This holiday season, enjoy snacks like spiced cranberry energy bites and holiday fruitcake (without the neon green candy fruits).
This holiday season, enjoy snacks like spiced cranberry energy bites and holiday fruitcake (without the neon green candy fruits). (Photo: NoirChocolate/iStock)

2 Energy Snacks Fit for the Holidays

Including a fruitcake you won't hate

This holiday season, enjoy snacks like spiced cranberry energy bites and holiday fruitcake (without the neon green candy fruits).

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Forget milk and cookies. If Santa wants to have the endurance to fly around the globe, he really ought to upgrade to one of these holiday-appropriate energy snacks. These are just as easy to make as cookies. Whip up a batch for your New Year’s Day resolution ride. Plus, they make great gifts for your adventure buddies, too.   

Spiced Cranberry Energy Bites

(Hillary Pride)

Once a year, you pull out that pumpkin pie spice to make, well, a pumpkin pie. But that seems like a waste, since the combo of nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cinnamon is so festive, says Hillary Pride, a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified personal trainer based in Portland, Maine. She is always making DIY energy bars (and showing them off on Instagram). When the holidays roll around, these are her go-to.

This recipe makes about 30 bites—more than enough for sharing. And since it’s no-bake, it’s perfect for novice chefs. You just combine everything and stir. FYI: most dried cranberries are sweetened, which isn’t a big deal to most of us, especially if we’re going to be out all day, but if you’re trying to eliminate added sugars, you can omit them or try to find the unsweetened variety. 


  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup date puree
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Measure out about two teaspoons and, using your hands, roll the mix into a ball. Refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. 

Holiday Fruitcake for Athletes

Fruitcake doesn’t get enough love, perhaps because no one likes those weird, neon green candy fruits that come in it. Skratch Labs’ chef Biju Thomas nixed those for this recipe. He instead instructs bakers to use whatever dried fruit they like. And he cut the sugar way down, too. Don’t worry, it’s plenty sweet, thanks to orange juice, fruit, and a touch of sugar. But this is energy food, not dessert. The recipe makes about eight servings, so it’s enough to bring on a group hike or ride. 


  • 1 1/2 cups of your favorite dried fruit
  • 1 cup orange juice 
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour (gluten-free baking mix works well, too)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • A mixture of fruit and nuts of your liking 
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade


The night before you want to bake, place your dried fruit (or trail mix even works) in a bowl, and cover it with the orange juice. When you’re ready to get to work, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line the bottom of a six-to-eight-inch cake pan with parchment paper. (Do not use waxed paper; the wax will melt.) Strain the fruit, and discard the orange juice. In a large bowl, whisk together the softened butter, vanilla, and cane sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and ground cinnamon. Set aside. Adding one ingredient at a time, blend the eggs into the butter mixture. Then add the flour mixture, soaked fruit and nuts, and marmalade. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake on the center rack until a knife poked into the center comes out clean, approximately 60 to 90 minutes.

Lead Photo: NoirChocolate/iStock