No-Bake Energy Bites

By Ann Fulton

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Chewy granola bar meets cookie batter in these easy-to-make bites, which include whole oats and a whopping half cup of heart-healthy flax meal. 


In a bold moment a few years back, I decided to give up ice cream for Lent. It was a test of sorts, as I seriously wondered if I had the discipline to stick it out. It was a major challenge, but I did it—and afterwards went right back to my routine of a nightly bowl, generously scooped.

For this very reason, I decided to ditch food-related resolutions and instead focus on various other shortcomings. Deep down, I know that changes in diet (and exercise, for that matter) should be lifelong changes, not short-term modifications.

So while some are currently feeling guilty about failed New Year’s resolutions and others are fretting over six more weeks of Lent, I thought a few words of wisdom from an expert might help.

I first met Sally Meints while taking a tour of Bright Side Opportunity Center* last year. I was on a mission completely unrelated to food and, when introduced to the wellness director, I realized that I knew her from somewhere. Turns out that Sally and her company, Nutrifreak, had been featured in the Wednesday food section several months prior.

As a certified nutrition specialist and personal trainer, Sally champions a clean-eating lifestyle, which means eating unprocessed foods or foods in their most natural state. Her goal is to help people resist the lure of fad diets, processed foods, and products promising quick weight loss and learn to eat real food instead.

Since small changes are often easier to implement and stick with, I asked Sally for her top tips for shedding pounds and improving health. And while green smoothies may be really good for us, I wanted suggestions that most people could realistically implement and that seemed reasonable to continue over the long haul. (See sidebar for Sally’s Four Favorite Tips.)

Sally also offered a quick recipe for portion-controlled granola bites that satisfy a sweet craving and make a perfect pre-workout fuel. I, for one, am frequently guilty of wanting “just a bite” of something sweet, and my kids love the store-bought chewy granola bars. So we seemed like ideal testers for Sally’s bite-size treats. These wholesome snacks are easy to make and loaded with protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. And while naturally sweetened with honey, there are just enough chocolate chips to satisfy a penchant for chocolate.

Chewy granola bar meets cookie batter in these easy-to-make bites, which include whole oats and a whopping half cup of heart-healthy flax meal. 
No-Bake Energy Bites (healthy yet taste a lot like cookie dough!)
We think these taste like a cross between a chewy granola bar and cookie batter while managing to include a whopping half cup of heart-healthy flax meal. If you store your peanut butter in the fridge, it will be easier to mix if allowed to come to room temperature first.

Yield: 26-28 balls
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (90 grams)
  • ½ cup ground flax meal (50 grams)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (85 grams)
  • ½ cup peanut butter (130 grams)
  • ⅓ cup honey (110 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (5 milliliters)
  1. Mix the dry ingredients (the oats, flax meal, and chips) in a small- to medium-size bowl. In a larger bowl, combine the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until thoroughly incorporated.  For easier rolling, place the mixture in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. (You may roll them right away, but they will tend to stick to your hands at this point. If you refrigerate much longer than that, the mixture will be firmer than ideal for easy rolling.)
  2. Roll into bite-sized balls and place them on a cookie sheet.  (I line the baking sheet with wax paper—could use parchment or foil—for easy cleanup, but this isn’t critical as the bites won’t stick to the sheet.) If you have a melon baller or a mini ice cream scoop, it works very well for quickly portioning out consistent amounts of batter.
  3. Storage: Stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, the bites will maintain for a week or two. They freeze well too.
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Sally’s Four Favorite Tips:

1. Don’t give up carbs, but do eat the best carbs available. WHY?

  • For example, try brown rice for a less refined alternative to white rice. Brown rice also has more fiber and minerals.
  • A nutritious whole grain, quinoa is also a complete protein that is naturally high in magnesium and iron.
  • Other grains to try include millet, farro, amaranth, and sorghum.

2. Replace soda and sugary beverages with seltzer water with a splash of pomegranate juice or real fruit. WHY?

  • Seltzer water is simply carbonated water. It contains no calories, no added sugar, or artificial sweeteners and is refreshing and inexpensive.
  • Soda and diet sodas are high in sugar or artificial sweeteners and studies have linked them to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, kidney damage, and heart disease.

3. For whole-body health, start your day with a glass of warm lemon water (try half a lemon squeezed into a large glass of water). WHY?

  •  Lemons are rich in vitamins, minerals and Vitamin C. They have been shown to boost the immune system, hydrate the lymph system, detox the liver, aid in digestion, balance pH levels, help with weight loss, and keep skin clear.

4. Whenever possible, ditch refined sugar. WHY?

  • Sugar increases the risk of chronic and preventable diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimers.

*Brightside Opportunity Center is an independent non-profit social service facility in Lancaster City which offers a variety of health, social service and educational programs.

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  1. Faith Post author

    We love these! I make them for our daughter when she goes to swim meets and wrap in baggies for each day. However, since we love coconut… we roll in unsweetened small flake coconut after we roll them.

  2. Bertie Brown

    I LOVE these little bites – I sometimes add cocoa powder if I don’t have choc chips, (yes, the instant sugary stuff), shredded coconut, chopped pecans or almonds, and have used crushed corn flakes in place of the flax…they are always yummy!

    1. Ann

      Hi Linda,
      If you eat wheat, you could use wheat germ. Otherwise, I might try oat flour. You could also grind regular or quick oats into flour. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Susan

    No need for honey, they are just as good. Honey just encourages you to eat more sugar and it is no healthier than sugar.

  4. Betsy A

    I make these all the time! I quadruple the recipe and make them in a bar pan so I don’t have to roll them. I chop up the dark chocolate chips so they are in smaller pieces which makes cutting the bars easier.

    1. Ann

      I love your idea of making them in bars, Betsy, and I should quadruple the recipe, too. One batch disappears far too quickly around here!

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  6. Gina N

    Made these this morning. So simple and absolutely delicious. Perfect snack for 2 very energetic little boys!

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  8. Gillian

    Hi Ann
    Thank you for the bit size treat however however could you recommend an alternative diabetic friendly sweetner honey spikes my blood sugar.


    1. Ann

      That’s a good question, Gillian. Honey provides the sweetness in these bites as well as the stickiness to bind them. My best suggestion would be brown rice syrup, which is slightly less sweet but actually has more “stickiness” than the honey does. Are you able to consume this?

  9. Carolyn

    Hi there- thanks for the great recipe – these are delicious! Would know the calore count for each one? Thanks so much.

    1. Ann

      I have not officially calculated the nutritional profile, Carolyn, but I would estimate they are about 65 calories per bite. I hope that helps and I’m so glad you like!