Date Balls Recipe

For pre- or post-workout fuel. Keep scrolling for info about the powerful ingredients packed into these ballers.

Ingredients:

-20 medjool dates (pits removed)

-1/2 c almond butter (or nut butter of choice)

-1/2 c roasted cashews (or other nut)

-1/4 c chia seeds

-3tbsp finely ground coffee

-1/4 c protein powder (I use chocolate whey protein powder from Trader Joe's)

-1/4 c rolled oats

Instructions:

1. In a food processor or blender, blend the dates with about a tablespoon of water (more if needed) until smooth (see pic above).

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine date puree with almond butter, chia seeds, coffee, and protein powder.

3. Pulse the cashews in your blender/food processor (no need to clean it out from before) until you gets small chunks and some finer dust.

4. Add the cashews to your mixing bowl and mix until smooth and sticky. If your mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water. If it's too wet, pulse some more cashews or even some oats and add that to the mix to dry it out.

5. When the consistency is right, roll the batter into balls- as big or small as you wish! I use a heaping tablespoon to measure out mine and make them all about the same size. Roll with your hands until smooth and set on a plate. 

6. Place your plate of date balls in the freezer for a few hours until they are hard and pop off the plate. Then store in a plastic bag in the freezer until you are ready to enjoy! I take 3 or 4 with me to practice and by the time I'm done running they are melted the perfect amount.

Note: Feel free to add whatever other ingredients you want or have on hand. I've experimented with shredded coconut, pistachios, vanilla protein powder, and cocoa powder. 

Other date ball recipes I've tried and tweaked: 

http://www.myfoodandhappiness.com/the-perfect-protein-energy-balls/

http://minimalistbaker.com/chocolate-cashew-cookie-larabar-pops/

 

More about the ingredients...

Dates: Glucose as a good source of energy to be used right away, high in fiber, minerals (iron, selenium, magnesium, potassium), vitamins (A, B1, B2, and C), and antioxidants (source)

Almonds: My favorite nut! Almonds are packed with protein, magnesium, fiber, and monounsaturated fatty acids. (source) Nut consumption has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), decreased total and LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, visceral adiposity, and oxidative stress as well as increased glycemic control. Furthermore, the fiber content of nuts can lead to increased satiety via several mechanisms, which contributes to decreased energy intake and even increased energy loss and has been shown to help regulate body weight. (source)

Chia seeds: Reportedly first used by the ancient Aztecs, then the Teotihuacan and Toltec people of Mexico, this seed is packed with omega-3 fatty acids (like those found in fish). Omega-3s are essential (cannot be produced by the body and must be consumed) and often deficient in a Western diet, but can significantly reduce cardiovascular disease. (source) Although the ALA found in chia seeds are less potent than EPA and DHA found in fish, the concentration in chia seeds is very high and can be added to the diet in so many delicious ways.

Whey protein: This one is a no-brainer as us athletes know that protein is essential for muscle recovery after exercise and that athletes are in need of more than the normally recommended amount of protein. (source) Whey protein isolate is the best way to add protein to your diet as it not only contains all of the essential amino acids and at concentrations higher than another other source of protein AND your body absorbs and utilizes whey the best. (source)

Coffee: Contrary to popular belief, it has been shown that up to 400 mg (4 cups of coffee) per day does not cause negative effects such as dehydration. (source) Caffeine is known to improve cognitive function, alertness, and physical performance, and may even help athletes perform better and for longer in their sport, although the research on this topic is inconclusive.