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Get some energy with this chocolate treat

Chocolate energy bites

“Smells like sheep” is not exactly the feedback we were looking for when we road tested a new snack in my Nutrifit class. Fortunately it was store bought and not a recipe I'd spent weeks perfecting. I'm not sure my pride could have taken a farmyard analogy. Normally a fan of things that are sweet but healthy, I was ready to like the little date/carob/sunflower seed confections, but they were just one step too far. I've learned that you can fake flour and eggs, you swap out sugar for natural sweeteners, but there's no replacing the bittersweet earthy tone of real chocolate.

Fortunately, not many people are allergic to chocolate and good quality cocoa powder can actually add a dose of powerful antioxidants to your recipes (it's just the sugar you really have to watch out for.) In fact, the “Sheep Bites” prompted me to dig out the details for my chocolate energy bites. I've given out this recipe before, but in case you have missed it, here it is again. The great thing about these is that they are properly chocolatey but only contain natural sugars from the dried fruit. As they also contain some good fat and a dose of protein, the energy boost is well sustained vs the uncomfortable rush and crash delivered by processed, refined food.

In fact, if you are still looking for good alternatives to fruit snacks after last week's column, then these might work for you. My kids love them. I roll them out extra small and they love the tiny bites of chocolate. They call them “chocolate bombs”! They're also easy to make with your little chefs on board, although they might eat more than they put on the plate. You'll also have to wave goodbye to perfect little round balls. But sometimes the mangled, haphazzardley decorated home-made versions are the most imperfectly perfect treats of all.

Note: If you'd like to make a budget version of these, replace the dried blueberries with extra cranberries. Although I like the Eden Organic dried cranberries (Supermart) which are just sweetened with apple juice, you could get regular dried cranberries and they would be just as tasty. In addition, you can always use a regular dark cocoa vs a raw cacao powder. I would however go for medjool dates as they are softer and have an amazing caramel flavour. Coconut oil is expensive but you only need a small amount — so borrow from a friend or neighbour if you don't think you will use the rest! (It does keep for a long time though.)

Chocolate Energy Bites (makes 12-14 large)


• ¼ cup dried cranberries

• ¼ cup dried blueberries

• 15 Medjool dates, stoned

• ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds

• ¼ cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa)

• 2 tsp coconut oil

• 45g dark chocolate (the darker the better)


1. Combine all ingredients (apart from the dark chocolate) in a food processor until you get a dough-like consistency. Then roll the mixture into balls.

2. Next, gently melt the chocolate and spoon a small amount onto each ball. Finish by decorating with a dried cranberry while the chocolate is still wet.

3. Transfer to the fridge until set!

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the Managing Director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a Registered Dietitian. For details, please go to www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda.

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Published November 15, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated November 15, 2013 at 8:12 am)

Get some energy with this chocolate treat

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