Sub Sandwich for Power Ball, Mom Hack #113

Running out of ideas for cold lunch days? Here’s one easy way to jazz up cold lunches, without sacrificing on protein.

My boys have always shared how their friends question exactly what it is they’re eating when they get a “sun butter ball” in their lunch. One can safely assume that the key ingredient in a sun butter ball is indeed, Sun Butter®.

Born out of my own discovery, and subsequent obsession of power, or energy balls, I realized that while most versions of this yummy, no-bake snack call for for peanut butter, there’s no reason why you can’t use Sun Butter as a substitute.

Does Sun Butter taste a lot different than Peanut Butter? 1,000 times yes! Lucky for us, my 8-year-old doesn’t know the difference since we learned he was allergic to it, before he ever had a chance to try it. If I’m being completely honest though, I personally can’t bring myself to eat Sun Butter. However, I am a huge fan of almond butter, and use it to make this same recipe for my work-from-home stash of snacks. No matter the butter, the principle remains— an energy-fueling ball of healthy goodness.

I love these as an alternative to the typical sun butter and jelly sandwich on cold lunch days. Not only do they change up the menu a little bit, my children think they’re getting a little special treatment since they “get chocolate in their lunch!” I make one batch a week so that they’re readily available while I’m packing lunches with my eyes still barely open at 6:50 on a school day: or even more conveniently, as a zero-prep, after-school snack.=

Without further ado, the recipe:

  1. 1 cup of oats
  2. 1/2 cup of Sun Butter
  3. 1/3 cup of flax seed (you could also use chia seed if that’s your thing)
  4. 1/4 cup of honey
  5. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  6. 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips (Recommend Enjoy Life brand if you need to be conscious of cross-contamination with other allergens)
  7. Dash of salt

**You can also add in unsweetened coconut flakes if you’re a fan (my son loves them this way!). Split 1/3 a cup into two equal portions; and add half to the bowl to mix in with the rest of the ingredients. Use the other half to roll the balls in as a coating before storing.

Mix all the ingredients together with your hands in a big bowl (remove any rings for this part), roll them up into individual balls and put into a container to store in the fridge immediately. 

Pro Tip: The smaller you make them, the easier it will be for your kiddo to keep cool-ish in their lunch box until lunch time. Also, make sure the chocolate chips are mini because your sage, tiny humans will surely pick them out otherwise.

Peanut Allergies and Schools

Since allergic reactions to peanuts tend to be the most severe, and even trace amounts of peanut can trigger a fatal allergic reaction, many elementary schools offer a “peanut-free” table; or forgo the concept of separating children at all, and simply don’t allow peanut products in school lunches.

Currently, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and some reports actually indicate that removing peanut from schools has not been shown to prevent food reactions. A recent article from recommends that Schools be “Allergy-Aware” instead of banning certain foods, such as peanut butter, which “represents an affordable food for many families who may struggle to feed their families, even though they don’t qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.”

According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the world’s largest private funder of food allergy research, in the United States, the prevalence of childhood peanut or tree nut allergy appears to have more than tripled between 1997 and 2008.

Katie Moreno
Katie was born and raised in the small town of Milton, Wis. She graduated from UW-Milwaukee, although spent most of her semesters studying and working abroad. Katie is a food allergy parent, and avid proponent for inclusivity among food minority groups. She thrives on coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice.


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