Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls for #SundaySupper


Like all the kids out there, #SundaySupper is heading Back to School. One the way out the door, packed into a lunchbox, while working on homework, or getting ready to play after school, kids (and even adults) need fuel to get through busy days. For a quick and easy snack that the kids will love, grab a few ingredients and roll up a quick batch of Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls.

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls - a healthy four ingredient lunchbox or after school snack for kids! | | #glutenfree #vegan #nutfree

You guys, I seriously can’t wait till The Bug goes back to school. And at about the same time, King Stuff is gonna head to daycare a couple days of the week. With the big upcoming move, The Hubby busy with a new job, and me trying to get a house ready to put on the market, maintaining some semblance of order while the house is actually on the market without actually evicting my little boys during this period, packing years worth of crap, and keeping up the blogging gig, I really need some kid-free time to have a fighting chance of getting it all accomplished without completely losing my mind or sacrificing sleep entirely. So offloading them for a few hours at least a few days a week is pretty much a necessity.

But the main reason I need to get them out of the house? When they are home, all  they want to do is EAT ALL THE THINGS. ALL THE TIME. They finish their bowls of yogurt or overnight oats, and The Bug instantly starts wailing, “I’m still huuuunnngggrrryyyy!” So I get him something else. But if King Stuff sees his big brother eating, of course he has to be shoving fistfulls of something in his mouth too. Breakfast is done and an hour later, if I am within a 3 foot radius of the refrigerator, King Stuff assumes that I am getting food for him, and if I don’t give him yet another thing to eat, it’s meltdown-city. Lunch is inevitably happening by 11:30, and at 1 or 2, The Bug needs a snack because I’m trying to finish my lunch, and obviously he is “starrrrrvvviiinnnngggg”. King Stuff wakes up from his nap at 3 or 3:30 looking for his snack, and if he is munching, The Bug has to be munching, too.

Since I am clearly starving my children, by dinnertime, the decibel level of whining and crying has reached the point that only dogs can hear. So I make up their plates first and sit them down at the table before I get food for The Hubby and I. Which inevitably means that by the time I sit down and put a bite in my mouth, they NEED seconds. And now King Stuff has learned such bad habits from his brother that the second the table is cleared, he is hanging on my legs looking for his nighttime snack, after he just finished three plates of food, just because I am in the cabinet getting vitamins, and me being near the cabinets reminds him that there is food in them.

Seriously, people, all I do is open and cut and peel and pour and put in bowls and get a spoon and cook and microwave and stir and serve and wipe faces and pick up crumbs. And, you know, dishes for dayssss! I love my kids and know that they are my responsibility, but sometimes I do have to actually get out of the kitchen. Maybe use the bathroom or something. So it’s time for them go somewhere where they are distracted from food for at least a little while and when it is time to eat, someone else is taking care of it.

But when they are home, I need easy grab-and-go snacks like these…

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls - a healthy four ingredient lunchbox or after school snack for kids! | | #glutenfree #vegan #nutfree

Energy balls, especially these Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls are one of my boys’ favorite things to munch on. I have made several versions, but I wanted to make a variety without nuts or nut butters or any other major allergens, so that we could pack them on-the-go or share them with friends without having to worry about any kids with food allergies or sensitivities. These are nut-free, vegan, have no added sugar, and are easy to make gluten-free. Plus, they take minutes to prepare, aren’t messy, and are healthy. Even better, from the making to the eating, they are totally kid-friendly. The Bug loves rolling up his own energy balls.

So how are they “caramel” without any sugar? Dates! Seriously, I didn’t believe it when a fellow food blogger described them as “Nature’s Caramel”, but it is so true.

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls - a healthy four ingredient lunchbox or after school snack for kids! | | #glutenfree #vegan #nutfree

And if you have even littler ones, you can even make teensy little energy bites. I used about one-quarter teaspoon to make these little balls for King Stuff. Honestly, I made these awhile ago and at that time he was picking them up one at a time. Now, well, he would probably just shove a handful in his mouth.

Human Garbage Disposals, I tell ya!

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls - a healthy four ingredient lunchbox or after school snack for kids! | | #glutenfree #vegan #nutfreeJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Sunday Supper Movement

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Need more ideas for the busy days ahead? Whether it’s nutritious breakfast, lunchbox ideas, satisfying snacks, or even a special treat or two check out the rest of today’s #SundaySupper Back to School Menu at the bottom of this post for all kinds of inspiration.

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls - a healthy four ingredient lunchbox or after school snack for kids! | | #glutenfree #vegan #nutfree

Are you excited for back to school time?

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Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls (and Baby Bites)
Only four ingredients for the sweet flavor of a caramel apple in a healthy, gluten free, vegan, nut free snack perfect for lunchboxes or after school.
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 12-14
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried apples (not freeze dried, these are the chewy ones)
  • ½ cup uncooked oats
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until it forms a thick paste.
  2. Using about a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into balls. If you want the little bites, use about ¼ teaspoon.


Need some more lunchbox or after school snacks?

Banana-Nut-Bread-Granola-Bars-Cupcakes-Kale-Chips-2013-2-wm.jpg Double-Chocolate-Cherry-Pistachio-Energy-Bars-4-title.jpg Cranberry-Almond-Energy-Balls-2-title.jpg

And here is the entire #SundaySupper Back to School menu…

Back to School Beginnings

Back to School Lunches and Simple Suppers

Back to School Sips

Back to School Super Snacks

Back to School Sweets and Treats

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls - a healthy four ingredient lunchbox or after school snack for kids! | | #glutenfree #vegan #nutfree


Want to see lots more yummy food from me and my friends, and cute pictures of my kids? 

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I earn a small percentage from any purchases you may make if you click on them.  These companies have not contacted me.  I use the stuff because I love it.


  1. says

    Haha, never a dull moment at your house! I remember those crazy times! I’m sure these wonderful energy balls keep the madness down to a manageable level…they sounds absolutely fabulous!!!

  2. says

    OMG…this is too funny! Your kids are like the mouse in ‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’…one of my favorite books. You REALLY need the book, ‘Five Minutes Peace’!!

    Great snack idea and the small ones could probably fit underneath the bathroom door…when you finally get some time for yourself!

  3. says

    I love these! I have made energy balls using dates, but never with the ingredients you have. I can’t wait to make these for myself (no kids, haha)!

  4. says

    My daughter was an eating machine when she was smaller and still is at times. She would have devoured these and asked for more too!! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  5. says

    I call my little girl ‘bugs’ too 😉 I know what you mean, my kids eat ALL day long during the summer I swear my entire paycheck goes to Costco 😉
    These little bites are so pretty and I can just taste them now, love the apple cinnamon combo! Gorgeous photography! Where do you get your pretty color backgrounds?

  6. Kyris says

    How long do these store and do they need to be refrigerated? I’m thinking they would be great for the hungry college kid care package.

  7. says

    I love these so much! I’m pretty obsessed with making energy balls and I’ve never done this combo. The apple, cinnamon and dates is like a healthy bite of pie with no guilt! I bet some nuts would be amazing in these, too. LOVE!

  8. says

    Brianne, those look super good! I can’t wait to try them for my own whinny crew – what is it with little kids and that time of day?!?

  9. Liz.R says

    Please, please ,please, stop posting things as gluten free when they contain oats. I’m sick of trawling websites for gluten AND dairy free treats to find oats everywhere! If you could put apple and oat in the title, that would save others like me some time and energy. Thanks :)

  10. says

    I don’t have kids but I enjoy these types of snacks for myself. I’m one of those people who gets caught up in my work and then I forget to eat. These little balls are the perfect thing to set on my desk so I can snack while working!

  11. Shellie says

    Thanks for your response. Are the apples the apple chips? I’ve gone to a million stores and can’t find anything besides dried apples which are the apple chips. Thanks

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