Whether you are going to a party, battling afternoon fatigue or dreaming of a before bedtime indulgence, sweets are what we crave. How can we cure our sweet tooth without added sugar? Real plant foods that are naturally sweet- like dates! These easy Oatmeal Date Balls are amazingly sweet without a bit of added sugar.
Just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes for a real food snack that will cure any sweet tooth! These Oatmeal Date Balls are reminiscent of sugary, chewy cookie dough and are sure to please kids and adults!
Every night… before bed… I want something sweet. It doesn’t matter whether I am hungry or not, my body clock tells me it’s “snack time.” As a mom, these few minutes without kids, dishes to wash or laundry to fold are precious, protected time. It’s fun to have something to look forward to at the end of my day… and one of these little balls with a cup of hot tea is just the thing!
For a while, these Carrot Cake Snack Balls were the family favorite- little bites of seemingly indulgent dessert, but with wholesome ingredients. But, these Oatmeal Date balls have stolen the show… for now.
The “rule” in our house is that if we want something sweet, we have to make it. With the exception of dark chocolate and a few foods here and there, we make foods to satisfy our cravings. This continues to be one of the best ways for our family to stay in control of our added sugar and teach our daughters how to enjoy sweets AND set boundaries with them. The approach encourages us to be intentional and thoughtful about the foods we are eating without restricting anything.
Dates are 1 type of 100% “natural” sugar that comes in a plant package. There is no bleaching, extracting, or processing. They are just real food. AND, they are also really sweet.
Rich in minerals and fiber, dates also add a nutrition boost to any recipe. Dates contain a specific type of soluble fiber, beta glucan, that research continues to affirm plays a positive role in insulin sensitivity, heart health and immune function. Even better, oatmeal also contains this type of fiber to compound the benefits you get from these yummy snack balls!
This recipe was originally created using deglet noor dates, but medjool, another common variety found in the United States, can be used as well. However, make sure to avoid packages of chopped dates, as these usually have a sugar coating. To be sure, simply read the ingredient list and make sure the only thing listed is dates.
If you have 5 minutes and a sweet tooth, try out these easy Oatmeal Date Balls. If you have little chefs in the making hanging around, invite them to help out and have fun rolling balls. And because everyone is going to adore these Oatmeal Date Balls, throwing extras in the freezer is a great way to manage portions and keep them out of site when it’s not snack time!
Oatmeal Date Balls
- 1 cup pitted dates deglet noor or medjool
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 5 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
Place dates in a microwave safe bowl along with 1 cup of water. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove dates from hot water and place in food processor (reserve date water- do not toss). Blend for 30-60 seconds, until dates are very small bits, almost pureed.
Add in oats and process for 30 seconds.
Add in vanilla, almond butter, salt and 2 tablespoons of the date water. Process for another 30-60 seconds. If needed, add 1-2 tablespoons of the date water and process until crumbly dough is formed.*
Remove dough from food processor, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough and roll into 12 balls.
*The medjool dates are more moist than the deglet noor and DID NOT need water added to form a crumbly dough, but when making this recipe with the deglet noor dates, I needed to add 1-2 tablespoons of the date water to bring dough together.
Dough can be pressed into a loaf pan and cut into small bars or squares instead of making balls.
Calories 96; Fat 4g; Saturated Fat 0.3g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 21mg; Potassium 65mg; Carbohydrate 14g; Fiber 2g; Sugar 9g (naturally occurring); Protein 3g
Real food fuel to cure your sweet cravings doesn’t much easier than that!
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