Healthy Devils: Stay fuller, longer with coconut-date energy bites


Emma Greguska

Attention all study-weary college students: Step away from the 5-hour Energy, double-shot lattes and sugar-laden sports drinks. There are better ways to get a boost when you need to hit the books.

Arizona State University nutrition Lecturer Maureen McCoy suggests delicious and easy-to-make date-coconut energy bites.

“Energy drinks and espresso shots wear off quickly and have little nutritious value, while the energy bites are a great source of fiber (to keep you fuller for longer) from the dates and healthy fats from the almonds, which will also keep you fuller for longer,” she said.

Before coming to ASU, McCoy worked in sports nutrition, spending time consulting with athletes at the University of Florida and clients at Lifetime Fitness. In Arizona, she turned her focus to community nutrition education, working for a time with the Washington Elementary School District, where she provided nutrition education in classrooms and worked with the school breakfast and lunch program, as well as the Maricopa County Head Start program, where she worked with pregnant moms and children younger than 5.

In her community nutrition class at ASU, she teaches students about the social ecological model, which looks at how every layer of the community — from close social circles, to the larger community in general, to the organizational and public-policy level — affects how and why people make certain decisions about what they eat.

McCoy encourages her students be cognizant of the social ecological model and think about such things as where they get their food, if there are accessible sidewalks in their neighborhood and if their community is safe and supportive of their overall health and well-being.

“I love community nutrition because it’s focused on preventative nutrition — everything that happens before someone has to go to a hospital,” she said.

Just ahead of finals week, McCoy shared a recipe with ASU Now that any student can make to help them get through the grind of exams.

Date-Coconut Energy Bites

Video of Date Coconut Energy Bites

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now


1 cup dates

1 cup almonds

½ cup coconut flakes

Juice and zest of 1 lime


Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until well incorporated. Form into small balls and place on a baking sheet in the refrigerator to set. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for about one week.