The Healthy Energy Balls I Make For My Toddler

I have been making energy balls for over ten years. Not only are there so many ways you can make them, they are also so versatile – enjoy one before a workout, to satisfy your sweet tooth, or take them on-the-go. Now I keep them on hand because my toddler loves them too. He calls them his “cookie balls” and asks for one every day after lunch. Whenever I can give my child something nutritious while disguising it as dessert, I call that a win.

What are the ingredients in energy balls?

Energy balls are typically made up of a base of nuts/seeds and dates. Sometimes they contain oats, but I prefer mine to be grain-free. I have even made a healthier cookie dough version with chickpeas. Adding a creamy nut butter and coconut oil will create the sticky dough that you can roll into balls of desired shapes and sizes. For this recipe, you will need four ingredients:

  • 1 cup of nuts (I use walnuts or pecans)
  • 14 large Medjool dates
  • Nut or seed butter (I use almond butter)
  • Melted coconut oil

I primarily make these for my toddler (although I eat them too), so I kept the list of ingredients on the minimal side.

How do you make energy balls?

You will need a food processor to make energy balls. I always suggest grinding the nuts first without any other ingredients in the food processor. This initial step will create a coarse nut “meal” that acts as the base for your energy balls. Then I add the pitted dates and almond butter. While processing, I will slowly add the melted coconut oil a tablespoon at a time until a sticky dough is formed. Sometimes I need to add an extra tablespoon if the mixture is too dry, so use your best judgement. The variable in this context is the nut butter. Your nut butter could be less creamy; you could have scooped out more of the oil so you will need less of the coconut oil. It all just depends.

How much sugar is in an energy ball?

One Medjool date has 16 grams of sugar, or 4 teaspoons. This might sound like a lot, but hear me out. The way that I see it, dates are a food found in nature; they contain vitamins, minerals, and just as importantly, fiber, which helps to slow down any blood sugar response. While I don’t think you should sit there and eat a large handful of dates, I probably eat one a day. I have a pretty strong sweet tooth, and satisfying a sugar craving with a juicy Medjool date paired with nut butter and chocolate is one of my favorite treats. I also love to incorporate them into my Healthified desserts as either the primary sweetener, or so that I can cut back on any of the added sweeteners.

This energy ball recipe yields about 18 to 20 servings, depending on the size of each one. One ball will have about 12 grams of sugar. But because they also contain other nutrient-dense ingredients (and have a lot of fiber and healthy fat), eating one is better for your blood sugar than if you were to eat a traditional cookie with an equal amount of sugar.

Planning and prep

These energy balls take no time to make. The most laborious part of the process is rolling the dough into about 20 balls, but if you are mindful about it, it almost feels therapeutic. You are working with your hands after all. After the rolling stage, the balls will still be very soft. You can eat them right away, but I much prefer them chilled in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Easy Healthy Energy Balls

With only four ingredients, these energy balls are basic but delicious. They make a great snack for adults and children. Enjoy them before a workout, satisfy your sweet tooth, or take them on-the-go.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 18 servings


  • Food processor


  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 14 Medjool dates pitted
  • 1/3 cup almond butter or nut or seed butter of choice
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil


  • In a food processor, chop the nuts until the consistency of course sand. Add the pitted dates and almond butter and process again.
  • While the food processor is blending, add the melted coconut oil a tablespoon at a time until a sticky dough is formed. The dough should stick together if you squeeze it. If it is too dry, add more melted coconut oil a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  • Roll the dough into balls of desired shape and size (I suggest about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of dough for each one). Place them in a Pyrex baking dish, on a plate or cutting board and allow them to chill in the fridge until more firm, about 2 hours.


Storage: Keep energy balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month. They can be frozen for up to one year. 
Keyword Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo, Raw, Soy-free, Vegan