I’ve mentioned before that Tim is an avid trail runner. Currently, he is training for the Golden Gate Dirty 30 which will be hosted outside of Blackhawk, CO in June. It’s a 50k trail race that boasts over 7000 feet of climbing! He’s really been racking up the miles in the past few weeks and boy have we been going through a lot of gels, bars, running snacks…really just food period. I mean, it’s a ridiculous amount of calories from my standpoint. Seeing as there are only so many processed gels one can stomach, I decided to whip up these two-bite energy packed snacks for him to take on some of his training runs. Tim is pretty intent on trying to adapt his body to burning fat as best he can, but when a run is four plus hours with thousands of feet of climbing, it helps to have a few extra calories along the way!
Recently we gave these guys a little extra zip by adding instant coffee. While it’s well known that caffeine improves reaction time and increases neuromuscular coordination, studies have demonstrated that caffeine, by some unclear mechanism, can increase the availability of fatty acids in the blood stream. This in turn increases the body’s ability to burn fat and conserve muscle glycogen. That means runners who consume caffeine will be less likely to “bonk”, and more likely to have the much desired kick needed at the end of a race. Caffeine has also been shown to increase the amount of endorphins in the brain, meaning a runner will feel less pain and more of a “runner’s high”. With all of this evidence surrounding the benefits of caffeine, it seems no runner should head out the door without that morning cup o’ joe first! For this recipe, we used Starbucks VIA Ready Brew French Roast, but we’re sure your favorite instant coffee would work just as well!
These date balls are easy to make and require no food prep except for pitting the dates. Plus, no need to bake or cook in any way!
Energy-Packed Date Balls
Power packed bites of delicious goodness to keep you going!
-(2 cups) Medjool dates, pitted (approximately 30 dates)
-(1 cup) Organic rolled oats
-(1 cup) Walnuts
-(1 scoop) Chocolate flavored protein powder
-(1/4 t.) Vanilla extract
-(1/2 T.) Instant coffee
(1 T.) Coconut oil
Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until well-combined. Working with your hands, roll the mixture into balls (you could also form them into bars). They are a little sticky so if you stack them in a container to store, use parchment or wax paper to prevent them from getting stuck together. We store ours in the freezer for a quick frozen treat! These should last a few weeks in the fridge as well, although we certainly don’t have the self-control for them to stick around that long 😉