Dr. Axe > Recipes > Gluten-Free

Energy Balls: Your Afternoon Pick-Me-Up!

Energy balls recipe - Dr. Axe


  • ¼ cup cacao nibs
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted and then cooled
  • 8–10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ cup sunflower butter
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Place the cacao nibs and shredded coconut into a food processor and pulse until well-combined.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients into the food processor and blend until well-combined.
  3. Roll the mixture into 12 balls (approximately 1 inch in diameter).
  4. Roll the balls individually in cacao nibs, shredded coconut or hemp seeds and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Cover and chill for an hour or freeze up to 2½ weeks.

Snacks should be easy — a mid-day nibble to get you through to dinnertime or a little post-workout boost. But if you’ve ever attempted to find the right snack, you know how difficult it can be. So many snacks are packed with sugar, unhealthy oils and ingredients you’ve never heard of. At least that used to be the case until these energy balls came onto the scene. This is the snack you’ve been waiting for!

Energy balls ingredients - Dr. Axe

Energy Balls — The Perfect Healthy Snack?

What makes energy balls the perfect healthy snack? Quite a few things! They’re portable, making them easy to carry along for a food fix on the go. They use minimal ingredients; you likely have everything you need to make these energy balls in your pantry already. Oh and did I mention they taste great?

Energy balls recipe - Dr. Axe

These easy-to-make energy balls are also vegan-friendly, are naturally gluten-free and have no refined sugar. They require no baking or crazy kitchen tools, so they’re excellent for getting kids in the kitchen. Yep, they are the perfect healthy snack!

Energy Balls Nutrition Facts

One energy ball contains approximately: (1)(2)

  • 190 calories
  • 15 carbs
  • 13.2 grams fat
  • 5 grams protein
  • 73.4 miligrams sodium
  • 12 grams sugar
  • 183 milligrams potassium (5 percent DV)
  • 5.4 grams fiber (22 percent DV)
  • 30 milligrams calcium (3 percent DV)
  • 4.9 milligrams iron (22 percent DV)
  • 0.6 milligrams vitamin C (1 percent DV)

The ingredients in these energy balls are packed with health benefits of their own:

Cacao nibs are a superfood that have been used for thousands of years to increase energy. They’re full of fiber, so you’ll feel full longer after eating these energy balls, and are useful in helping you stay regular. Because cacao nibs are a good source of iron as well, they can help prevent anemia.

Sunflower butter is a great alternative to nut butters. It’s high in protein, so your muscles will particularly enjoy it after a session at the gym. It’s also full of healthy fats to keep your skin looking good.

Medjool dates sweeten these energy balls the all-natural way. These dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, and they’re one of my favorite ways to add a sweet flavor to recipes. They’re also a natural energy booster and can help decrease cholesterol. Not too shabby!

Energy balls step 1 - Dr. Axe

How to Make Energy Balls

What’s best about these energy balls is just how simple they are to make.

Energy balls step 2 - Dr. Axe

Start by placing the cacao nibs and the shredded coconut into a food processor. Pulse until well-combined.

Energy balls step 3 - Dr. Axe

Next, place the remaining ingredients in the food processor.

Energy balls step 4 - Dr. Axe

Blend them up until well-combined.

Energy balls step 5 - Dr. Axe

Roll the mixture into 12 balls (approximately 1 inch in diameter).

Energy balls step 6 - Dr. Axe

Roll the balls individually in cacao nibs, shredded coconut or hemp seeds.

Energy balls step 7 - Dr. Axe

…then place on a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper.

Cover the baking sheet and let chill for an hour in the refrigerator before eating, or freeze up to 2½ weeks.

Energy balls final - Dr. Axe



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  1. Sarah Spriggs on

    These are AMAZING! I made these and I eat them when ever I am craving chocolate or a quick “pick me up” after a long run.

  2. Lee on

    A Print button would be nice unless I just can’t find it. I copied and paste but just hitting the print is so easy.

      • Marlene on

        Wow, nasty! What you will find on many websites with articles or recipes like this, they will have a “print” button that will eliminate all the advertising & unnecessary stuff, and get right down to printing only the part that you want instead of having to manually copy & paste into a new document. It’s nice for us Morons to be able to have this shortcut!

    • Tina Blake on

      When I want a recipe, I only want one picture, the actual recipe, and nutritional info if it is available. Many recipe sites offer a print button that offers ONLY that without having to spend time sifting through the rest of the article for what info I require, and perhaps having the recipe split in half, and having to print a small booklet when it could be on one single page.
      I am sure that there are some of your readers that are capable of doing this on their own with ease, but I am not computer savvy enough to do so.
      If I have to do all of that extra work, it just ticks me off, because I don’t have time to piss around with all of that!
      You make it easy to pin it, post it, tweet it and many others things because that involves ‘advertisement’. (not that that is bad, I realize you need to do that to keep your business front and center)
      Why not make it easy for those of us that just want to make the recipe, but don’t care about your online ‘presence’?

      • Kevin on

        On your keyboard, hold down Ctrl and press P
        When the print options appear, choose only the pages you want to print. (i.e: 9-12)
        Hope this helps. :)

  3. Kim S. on

    The Mayo Clinic recommends a maximum intake of 1.5 grams of sodium for an entire day for women over 50. One ball has that much sodium! Not good for people with high blood pressure.

    • BrianG on

      Typical salt without any minerals (i.e. Morton salt) should be limited- yes. But quality sea-salt with it’s dozens of essential minerals is quite a different story. Mayo’s blanket statement saying ‘salt’ will scare many from enjoying a full flavored and healthy life.

      Jesus words on ‘real salt’; Mark 9:50 “Salt is good…”, Luke 14:34 “Therefore, salt is good…”

      Morton separated the minerals (to sell) from sea salt and sold it to the public as a salt that ‘Flows like rain’ instead of clumping like sea salt can.

      one last thought- Salt deprivation was a common form of torture in centuries past.

      Keep thinking for yourself, and God bless!

      • Marlene on

        I agree Brian! If our Creator says it’s good for us, it is. Even used in an illustrative way: “Let your words always be gracious, seasoned with salt…” (Col 4:6) – our speech is made more palatable, pleasant, easier to take when “salted”. Meats used to be preserved with salt. Now there are nitrates & nitrites. Seems like greedy men have always found ways to “improve on” what is natural & healthy. Yes, REFINED salt is bad for you. My father, despite being on a low sodium diet AND diuretics for a long time, still has to take his meds to control his blood pressure. What’s going on there? What he needs is a healthy diet which includes beneficial natural sea salt!

      • Karen on

        Good on you, Brian! KUDOS! Finally someone has something nice to say, & also constructive. Please know that it matters. Thank you.

    • PJ on

      I agree I have 7 siblings with high blood pressure and no matter what clinic or doctor tells them about sodium they refuse to count their daily sodium as I do.
      I am the only one without high blood pressure and due to two generations of high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke I really don’t care what anyone else says I keep my daily sodium count around 1500 mg per day.
      My dad had heart attack and stroke and my mom had a pace maker for a slow heart and congestive heart failure and the family refused to keep her sodium level low so many ICU stays for several years.
      I have a brother who has had a heart attack and open heart surgery with stints and his attitude toward sodium is if I can’t enjoy salt in my food what is the point of living.
      People should do their own research and yes check each major heart clinic to see what they recommend. My mom stayed out of the hospital and no swelling in her body and had easier breathing and energy to even work in her flowers as long as she was on 500mg of sodium a day.
      Her problem was her own children, when I wasn’t around monitering her salt intake my family members brought fastfood or cooked salty food for their own taste which ended up hurting her. She always ended up in ICU after their visits. They never did and still do not believe in keeping a daily count of how much sodium they take in daily and all 7 take high blood pressure medication and they say taking that medication allows them to eat sodium. I know many people with the same attitude and it seems they are on all the medical boards disagreeing with anyone who says we should lower our sodium.

      • PJ on

        My comment was made under Kim’s comment not Brian’s comment as I was agreeing with her comment.
        Do your own research with as many studies and clinics and heart doctors as you can find. One opinion is not enough.

  4. sally brown on

    Kim. Is the Mayo Clinic the final word on salt? And as you said it is what they RECOMMEND. Do you have any research on this at all?

  5. Thalia on

    A little goes a long way… diabetics can add ground flax seeds or chia seeds to the recipe to increase the amount of fiber. Fiber slows down the rate at which sugar enters the blood stream. Definitely a healthy snack for diabetics as well I’ll say!!!

  6. Connie on

    I made these using organic almond butter instead of sunflower butter… and added 1 teaspoon pure organic vanilla extract to the mix. Yum!

  7. Craig on

    Instead of dates, would figs be ok ? What are the dietary changes that would result from use of figs instead of dates ? Thanks Dr. Axe !


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