After sharing my list of mid-run natural food fuel options a few weeks ago, I wanted to give you an easy recipe for some all-natural, energy-packed power bites that you can make and eat prior to a race or a long run. The ingredients in this recipe have been chosen specifically to provide a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates, energizing fats, and a small amount of protein to adequately fuel you for your run. Before I share the recipe, let’s go ahead and take a look at each ingredient involved.
Dates are easily digested and made up of fructose and dextrose, both simple carbohydrates. The fruit is a good source of Vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein, iron, potassium, and other minerals.
A dietary staple of the Tarahumara Indians, the super runners described in the book Born To Run, chia seeds are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can consume. They’re packed with fiber, protein, calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and antioxidants. When chia seeds are soaked in water, they expand up to 10 times their original size, forming a gel-like substance. As a result of this gel action, chia seeds function to slow the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, allowing the carbs you’ve consumed to fuel your running for longer than normal.
Virgin coconut oil is a plant-based fat and, unlike many other oils, a medium chain triglyceride (MCT). Because MCTs are easily digested and absorbed, the body is able to use coconut oil as a form of direct energy. Recent studies also suggest that the MCTs in coconut oil may help increase energy metabolism during high and medium intensity exercise, allowing for a reduction in the body’s reliance on carbohydrates as a source of energy.
While cashews provide a decent amount of fat, they’re also a good source of protein and minerals (copper, magnesium, and zinc), which help to boost the immune system.
Since the sweet potato is a great source of complex carbohydrates, it’s an excellent fuel for sustained energy during a long run or race. Sweet potatoes are also packed with Vitamin A, beta carotene, Vitamin C, and trace minerals that your body needs to maintain good health.
Dried fruit like goji berries, raisins, cherries, cranberries, and blueberries provide simple carbohydrates you need to fuel your workout as well as important vitamins and minerals your body uses to repair and rejuvenate after a long run.
I like to keep these power bites frozen until I am ready to eat them. Enjoy!
Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender. Pulse ingredients together until well combined. Form into 20 small balls and roll in shredded coconut. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
Serving Size: Makes 20 small energy bites
Nutrition (per bite): 85.5 calories, 5.8 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 26.5 mg sodium, 99.6 mg potassium, 8.5 g carbohydrates, 1.9 g protein
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