Sunflower Seed Butter Energy Balls

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These sunflower seed butter energy balls make the perfect snack for busy kids, teens, and parents alike. They also happen to be nut-free, gluten-free, and vegan, making them the perfect allergy-friendly school snack!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase I will earn a commission.

A Quick Snack for Busy Kids

My 16-year-old is always looking for a quick snack that he can eat before or after running. He doesn’t love dates and he strongly dislikes peanut butter, which rules out a lot of my go-to energy balls!

So we started making energy balls with almond butter as the base. That was a win. But this summer he needed a nut-free snack to bring to work as a camp counselor. I decided to try making the almond butter balls with a base of sunflower seeds instead. Verdict? Still tasty!

ingredients needed for sunflower seed energy ballsPin

Nut-Free Sunflower Seed Butter

Sunflower seed butter has been around for a while. Although there are many great brands out there, my personal favorite is this one by 88 Acres. (This is an Amazon affiliate link, but this is not a sponsored post, I just really like their products, plus they are local to Massachusetts!)

Their sunflower seed butter is already lightly sweetened with maple syrup, which means you may not even need to add any additional sweetener when using it. It also contains a hint of sea salt and a little bit of oil to give it just the right consistency.

Sunflower Seed Butter Energy Balls

To make these sunflower seed energy balls you need the following ingredients:

  • Sunflower seed butter – Sunflower seed butter provides a nut-free source of protein as well as healthy, satisfying fat. My personal favorite is by 88 Acres. If you use another brand check the ingredients. If there is 0 added sugar, you will probably need to add 3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup to the recipe.
  • Old-fashioned oats – These add long-lasting complex carbohydrate energy. Raw oats are also a great source of pre-biotics, which is essentially like food for the good bacteria or probiotics in our gut. Pulsing them in the food processor before using them helps to break them into a fine crumble that is easy to eat.
  • Puffed rice – Puffed rice provides an easy-to-digest source of carbohydrates along with a little crunch. In addition, it’s gluten-free.*
  • Rice Chex – Like puffed rice, Rice Chex is easy-to-digest and gluten-free. In addition, because Chex cereal is fortified with vitamins and minerals, it gives the balls a little vitamin boost. (Perfect for kids who may be low on iron or other nutrients in their day-to-diet.)*
  • Maple syrup – Adding a little maple syrup gives these balls just the right amount of sweetness plus some simple carbohydrates that get broken down quickly for a fast energy boost!

*You could use all puffed rice or all Chex depending on preference or availability!

Optional add-on:

  • Cocoa powder – Dusting the balls with unsweetened cocoa powder is a fun way to add a little something extra. If you are looking for an extra antioxidant boost, try FlavaMix cocoa powder, it’s higher in flavanols (antioxidant compounds) than traditional cocoa.
dusting sunflower seed energy balls with cocoa powderPin

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Sunflower Seed Butter Energy Balls

These sunflower seed butter energy balls make the perfect snack for busy kids, teens, and parents alike. They also happen to be nut-free, gluten-free, and vegan, making them the perfect allergy-friendly school snack!
Prep Time 15 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Plant-Based, vegan
Servings 28 balls


  • 1 large food processor


  • ¾ cup Old-fashioned oats certified gluten-free if needed
  • 1 14-ounce jar Sunflower Seed Butter 88 Acres Brand
  • 1 cup Rice Chex cereal
  • 1 cup Puffed rice cereal
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder


  • In a large food processor, pulse together old-fashioned oats until they resemble a coarse grain.
  • Add the sunflower seed butter and maple syrup to the food processor and process to combine.
  • Add the Chex and puffed rice cereal to the food processor and continue to process until thoroughly mixed, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed. If the mixture seems dry, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it starts to stick together.
  • Taste test and add an additional tablespoon of maple syrup if desired.
  • Transfer the mixture to a rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment paper for easier clean up if desired). Form into about 25-28 balls.
  • Use a sieve (fine mesh strainer) to dust with cocoa powder if desired. Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator.
Keyword afterschool snack, athletes snack, bliss balls, energy balls, postworkout snack, school friendly snack

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