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These spooky energy balls are a healthy, kid-friendly treat

spooky energy bites final

Trick or treat? Both!

No-bake energy balls have been quite the rage for a while now. A super-packed super snack, if you will. They can be used as a make-ahead breakfast or a healthy snack for school, the office or a long flight, even an indulgent dessert that won’t derail your self-care plans. What’s not to love?

But every so often, something unique comes up: a holiday, a family get-together, an event at school or church. Maybe you’re asked to bring something, or maybe you just hope to find something of your own to bring that will give you at least one healthy treat to enjoy.

What I love most about these energy balls is how well they go together. The flavors all play off each other, so even if it’s not for a spooky celebration, you can always indulge in these sweet treats. But when you do, in fact, need a little something spooky that doesn’t have all the refined sugar in Halloween candy, I got you!

MORE: Overnight oats with nut butter, berries & bee pollen is a healthy on-the-go breakfast

Please keep in mind these can be adjusted really easily for dietary needs — another reason I love them. If you can’t do nuts, sub the nut butter for a seed butter and add coconut or pepita seeds to the mixture. Can’t do gluten? Just make sure you use gluten-free oats.

I also like to work harder, not smarter. So when I say chia seeds are optional, it’s because the gourmet nut and seed butters I use come packed with chia seeds. And the vegan fruit spread I have uses chia seeds instead of pectin. Hence, chia seeds are already loaded up and ready to go for me. But, again, you can always add them separately to the mix if you’re not using the same brands as I do.

Now, if you’re excited to trick your family into a superfood-loaded treat, but you’re not sure why these ingredients are the way to go, let me share a few reasons.

cacao energy bites ingredients

Chia seeds: These tiny, but mighty, seeds are a complete plant-based protein, as well as being high in fiber, omega-3s and antioxidants.

Hemp hearts (seeds): They contain an abundance of protein, fatty acids (necessary for muscle and joint repair), fiber, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

Flaxseed meal: While the seed form is hard to digest, the ground flaxseed is favorable for being “high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids,” as well as improving digestive health.

Spirulina: Sourced from a blue-green algae, spirulina is a great source of calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, beta-carotene and protein.

Goji berries: They contain healthy antioxidants (which are known for their immune-boosting qualities and their ability to fight harmful free radicals and inflammation), protein, fiber, 11 essential amino acids, and over 20 vitamins and minerals.

MORE:How to naturally sweeten food & recipes

Essentially, these sweet bites of heaven include enough plant-based protein and other nutrients to make your wellness goals a reality. And when you’re dealing with Halloween, a time of year where sugar, corn syrup and artificial flavoring is at an all-time high, you’ll be relieved to have something different to offer — even if it’s just for yourself.

The process for making the energy bites is super easy. Smarter, not harder, remember!

Spooky spider cacao energy balls

For the cacao balls, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup seed or nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate-covered goji berries
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 3/4 teaspoon spirulina
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

Start by putting dates and maple syrup into a food processor and blend until smooth. After that, add the remaining ingredients, except the cacao nibs and goji berries. Pulse again until fully incorporated and you have a slightly wet dough. Transfer into a bowl and stir in the cacao nibs and goji berries. Once the dough is ready, take a medium scoop and create as many balls as the dough allows (roughly 2 dozen). Because the chocolate date mixture is a little more wet, refrigerate for an hour or so if you can before rolling.

Peanut butter and jelly eyeball energy balls

peanut butter and jelly bites ingredients

For the peanut butter and jelly-inspired balls, you’ll need:

Peanut butter bites

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
  • 2/3 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Jelly bites

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dried strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
  • 2/3 cup wildberry jam
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Put the dry ingredients together in a bowl. You can leave them separate, into peanut butter balls and jelly balls, like I did. Or you can combine the flavors into one.

peanut butter and jelly bites mixed

Add the wet ingredients. Combine. You can use a spoon or spatula. I used a butter cutter because I wanted to keep the peanuts whole for a crunchy peanut butter texture. But really, it makes it a little harder for them to stay in the bites. I’d recommend crushing them up first. Don’t turn them to dust, but just take a rolling pin over the peanuts first and you should be good.

Follow the same process for the jelly bites.

How to make your energy balls spooky

Once the ingredients are combined and ready to be shaped, this is where you can have your own trick-or-treat fun.

And, regardless of what energy bites you’re making, here’s a tip for rolling the balls: I would use gloves (or just put your hand inside a Ziploc bag as a makeshift glove) so nothing sticks to your hands and the rolling is made easier.

As for the creations, minimal effort can create seriously spooky impact. For the spooky spider, I took a few brown pipe cleaners, cut them in half and then folded in half to create the legs. I created a little lip at the end of one side of the pipe cleaner, so it would sit under the bites. I also took a couple of eyeball candies to make the spider have eyes, just to make it a little spookier.

IMG 0844 (2)

For the peanut butter and jelly treats, I spread some of the wild berry jam on the plate to sort of resemble blood. If you keep the flavors separate, like I did, you can interchange them on the platter, too. Then I just added eyeball candies sporadically to the bites on the platter. They can have two eyes, five eyes, one falling off — doesn’t matter. Have fun with it!

peanut butter and jelly eyeball energy bites

If I was doing a whole trick-or-treat kind of spread on my table, I would probably place the spider bites next to another item to make it seem like the spider wanted to crawl on it or eat it. And if you want multiple spiders out of the bites, you can always cut the pipe cleaners shorter and just do a few bites on top of them.

Spooky energy balls

Yield 24 bites

Ingredients

Cacao energy balls

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup seed or nut butter 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate-covered goji berries
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cacao nibs 
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 3/4 teaspoon spirulina 
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

Peanut butter and jelly energy balls

Peanut butter balls

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
  • 2/3 cup nut butter 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan salt 

Jelly balls

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dried strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
  • 2/3 cup wildberry jam 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Instructions

Cacao energy bites

  • Put dates and maple syrup into food processor and blend until smooth. Add water, as needed, 1 teaspoon at a time (3 teaspoons max).  
  • Add seed or nut butter, cacao powder, hemp hearts, flaxseed meal, spirulina and salt. Pulse to fully incorporate.  
  • Place wet dough in a small bowl.
  • Stir in goji berries and cacao nibs.  
  • Use small scoop to create balls roughly the same size and roll into balls.
  • Refrigerate and enjoy!

Peanut butter and jelly energy bites

  • Mix dry jelly bites ingredients in a bowl and dry peanut butter bites ingredients in a separate bowl.
  • Add wet ingredients to each respective bowl and combine.
  • Use small scoop to create balls roughly the same size and roll into balls.
  • Refrigerate and enjoy!

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