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Date & Oat Lactation Energy Bites (Vegan)

I’m still on my make-ahead kick over here, preparing for those exhausting first few weeks of nursing a newborn around the clock. When my son was born, I recall being hungry all day long. Having a quick snack on hand, like these energy bites, was a real life-saver.

bowl of date and oat lactation energy bites

Even if you don’t have time to make these snacks ahead of time, they are unbelievably quick and easy to prepare– ready in about 10 minutes from start to finish. They are loaded with ingredients that are thought to boost your milk supply, including oats, flax seeds, and healthy fats, but they are a delicious and nutritious snack regardless of whether you’re a nursing mom or not! My toddler adores them.

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(As an added bonus for pregnant women, they are a great way to sneak in your 6 dates a day if you are still waiting for your baby to arrive…)

What I love about these energy bites, as opposed to traditional lactation cookies, is that they are naturally-sweetened with only fruit and can be prepared a lot faster than baking a batch of cookies.  Simply throw everything into a food processor, roll them into bite-sized balls, and devour! I imagine you could customize this recipe into a variety of flavors, but I’ve decided to keep it simple using a classic combination of organic peanut butter, sea salt, and vanilla. Feel free to add in a handful of dark chocolate chips to make these bites taste like cookie dough straight from the fridge!

Before we get to the recipe, please keep in mind that the absolute best way to boost your milk supply is to simply breastfeed as often as possible. During the first 6 weeks, when you and your baby are establishing your supply, baby should be offered unlimited access to the breast, even if they are simply using you as a “pacifier.” Breastfeeding is a supply & demand process, so the more your baby demands (a.k.a. nurses), the more your body will make– unless it’s interfered with through the use of pacifiers, supplemental formula, or trying to stick to a timed schedule. For more evidence-based breastfeeding information, I highly recommend checking out KellyMom.com.

Now, let’s snack.

Date & Oat Lactation Energy Bites (Vegan, Gluten-free)
Makes 16 bite-sized balls

Ingredients:

1 cup soft dates, pitted (Soak them in water for 10 minutes and drain well, if not soft and squishy already)
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
6 tablespoons organic unsalted peanut butter, or nut butter of choice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In the bowl of a large food processor fitted with an s-blade, process the dates until a sticky ball is formed. Add in the flax, oats, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla and process again until finely ground and crumbly. The mixture should stick together easily when pressed between your fingers. If the mixture doesn’t stick together, try adding one tablespoon of water and process again.

making date and oat lactation energy bites in a food processor and then rolling them onto a pan

Use your hands to roll the dough into bite-sized balls, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Arrange them in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet, cover tightly, and store in the fridge or freezer until ready to serve. (Once cold, you can pile them into a smaller storage container without them sticking to each other.)

date and oat lactation energy bites

Note: You are welcome to roll these balls in a fun topping, if you like, such as crushed peanuts, cacao powder, or shredded coconut. For best results, I recommend rolling them while the dough is still at room temperature, so it’s still slightly sticky.

4.84 from 6 votes
Date & Oat Lactation Energy Bites (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
A healthy alternative to lactation cookies that make a perfect snack for nursing moms!
Course: Snack
Calories: 80 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
Ingredients
  • 1 cup soft dates , pitted (Soak them in water for 10 minutes and drain well, if not soft and squishy already)
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 6 tablespoons creamy unsalted peanut butter , or nut butter of choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a large food processor fitted with an s-blade, process the dates until a sticky ball is formed. Add in the flax, oats, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla and process again until finely ground and crumbly. The mixture should stick together easily when pressed between your fingers. If the mixture doesn't stick together, try adding one tablespoon of water and process again.
  2. Use your hands to roll the dough into bite-sized balls, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Arrange them in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet, cover tightly, and store in the fridge or freezer until ready to serve. (Once cold, you can pile them into a smaller storage container without them sticking to each other.)

Recipe Video

Per Serving: Calories: 80, Fat: 4g, Carbohydrates: 9g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 2g

Substitutions: This recipe easily lends itself to substitutions since you can taste and make adjustments as you go. If you’d prefer to avoid peanut butter, feel free to use almond butter, or even sunflower butter or tahini as nut-free options. If you want to avoid using dates, I’d recommend working with my Salted Peanut Butter Truffles recipe instead.

Also, I know brewer’s yeast is a common ingredient in lactation cookies, but I just can’t do it. The flavor is SO overwhelming, and I can’t force myself to eat something that doesn’t taste good. So, feel free to add it if you like, but start with a very small amount to make sure you don’t ruin your recipe. I found that brewer’s yeast wasn’t necessary to help with my milk supply last time, so I will continue to skip it and enjoy the cookie-dough-like flavor of these energy bites.

I hope you enjoy them, too!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite healthy snack to keep on hand?

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Comments

Martine

Thanks for sharing! I plan on making these for my friend who is expecting in early Oct. How long do they keep in the freezer?

Karen

These don’t appear to be properly combined. I understand that as a nursing mom, you’re not as concerned about properly combining your meals. Am I correct with this?

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, that’s correct. As a nursing mom (especially those first 6 weeks), it’s all about shoving-in as many healthy calories as you can into your day!

Anne

Thank you for sharing!! They seem so easy to prepare, I might convince my hubby to make them for me once the baby is here if I don’t have time to freeze a batch in advance 😀

Arthur in the Garden!

These look easy to make and tasty! I just hope I don’t begin to lactate!! 🙂
Arthur

Tatjana

These look delicious! Any information available regarding nutrition?
Thank you,

    Megan Gilmore

    I try not to encourage tracking calories or macronutrients, but you can easily calculate any info you need using a free online calculator like http://www.myfitnesspal.com

      Essie

      May I ask why you don’t recommend tracking calories or macronutrients? Just interested because I’m considering doing that to get me back on track to losing my last chunk of baby weight 😆 what do you recommend? Thanks!

Judy

I am allergic to oats, what would be a good substitute in this recipe? Thanks!

    Megan Gilmore

    You could use more ground flax, shredded coconut, hemp hearts, or probably another nut or seed.

Heidi

Thank you Megan! These sound fabulous!

Erinn

Super yummy! I followed the recipe as is and made a second batch using the additions: almond butter instead of peanut, 3Tbsp raw cacao powder, 2Tbsp cacao nibs and a handful dark chocolate chips.

Kelly

After having my baby I made your lactation cookies and they were SO good. So good in fact that I was making about a batch a day for a week because my husband was eating so many. I loved the fact that they were actually healthier (most were basic oat cookies with ingredients I don’t eat normally let alone breastfeeding). Yesterday I made these and love them as well. I think I will be making them more just because they are so easy and good. I took them to my neighbors for dessert and they were a hit for everyone. My biggest recommendation would be to make a double batch right away and then you can do 3/4 peanut butter and they will all be gone before you know it anyway.

Alain

These were amazing! I added the chocolate chips as suggested, and they really are like decadent chocolate chip cookie dough.

Kelsey

Great recipe for the soon to be mom. Whipped up a batch in less than 5 minutes. Thank you for the quick and healthy snack idea for new or soon to be moms.

Priya

Help! I think I soaked my dates for too long. The mixture is so yummy, BUT I made it too liquidy/spreadable. I can’t form it into balls. Any ideas on how to make it more rollable? Thanks!

Audra

These look amazing, and I love dates. My son has a pretty severe allergy to oats, and reacted through my breast milk. With baby 2 I want to avoid his triggers until we know. Any suggestions for an alternative to oats? Thanks!!

kimberlY

Can you use natural peanut butter for this recipe? Or will it become to oily?

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, I have only made it with all-natural peanut butter. It works great!

Emily

Made these today to help boost my milk supply, 3 weeks post delivery. They are delicious and were nice and simple to make, which is key when you have a newborn nursing every 2 hours! I added dark chocolate chunks to the bites and then coated them with crushed walnuts. My partner was shocked when I told him the ingredients;) will definitely double the batch next time.

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