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Runner’s Plate: Homemade Energy Balls

Posted Apr 02 2013 12:42pm

Fruig & Nut Energy BallsBy now you’ve probably figured out that I’m a food first girl. I prefer food to be as close to it’s natural state as possible – the less processed the better. Luckily, there are a lot of people out there who would agree — and food companies have caught on. Especially those that make energy (or granola) bars. While there are plenty of bars out there with ingredient lists as long as this blog post, there is also a growing number of bars with a short ingredient list, all of which I recognize as real food! However, they can get pricey if you eat them regularly — and sometimes I’m looking for something a little smaller than the 200-250 calorie bars on the market. So, I decided it was about time to make some on my own! These balls took me less than 10 minutes to put together, and make a great, portable snack pre- or post- workout snack. You could also cut them up into smaller portions and eat them on a long run! The best part is, you can pretty much mix and match any dried fruit and nuts that you like — just use the proportions below.


Vanilla almond apricot energy barsPeanut butter and Jelly 

  • 1/4 cup peanuts (any kind – I used honey roasted)
  • 1/4 cup tart dried cherries
  • 8 large pitted dates

Vanilla Almond Apricot

  • 1/4 cup tart dried cherries
  • 4 large pitted dates
  • 6 dried turkish apricots
  • 1/4 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Cherry Almond

  • 4 large pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 2 tbsp semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao baking chips)
  • 1/4 cup roasted, unsalted almonds

Directions: for each recipe, start by mixing dried fruit (dates + whatever you choose) in a food processor until they are chopped into little bits (about 30s-1min). Add nuts and other flavoring (chocolate chips, vanilla extract, cinnamon, etc), and blend in food processor for another 30s-1 min.

For the balls: form into one inch balls and eat as is or roll in coconut flakes or cocoa powder if desired.

For the bars: spread mixture into a 1/2 inch-thick square on parchment paper and put in refrigerator for about 1 hour. Then cut into bars.

Each recipe makes 8 balls or 4 bars. Each ball has 90-100 calories; double it for the bars.

Have you ever made your own energy bars? What are your favorite fruit and nut combinations?

- Sarah

(Sarah is a nutrition communication specialist,  future registered dietitian, and real food advocate who loves recreating recipes in her home kitchen.  She is a certified spin instructor, a triathlete, and an avid runner who regularly participates in road races from 5k to  1/2 marathons. Follow her onTwitter  @SpinnerSarah  and at her personal blog  Food and Fitness Friend .)

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