I don’t know about you, but when I travel (whether by plane or car), taking snacks along to keep me fueled is an essential part of the trip. Yes, I know, airports and gas stations have food and even some healthy options, but you just never know what you’re going to find when you need it. Instead of leaving things to chance for your next trip, make these quick and easy Gluten-Free No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Pumpkin Energy Bites to take along for the ride.
Recently we went on a family road trip to go snow skiing and it was almost a 4-hour trip. I made these Gluten-Free No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Pumpkin Energy Bites and they were a lifesaver. Making them for that trip had been the first time I made them, and while they went over well with three-fourths of the family, they needed a few tweaks to get them exactly how I wanted them and to win over the fourth member of the family.
One of the main reasons why I wanted to create this recipe was because I wanted to make a better version of one of my favorite purchased car snacks – granola bars.
I love the IDEA of granola bars, but honestly, most of them fall short for me for two reasons:
- 1) granola bars that aren’t loaded with preservatives and unhealthy ingredients are usually EXPENSIVE, and
- 2) most granola bars are actually very sweet to me, and eating a sweet snack doesn’t do a whole lot to keep me fueled or focused. It does the opposite, actually.
I knew I could make a better alternative that used quality ingredients and would actually keep us satisfied and nourished while traveling. I wanted to make these snack bites taste like one of my favorite kinds of cookies – oatmeal raisin cookies. I don’t know about you, but oatmeal raisin cookies are one of my favorite kinds of cookies – top 5 for sure!
Health Benefits in These Gluten-Free No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Pumpkin Energy Bites:
- Oats: Oats are a whole grain that contain soluble fiber, which has shown to help lower cholesterol and reduce the overall risk for heart disease. Plus, the high fiber content in oats helps keep you feeling full for longer.
- Pumpkin: Pumpkin is a vegetable and is loaded with antioxidants, which will help your body clear free radicals that roam your body looking for cells to damage. Free radicals are like thugs roaming the body and antioxidants are like the heroes that swoop in and take out the thugs to save the day. Pumpkin is also high in beta-carotene, which the body will turn into Vitamin A, and this will help keep your eyes in tip-top shape.
- Raisins: raisins are dried grapes, as I’m sure you know, and unlike many other dried fruits, plain raisins are processed without adding sugar. They are naturally sweet on their own and they add the only sweetness these Gluten-Free No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Pumpkin Energy Bites need. Raisins are high in fiber and antioxidants too.
- Collagen Powder: Collagen powder is getting more attention these days for its ability to promote the health of the gut, skin and bones. Plus, it’s a natural source of protein, which helps balance the nutrition profile of these energy bites and will help you feel more satisfied for longer. You can buy collagen powder at many large supermarkets, or get it through this link
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are small and mighty. Do not underestimate the health benefits of these unassuming little seeds. They are a nutrition powerhouse, loaded with fiber, which will help keep your blood sugar levels more even and keep you feeling full for longer. Plus, they are a good plant-based source of protein.
A Word On Sugar
As I’ve mentioned, these Gluten-Free No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Pumpkin Energy Bites don’t have any added sugar and are sweetened only with the addition of the raisins. Remember that I wanted to create these energy bites so that they would be less sweet than a typical granola bar? I did that and am really happy with the results.
When my husband tried the first version of these on the ski trip a few weeks ago, his first thought was that there wasn’t enough flavor. I’ve fixed that by increasing the pumpkin pie spice and increasing the raisins a smidge. As he ate a couple more of the bites, he realized that what he really liked about them was that they were neither too sweet nor too salty. He has this problem (which many people do, including me!) that if he eats something really sweet, he needs to follow it up with something salty to balance the flavor in his mouth. Sound familiar?
With these Gluten-Free No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Pumpkin Energy Bites, my husband didn’t have that issue and liked that he felt perfectly satisfied after eating a few of them. That was exactly what I was going for and was glad to have his unbiased opinion about it (because I hadn’t mentioned this to him before he tried them).
Since January, I’ve been eating very little sugar. I had been eating too much of it and feeling the effects (on my mood, sleep, and general eating habits). It’s not an easy task to eliminate sugar completely, but if you’ve ever done it for an extended period (I say longer than 2 weeks), then you know the positive effects this change can have on how you feel overall.
Once you give up sugar for a while, you will notice that sweet foods will taste A LOT sweeter than before you had eliminated sugar. That is because your taste buds adjust to your new way of eating and will become more accustomed to enjoying lower sugar foods. The flip side is also true though. If you’re used to eating more sugar, then lower sugar foods will taste like they need more sugar.
Whatever the case is for you, whether you’re used to eating lower sugar foods or not, make these Gluten-Free No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Pumpkin Energy Bites as the recipe says, and then if you find them to be way too unsweet, add 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup or honey. I won’t send the nutrition police to your house if you go that route.
P.S. These Gluten-Free No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Pumpkin Energy Bites make a great after-school snack for the kids too!
Gluten-Free No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Pumpkin Energy Bites How-To Photos:
Gluten-Free No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Pumpkin Energy Bites
- 1 ¼ cup gluten-free* quick-cooking oats, toasted if desired**
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil, melted
- 3 tablespoons unflavored collagen powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 ½ to 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/3 cup raisins, finely chopped
- Toast oats, if desired (see tip, below). Cool completely. In a large bowl combine pumpkin, oil, collagen, coconut flour, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Stir until well combined. Stir in raisins. Stir in oats.
- Shape mixture into about 1-inch balls. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week. If you are traveling, the energy bites can be out of the refrigerator up to 12 hours as long as they aren’t sitting in a hot place.