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Protein Energy Bites - nut-free, gluten-free, vegan adaptable

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Nut-free protein bites

As some of you know, I'm on a constant quest to come up with a high-protein energy snack for my running-obsessed son with a nut allergy. I have posted many versions of granola bars, but I recently was digging around for something that had fewer ingredients and was no-cook, but very portable. So after looking at a bunch of recipes and playing around with things, here is what I came up with. Now, because we don't have a gluten allergy or a dairy allergy and we aren't vegan, we didn't follow rules to meet those restrictions, but you can certainly make your own adjustments to meet your dietary restrictions. And if you don't have a nut allergy and prefer another nut butter, by all means experiment. I think these would be especially good with almond butter, but peanut or cashew would be good too!

I want to caveat this with the fact that they are not low in sugar. It's natural sugar from dates that's doing the work here, but if you have to restrict sugar completely, this may not be the recipe for you.

But I will tell you this, these have been universally loved. Really. Friends of my kids (even picky eaters!) have loved them. They are great to keep in the freezer and have on hand, and throw a couple in the lunch box or gym bag. And I love them because to me they taste like cookie dough and yet they are under 100 calories each and more satisfying. YAY.Ingredients for nut-free protein bites

Here's all there is to it:


1 1/2 cups packed, pitted Medjool dates (see note below)

1/2 cup soybutter (or nut butter they don't have to be nut-free)

1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal 

1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder (I use Garden of Eden Raw Vanilla - from Whole Foods)

1/2 cup or so semisweet chocolate chips (mini is best but as you can see this batch used regular)

Nut-free protein bites

In the bowl of a food processor, blend the dates until they are well chopped and form a paste. This can take a bit of work but keep moving the ball of dates around until it gets chopped up. 

Add the oatmeal, soy or nut butter and the protein powder. If you don't have protein powder, use 2 T more oats and add a half teaspoon of vanilla.

Blend until well combined and it forms a dough. 

Place the mixture into a bowl and add the chocolate chips. Knead until it is a uniform consistency.

Using a 1 tablespoon scoop (I love the little mini ice cream scoop kind) and scoop out balls of the dough, rolling them in your hands until they are a uniform size. 

Place the balls on a cookie sheet and freeze for 20-30 minutes to firm up.

Store in a zip top bag in the freezer (I think they would last at least a month or two - but ours don't last long enough to find out).

Note: You don't have to use Medjool dates but they are the best. If the dates are dry - soak them in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes first, then drain the water.

High protein energy bites - nut free, gluten free, vegan

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