Nut-Free Cacao Energy Bites

Nut-Free-Cacao-Energy-Bites |

I love just about any energy balls, bites, or snacks!  They are the easiest thing to whip up and store for the week ahead.  After I made the coconut macaroon energy balls a few weeks ago for the Giants game, I had a friend ask if I could also make a chocolate version that was nut-free.  I usually make cacao bites with almonds but I branched out this week and instead experimented with sunflower seeds and they turned out to be absolutely delicious!  You would never know that these bites are nut-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free!  The combination of rich, chocolaty cacao, blended with sweet dates, and a slight nutty bite from the sunflower seeds really has the winning combination for satisfying any sweet tooth!  I’m pretty addicted to these bites and as I ‘try’ to make them last throughout the week, my friends, family and myself always devourer them within a few days!  They are also the best snack to take with you on a plane or when traveling, as they are packed with plant-protein, fiber and vitamins to keep you energized and full!  I love to pack these along with my apricot bars to avoid any sudden gas station food snack cravings.

What makes these bites extra addicting is the rich cacao powder.  Raw cacao is different than the widely known cocoa powder, which is refined.  Raw cacao powder is unrefined, meaning that it retains all of its natural vitamins and minerals that are lost or destroyed when producing cocoa.  Raw cacao powder is the best substitute as it tastes just the same but has a host of nutritional benefits!  Cacao has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants found in any food in the world, more than blueberries or acai!   Antioxidants boost our immune system and combat free radicals that damage our cells, ones that lead to various diseases and cancers.  It is also packed with magnesium, helping to build and sustain strong bones and teeth.  Magnesium enables protein and energy production.  This is why I love popping them in when I’m having an energy low as they are filled with the right vitamins to fuel you during a midday slump.  I hope you get to enjoy this snack, as they really are a healthy energy bite disguised as delicious chocolate truffles!

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Serves: 13

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients for the Nut-Free Cacao Energy Bites:

- 1 1/3 cups sunflower seeds

- 1 cup medjool dates

- 1 tablespoon coconut oil

- 1 ½ tablespoons chia seeds

- 1 ½ tablespoons raw cacao powder

- 1 ½ tablespoons ground flax seed

- 2 tablespoons water

- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

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Start by blending the sunflower seeds into a fine powder in the food processor for 1 - 2 minutes.  Then add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend for about 2 minutes until all the ingredients are sticking together.  Add another splash of water if needed.  Feel free to adjust and add more dates if you would like it sweeter.  Simply roll into small balls and store in the freezer or refrigerator for up to a few weeks.  Enjoy!