I teamed up with the California Walnuts to bring you these Banana Walnut Energy Bites! I’ve been compensated for my time. All opinions are mine alone.
Energy bites are still as popular as ever! It’s no wonder – what’s not to love about chewy, sweet energy bites made with wholesome ingredients you love? These Banana Walnut Energy Bites taste just like banana bread in bite-sized heart shapes, but they are packed with loads of nutrition to keep you full all morning long.
What are energy bites? Are energy bites good for you?
An energy bite is a small, quick snack in the shape of a ball, bar, heart, etc. that is easy to take on the go and pop into your mouth when you need a little boost of energy or something to tide you over until the next meal.
These little gems are nutrition-packed for a quick snack or recharge, and are perfect for a pre-workout boost of energy. They are dense in calories and nutrients, as the name suggests.
And yes! Energy bites are a nutritious snack. But keep in mind that because they are so nutrient dense, only eat one or two at a time.
Walnuts are a great ingredient for energy bites due to their good fats (2.5g/oz monounsaturated fat and 13g/oz polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5g/oz omega-3 ALA), protein (4g/oz), and other nutrients. The banana provides potassium (487mg/ea), and vitamins B6 (0.5mg/ea) and C (12mg/ea). Bananas, walnuts, oats, and flax seed also contribute dietary fiber (bananas 3.5g/ea, walnuts 2g/oz, oats 4g/half cup serving, flax seed 4g/2Tbsp). That dietary fiber coupled with the good fats from the walnuts and flax seed (1g monounsaturated fat and 3.5g polyunsaturated fat per 2 tablespoons), are a nutritious recipe for long-lasting energy without a huge blood sugar spike and crash.
Dates and bananas are on low glycemic foods due to the amount of pectin and fiber in both, so they are a great combo when making energy bites. The honey or maple sugar adds a quicker source of energy from the natural sugars (17g per tablespoon).
How do you make walnut energy bites?
- Start by grinding walnuts. You’ll reserve half in a more roughly chopped state; you add them back later for texture. Finely grind the rest with oats, flax seed, and spices.
- Next, pulse the dates with the vanilla and maple syrup or honey until smooth. Add the banana and process until smooth.
- Now add the oat and walnut mixture until well incorporated. Finally, add in the reserved walnuts (not so finely ground) and pulse until just incorporated.
- You’re ready to make energy bites! If the dough is too sticky or hard to work with, you can refrigerate it until chilled. Then, use a scoop or your hands to form the bites (or push into cookie cutters to replicate this fantastic heart shape!)
How do you make oatmeal energy bites?
You can make energy bites with oatmeal in several ways, regular rolled oats, or ground. You can even use oat flour, if desired. Oat groats are the whole version of the oats before they are steamed and rolled into the flakes we see more commonly. Steel cut oats aren’t a great replacement for rolled oats in energy bites because they remain hard.
It’s easy to grind rolled oats in a blender or food processor. They will yield a smoother texture. If preferred, the oats can be lightly ground or left whole for more texture.
How do you make no bake energy balls?
Most energy balls are no-bake. They are more like eating a ball of raw cookie dough.
In order for the ingredients to stick together, it’s important to include ingredients that will create a smooth, pliable “dough” rather than something that crumbles.
The ingredients in this recipe that are good for no-bake energy balls are: dates, ground flax seed, mashed banana, and honey. Other recipes may include nut butter, chia seeds, protein powder, etc. The dates and maple syrup are sticky, the banana contains pectin, and the flax seed forms a gel when combined with a liquid.
Energy Bites That Are Good For Your Heart
February is Heart Month and a great time to remember the importance of eating heart-healthy1 foods. The walnuts and oats in this energy bites recipe are great choices for heart health. Walnuts contain both dietary fiber (2g/oz) and essential omega-3 fats (2.5g ALA/oz). Oats offer beneficial soluble fiber (2g per half cup) that may help lower blood cholesterol when eaten as part of a heart-healthy diet.2
1Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of walnuts, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3.
2Three grams of soluble fiber from oatmeal daily as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Banana Walnut Energy Bites
- 1 1/2 cups California walnuts divided
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 4 tablespoons flax seed ground
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 cup soft pitted Medjool dates (about 8-10 large)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup ripe banana about 1 large or 1 1/2 medium
- Place walnuts into the bowl of a 7- to 14-cup food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse a few times to roughly chop the walnuts. Remove 1/2 of the chopped walnuts and set aside.
- To the food processor, add the rolled oats, ground flax seed, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pulse until the oats and the walnuts are very finely chopped. Transfer the oat and walnut mixture to a bowl.
- Place the pitted dates, maple syrup, and vanilla into the food processor. Pulse a few times, then turn on and allow to process until a thick, smooth paste forms. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add the banana and process again until well-combined.
- Add the oat and walnut mixture to the food processor. Process until everything is well-combined. Add the reserved chopped walnuts and pulse a few times to incorporate them.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl, making sure to scrape down the bottom of the food processor and the blade. Stir the mixture one more time to make sure everything is incorporated. The mixture will be a little sticky, but will set up a bit as it sits for a few minutes. The mixture can also be refrigerated at this point and will be easier to work with when cold.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Use a mini ice cream scoop to portion out the mixture in evenly sized balls. Use your hands or a small heart cookie cutter to form the mixture into bite-size heart-shaped energy bites.
- Store energy bites in the refrigerator, for up to 7-10 days, or freezer for several months, in an airtight container with wax paper between the layers so the energy bites don't stick together.