Despite an obesity epidemic in this country, many toddlers and children are underweight. These nut-packed Energy Balls help a child gain weight in a healthful way.
Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post
1 cup peanut butter, sunflower butter or almond butter
1 cup raw or regular honey (start with less if regular honey and add more if needed)
3 cups rolled oats
½ cup ground chia seed or flaxseed
1 cup mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs
1 cup any combination of nuts, seeds and soft dried fruit, such as sunflower seeds, raisins and dried cranberries
Sweetened shredded coconut, for rolling (optional)
Combine the butter and honey in a large mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Gradually add the oats and chia seed or flaxseed. Add the cacao nibs or chocolate chips and the nut-seed-fruit mixture, and mix gently to combine.
Use your hands to roll the mixture into balls about the size of ping-pong balls. If desired, roll them in shredded coconut. Place the balls in paper mini-muffin cups. At this point, you can eat them, but they'll be less sticky after a night in the refrigerator. Layer the balls in an airtight container, using wax paper to separate the layers, and refrigerate for 7-10 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Makes 40 balls.
Cook's note: The balls can be eaten right away, but their texture improves after several hours in the refrigerator.
Nutrition values per ball (using equal amounts of sunflower seeds, raisins and dried cranberries): 130 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated), 18 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein, 0 cholesterol, 0 sodium.
Adapted from a recipe by Casey Seidenberg, co-founder of Nourish Schools, a nutrition education company in the District of Columbia
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