! You can dip or drizzle this over your energy bites for an extra touch of fancy.
There you have it, folks! You've now got a healthy, delicious easy snack that's ready in 15 minutes flat. Whether your family prefers them cold, room temp, or drizzled with chocolate syrup, these date balls are sure to be a hit!
🍫Substitutions & Variations
We all know that no two kitchens (or taste buds!) are the same. So, I want to make sure these bliss balls fit seamlessly into your life so you have healthy snacking options! Here are some substitutions and variations you can try:
- Medjool dates: if you don't have Medjool dates you can use regular dates but you may have to add more of them.
- No Walnuts: You can replace the walnuts with an equal amount of pumpkin seeds or oats. However, keep in mind that this may affect the texture of your date balls. They won't be as creamy, and you may need to add in some natural peanut butter or sunflower seed butter to compensate.
- No Avocado: If you're out of avocados or simply want to try something different, bananas or peanut butter make good substitutes. Bananas make the texture a bit softer and wetter, while peanut butter adds a unique flavor twist.
- No Hemp Seeds: Chia seeds are an excellent substitute for hemp seeds. I have used this substitution often. They'll add a bit of a crunch but also provide similar nutritional benefits.
- No Maple Syrup: If you prefer your vegan energy balls less sweet or are looking to cut down on sugar, feel free to omit the maple syrup. You can add in some vanilla extract to still get a sweet flavor.
- No Cocoa Powder: Not a fan of cocoa or just want to switch it up? Try carob powder, or roll your date balls in hemp seeds, shredded coconut flakes, chocolate sprinkles, or even a dash of cinnamon (just don't go overboard with the cinnamon!).
- Chocolate Chips: Want to double up on the chocolate? Add some chocolate chips to the dough for an extra chocolatey surprise.
- No bake peanut butter balls: If you're a peanut butter fan (or almond butter), try replacing the avocado with an equal amount of peanut butter. We love this version almost as much as the original recipe. You'll get a deliciously different flavor profile that might just become your new favorite!
- High protein snack balls: Add a scoop of your favorite protein powder to make protein bites and up the nutrition in this recipe. This is a great trick for picky eaters or if you want a more filling snack for those busy days. I make a batch of this no bake protein balls on busy weeks (with chocolate protein powder) when I need a quick post-workout refuel.
- Oats and Seeds: For a bit of extra texture, try adding oats or other seeds of your choice to the mix. We love adding sunflower seeds or rolling these in toasted sesame seeds.
Remember, the kitchen is your playground. Feel free to experiment and make this recipe your own. Delcious recipes are the ones that are tweaked to perfection!
Room Temperature: This date ball recipe can be left out at room temperature in an airtight container. They stay good for about two days, and I love the convenience of just grabbing one whenever I walk by.
Fridge: If you're not devouring these as fast as my family does, the fridge is your friend. They firm up nicely and taste delicious cold. Plus, they last longer - up to a week. Just make sure to keep them in an airtight container, and you're golden!
Freezer: If you're making these date balls in batches (which I highly recommend), the freezer is a lifesaver. They'll last in there for up to three months. Yes, you read that right – three months of healthy, tasty snacks ready to go! Plus, they make for an unexpectedly delightful cold treat. I sometimes pretend they're mini ice-cream balls.
Top tip: Remember, the best way to store your date balls recipe depends on how quickly you plan to eat them and what texture you prefer. But whether at room temperature, chilled, or frozen, these date balls are always a hit in my household!
Yes, bliss balls made with nutritious ingredients, like our no-bake bliss balls, can indeed be a healthy snack option. Our recipe is packed with a blend of healthy fats, fiber, and protein from ingredients like walnuts, avocados, and hemp seeds. They're naturally sweetened with medjool dates, avoiding the need for refined sugars. However, like with any food, they should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
If you don't have dates or prefer not to use them, you have a few options. Raisins or dried figs could work as they also provide natural sweetness and stickiness, similar to dates. However, keep in mind that the flavor profile will change based on the dried fruit you use. It's also worth noting that dates are particularly rich in fiber and nutrients, which contribute to the health benefits of this snack.
The shelf-life of these date balls will depend on how you choose to store them. At room temperature in an airtight container, they can last for up to 2 days. If you keep them in the refrigerator, they can stay fresh for up to a week. However, for a longer shelf life, you can store these energy bites in the freezer where they'll last for up to 3 months. Plus, they make a delightfully chilled treat straight out of the freezer!
🥣Make this next…
I hope you loved this easy bliss ball recipe much as we do! If you are looking for more healthy snacks and treats be sure to check out these:
Until then, tchau
15-Minute Vegan Energy Balls
- Food processor
- 1 cup walnuts
- 5 medjool dates pitted
- ½ avocado
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (plus 1 cup for rolling)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Into a food processor add in all the ingredients and process until a dough forms.
- Remove the blade and then with a spoon scoop out about 2 tbs of the dough and roll it between your hands to form into a ball.
- Place 1 cup of the cocoa powder into a shallow bowl or plate and roll each ball in the powder until it is coated. Then roll again and place on a clean plate. Once all the dough is rolled you can eat them right away or place in a airtight container in the fridge or freezer
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- cott, T. M., Rasmussen, H. M., Chen, O., & Johnson, E. J. (2017). Avocado Consumption Increases Macular Pigment Density in Older Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 9(9), 919.
- Al-Farsi, M. A., & Lee, C. Y. (2008). Nutritional and functional properties of dates: a review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 48(10), 877-87.
- Dreher, M. L., & Davenport, A. J. (2013). Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 53(7), 738-50.
- Cryan, J. F., O'Riordan, K. J., Cowan, C. S., Sandhu, K. V., Bastiaanssen, T. F., Boehme, M., ... & Peterson, V. L. (2019). The microbiota-gut-brain axis. Physiological Reviews, 99(4), 1877-2013. doi:10.1152/physrev.00018.2018.
- González-Castejón, M., Rodriguez-Casado, A. (2011). Dietary phytochemicals and their potential effects on obesity: A review. Pharmacological Research, 64(5), 438-455.
- Vinson, J. A., Zubik, L., Bose, P., Samman, N., Proch, J. (2005). Dried fruits: Excellent in vitro and in vivo antioxidants. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 24(1), 44-50.
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