One of the most asked question by every mother is- what do I give my kid during snack time?
Let’s face it. They are not going to want to eat fruits and veggies all the time. They want something that is sweet, crunchy or has loads of unwanted ingredients in them. And to top that, they are forever hungry. They skip meals and rely on snacks to keep them energized. This happens a lot in our home.
That’s why I like to have this toddler approved oatmeal energy balls in hand.
It is sweet, chewy, got some texture and contains all things that are good for you. Mom approved and every kid’s favorite. My picky eaters have no trouble eating 2 to 3 balls at a time.
It is no surprise that we love oatmeal here. It is such a versatile ingredients that can be made into a variety of healthy recipes. You can browse here for more oat recipes like – oatmeal bars, oatmeal muffins and oatmeal cookies.
What’s an energy ball ?
It is simply a healthy snack that’s shaped like a ball and contains ingredients like nuts, oatmeal, nut butters, natural sweeteners and other toppings/ adds-ons depending on your taste. Basically it’s an energy bar that’s shaped differently and made at home. The idea behind both is the same.
This oatmeal energy balls is packed with healthy ingredients like
- Peanut butter
- Chia seeds
All ingredients you can easily find in your pantry and best of all it can be easily customized as per your needs and your taste.
What makes these oatmeal energy balls so healthy?
Firstly it is homemade. Most store bought snacks or energy bars contain artificial sweeteners or preservatives etc. which is not something we want to feed our child. When we make it at home, we control what goes inside them and try and use healthier choices wherever possible.
Next it contains ingredients that are rich in protein and other nutrients which is essential for a growing baby.
Oatmeal helps meet your child’s fiber requirement. Kids need a lot of fiber to help maintain proper digestive and gut health. Fiber also helps them feel full for a longer time. It prevents constipation. They are one of the healthiest wholegrains and contain many essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Peanut butter :
Peanut butter is rich in protein, fat and essential nutrients. Most kids love peanut butter and if your kid is not allergic to it, adding peanut butter to a dish can make it not only healthy but also very tasty.
Almonds and walnuts :
Nuts in general are great for kids. They are a rich source of protein, calcium and potassium. They also contain a good amount of healthy fat and fiber. They also contain Omega 3 fatty acids which help in keeping your heart healthy. If your child is not allergic to nuts, they can make an excellent snack to give on a regular basis.
They are naturally sweet and a good source of Iron. Try using dates in place of sugar or other artificial flavors to make your dishes healthy and delicious.
Again another natural sweetener which is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.
Chia seeds :
Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. They are a great source of fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamins.
If this doesn’t convince you to make this, this will – Kids will love these balls. You can adjust the taste as per your child’s preference – make it more/ less sweet, add spices, flavorings etc. It is really a healthy and super easy snack!
Why should you make these oatmeal energy balls?
- Perfect make ahead snack
- Healthy and tasty
- Portable – packs well in lunch boxes
- Mess free and convenient to pack
Substitutions for ingredients mentioned in the recipe –
Peanut butter – Any nut butter works. Cashew, almond, pistachio etc. If your child is allergic to all nuts, try using tahini instead.
Almonds and walnuts- Again, use nuts of your choice or totally omit them and add more oats instead
Dates – Can be substituted with honey/ maple syrup
Honey – Can be substituted with more dates or maple syrup, agave
Chia seeds – omit or add flax seeds instead
How to make these oatmeal energy balls gluten free?
Make sure you get certified gluten free oats to make this recipe gluten free.
What kind of oats do I use?
I like to use quick or rolled oats for this recipe. Since these balls are supposed to be for young kids, you don’t want something that is too hard to bite and chew.
Add ons to the recipe
Like I said this recipe is easily customizable to your needs and taste
Other ingredients that would go well in this recipe are –
- Chocolate chips
- Raisins ( you can cut raisins into smaller pieces)
- Other nuts like pistachios, cashews, pecans etc
- Flax meal
- Almond meal
- Vanilla extract
- Spices like cinnamon, pumpkin spice, cardamom, ginger powder etc as per taste
- Dried fruits like dried cranberries ( make sure cut them into small pieces)
- Protein powder if making it for adults
- Hemp hearts
How to store these energy balls?
Once made, I like to store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They are good for upto a week. But they will disappear fast.
You can also freeze it for future use.
How to make these oatmeal energy balls?
It is a very simple recipe with very minimal steps. Basically, all you do is add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse everything until get a sticky dough. You might have to process it for a while as you are adding whole nuts and they take some time to get chopped finely. If the mixture looks too try, add more peanut butter and if it’s too wet add more oats. Once you get a somewhat sticky dough, you scoop out and make some balls and serve!
Toddler Oatmeal Energy Balls Recipe
Prep time – 5 minutes
Cook time – 10 minutes
Makes – 12 to 15 small balls
- ½ cup quick oats
- ½ cup nuts like almonds, walnuts
- 1/3 cup peanut butter (add more/ extra depending on how your mixture looks)
- 5 dates – seeds removed
- 1 tbsp honey/ maple syrup (optional)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until everything comes together. You want the nuts to have been chopped into very small pieces and the oats and the nut butter to have mixed well.
- When done, take a tbsp of the mixture and make a ball.
- Repeat the same with the rest of the mixture.
- Store in an airtight container for upto a week.