Recipe: Energy Bites, Two Ways

Quite a while ago, I poo-pooed the idea of energy bites as a fad, said that they didn’t appeal to me at all, vowed to never make them. Embarrassingly, I’m now going back on that. Turns out that, yes they may be a bit of a fad, but I actually quite like them, and made them on a number of occasions during exam season.

 photo Energy Bites 5_zpswagmdahi.jpg photo Energy Bites 10_zpsxc7ohzvo.jpgI’m the kind of person that doesn’t really have a huge sweet tooth, until around 9pm at night. Whether I’m watching TV, reading or studying, at that point I like a little pick-me-up. And trust me, I get super hangry without it! If I’m at home, a small instant hot chocolate does the trick without inducing guilty feelings, but when I’m in the library? I need snacks and I need them quickly.

Right at the start of exam season, I’m made the mistake of treating myself to ‘just one’ packet of half-covered hobnobs. Several packets later, skinny jeans starting to feel a little uncomfortable, enough was enough. I pulled out my favourite ‘healthy eating’ books, threw some bits into a blender, and discovered that energy bites weren’t as horrible as previously feared. I’ve now honed my recipe, and now is the time to share it…

 photo Energy Bites 4_zps0viehj6n.jpg photo Energy Bites 1_zpsmm3xn7gk.jpg photo Energy Bites 3_zpsuheif4ot.jpgIngredients

  • 75g ‘dry stuff’ – I use equal measures of oats, almonds (flaked as that’s what I tend to buy), hazelnuts, chia, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
  • 50-75g pitted dates, soaked in a little boiling water then drained
  • 50g nut butter
  • 2 teaspoons cacao powder, for chocolatey bites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon – for ‘plain nut bites’ (a drop of vanilla extract is also good!)

Blitz the dry stuff in a blender (I use the grind function on mine) until you have a coarse powder. Tip into a large bowl and stir through the cacao, if using. Blitz together the dates and nut butter, adding a little of the soaking liquid if the mix is too sticky to blend.

Personal preference – I like to leave a few good-sized chunks of date in there for a fruity hit (says the person who hates fruit!).

Tip the sticky mix into the bowl, then mix together with your hands. Trust me, a spoon does not work here! I find some actions similar to bread kneading works well to combine the ingredients. Roll tablespoons into balls, place on a lined baking tray, and chill in the fridge for a few hours, before transferring to a sealed container – keep in the fridge, though I prefer to bring them to room temperature before snacking!

 photo Energy Bites 7_zps1v1xampg.jpgThe chocolatey ones are (surprise surprise!) my absolute favourites. Super chocolatey, rich and squidgy, I’ve even warmed them until melty and eaten with a spoon for a real ‘treat’ without any of the guilt. I’m planning on making them infused with some orange next time, for a healthier take on a Terry’s Chocolate Orange…

Are you a fan of energy bites? What’s your go-to sweet snack?

Blogger Link Up: Simple Snacks for University

Continuing on my Link Up, today we have Olivia from Land of Soap writing about healthier snacks to take to university. Olivia is a medial student so I’m really interested to have her tips – I know my university lunches could really be improved!

 

Eating on Campus can get expensive and boring. At my uni the only thing remotely edible from out canteen is chips, but even that gets boring. Taking snacks is an option, hopefully this post will give you a few ideas of some healthier options.

Choose meals and snacks that emphasize protein over carbohydrate. Protein-rich meals and snacks keep your energy levels even. Sugary snacks will give you energy for a while, but they will eventually  drop causing you to feel sluggish.

Water
This is not a food, but it is still pretty important to stay well hydrated whilst studying. Drinking water can help you stay alert for a bit longer. Aim to carry a water bottle with you at all times.

Cereal Bars
They come in many different flavours so there must be one you might like. A plus side is you can stock up and not worry about them expiring soon. If you put a few in your bag, they will be ready when you need them.
 photo cerealbars_zps40fabd72.jpgIf you feel adventurous you can make your own cereal bars, I personally mix 1 cup raisins,1/4 cup  smooth peanut butter ,1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped, 1 1/2 cups rolled oats together with warm honey. I spread the mixture out to set in a shallow baking tray, and once it is set it can be cut into cereal bars.
Pros–  little to no preparation required
Cons-some varieties can be very high in sugar

Fruit and Veg
Grapes, strawberries, carrot sticks and cucumber slices make great finger sized snacks. Carry them in a small container, and you will have a noise-free snack for when you absolutely must eat in the library or a lecture. These fruits and veg  are mess free so, making them the ideal study partner.
Pros– ultra healthy
Cons– not suitable for really hot days, (warm cucumbers are the weirdest thing I have ever eaten)

Sandwiches
This is not the most interesting idea, but there is no denying the fact that they are filling.  Almost anything can be turned into sandwich fillings so do not be afraid to experiment. Add variety to your sandwiches by using tortilla wraps, pitta bread or hotdog buns.
Pros– Highly satisfying snack
Cons– Requires time to prepare

Nuts
Nuts are full of healthy fats but they can be calorific if you devour the whole bag! A reasonable amount is about 30 grams(a small handful). Nuts  provide vitamin E, calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as a significant source of protein and fibre. Throw some in a sandwich bag or a small lunch box to nibble on when you become peckish.
Pros– a protein source packed with minerals and Vitamin E
Cons– calorie dense making it easy to eat too much

Popcorn
Popcorn is a slightly healthier alternative to crisps. If you want you can  make your own in the microwave, but if your anything like me its probably easy to get a multipack bag. Popcorn contains more protein than any other cereal and more iron than eggs or spinach.
Pros– fun to eat
Cons-Thirst, I wonder why popcorn makes me thirsty.

Thanks Olivia for the interesting insight into portable foods for university – I’ve realised I’ve completely overlooked taking nuts, which is strange as its something I ate a lot at sixth form! I’ll definitely be looking at overhauling my lunches next year. 

What do you snack on during the day?