I find that keeping my intention of eating healthy can be most difficult at snack time. By the time I realize that I need a little something to tide me over until the next meal, I often seem to be in a healthy food options desert. Convenience stores have more options than ever before, but I find that the items are often more processed and more expensive than I would like.
In about 30 minutes, including clean up time, you can make a supply of healthy tropical fruit-filled energy nuggets. They will satisfy a sweet tooth while providing vitamins, fiber, protein, plant-derived fat and complex carbohydrates for staying energized. Make a batch of these sunny sweet-tart bites so you can tuck a few in your gym or lunch bag to avoid being tempted to dip into the office candy dish during the afternoon slump, or grab an expensive energy bar after your workout. Eaten right out of the freezer, they are super chewy like a dense caramel. For on-the-go snacking, they keep well at room temperature in a small container, but will have a softer texture with a bit of crunch. Either way, they are a satisfying treat. Sunshine Energy Bites 1 ½ cups raw almonds 4 oz dried mango (unsulphured if available) 5 dried pineapple rings (unsulphured if available) 3/4 cup unsweetened or lightly sweetened dried coconut flakes or shreds, plus extra for rolling if desired 1 cup pitted medjool dates (approximately 10-12) ½ cup uncooked oats 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 2-inch piece of vanilla bean 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil 1 tablespoon maca powder or your favorite protein powder (optional) 2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup (optional) Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until everything is chopped into small pieces and beginning to clump together. You want the mixture to have little bits of nuts for some crunch, so don’t over-process the mixture into a paste. Test a small spoonful of the mixture to see if it is sticky enough to roll into a ball. If it will not hold together, add a few more medjool dates, a bit of agave nectar, or maple syrup and pulse a few more times. If the mixture is too sticky, add a spoonful or more of oats and pulse a few more times. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into 1 inch balls then roll in shredded or flaked coconut if desired. Place them in a single layer on a plate or small baking sheet. Put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up so they won’t stick together in storage. Remove the energy bites from the freezer and pack into a closed container or resealable food storage bag. Store in the freezer and pull out one or more at a time as needed. Options: Instead of almonds, substitute raw walnuts, pecans or other nuts Instead mango or pineapple, substitute other dried fruit like apricots, apples, pears or figs Instead of coconut oil, substitute almond or cashew butter Instead of oats, substitute coconut flour Enjoy!