Recipe: $4.52 | Per Serving: $0.30 | Yields: 15 | Jump to Recipe
Lemon Larabar bites! Lemon energy balls! Lemon energy bites! Whatever you call them, they’re lemon-flavored date & nut bites that are super duper delicious. This recipe may seem a little redundant, since we have billions of energy bites on the Internet, but these little babies are tweaked to be: lower in sugar, higher in protein (without a powder), and just as simple.
Let’s take a quick second to talk about bars. Most bars have way too many ingredients, and I really appreciate that Larabars have just a few ingredients (3-6). But even with fewer ingredients, they tend to have an insane amount of sugar, and just 1-3 grams of protein. I think a Larabar is a great transition away from candy, and a much better choice than most “convenience” foods, but at 27 grams of carbohydrates, and 17 of them being sugar, it’s not ideal. Dates have a super high sugar-to-fiber ratio, meaning they can absolutely spike your blood sugar!
This is just my little PSA to say: look at ingredients and look at sugar! I love the Blueberry Muffin Larabars, but I try to use them as emergency convenience items, or as a component of a snack that already contains plenty of fat, protein, and fiber. When we spent the day in NYC on Whole30, we had Larabars and Chomps sticks and snap peas to snack on, but you’d better believe that if I’m making energy bites myself, I’m going to tweak them!
Also, quick side note: thanks for being here! I chose to take a little hiatus from the regular blogging since I was packed to the max with finishing my master’s and doing my clinical internship and working full time and marathon training – something had to take a back burner! But I’m back and I have SO MANY recipes to share! :)
Anyway, as I mentioned, my version of these energy balls is lower in sugar and higher in protein and fat. This is how I did it: Most recipes call for a 1:1 ratio between dates and nuts. I altered that to 1:2, to ensure the sugar of the dates is kept in check by the fat and protein in the nuts. To compensate for the altered sweetness, I used a splash of vanilla extract as well. I also added hemp seeds for more fat and protein, and then added lots of lemon juice and zest to make sure there was plenty of flavor. The results are AMAZING!
I prefer to have these as little balls that I can store in the freezer and just pop in my lunch box, but you can easily make them into bars or squares. If you have kids, you can even roll them out into a flat sheet and cut out shapes! (TBH, this sounds kind of fun for adults too.) And yes – these are technically WHOLE30 if you skip the vanilla extract – but use sparingly if you’re doing a Whole30 and trying to beat sugar because these will certainly satisfy your sweet tooth. Feel free to experiment with different flavors and tag @frugalnutrition on Instagram when you do!
These delightful lemon bites pack about 3 grams of protein each, with under 5 grams of sugar. These lower-sugar, higher-protein bites are a well-balanced sweet treat with plenty of healthy fats!
- 1/2 cup dates (pits removed)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. I like mine more textured, so I blend and scrape until the dough sticks together, but while there are still chunks of nuts!
- Scoop into approximately 1 Tablespoon-sized chunks. Roll between your two palms until balls are formed and store in refrigerator or freezer. Optionally: you can top each with lemon zest or roll the balls in more hemp seeds.
I usually store these babies in the freezer since they don’t freeze solid so I can pop one out and eat it anytime, but they usually end up in my bento boxes for lunch!
Feel free to experiment with different nuts and flavors. Tag me on instagram @frugalnutrition or hashtag #frugalnutrition if you try a different combination – I’d love to see it! :)
- Category: Snack, Dessert
Nutrition Label: based on 15 bites per recipe