These are high-calorie, low-volume fuel, which makes them perfect when you are out for the long haul but space is tight—here’s looking at you, mountaineers and rock climbers. You can also dole them out as needed during training as a way to customize your calorie intake.
A guideline is to pop two balls per hour of activity to help meet your carbohydrate and calorie needs. You can also enjoy the balls prior to a workout to help fuel up for the task ahead.
The fresh mint seems like an odd addition, but it adds a splash of bright flavor to what can be the standard nut, seed, and dried-fruit energy food combo.
- Use oats labeled “gluten-free”
- Replace almonds with pecans
- Blend in sesame seeds instead of hemp seeds
- Swap out honey for brown rice syrup
- Use cashew butter or peanut butter instead of almond butter
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup raw almonds
- 1⁄3 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed or ground chia seed (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1⁄3 cup honey
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 1⁄3 cup chopped fresh mint
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1⁄3 cup mini–chocolate chips (optional)
Soak dates in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain and pat away excess moisture with paper towels.
Place dates, oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseed or chia (if using), cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor and blend until everything is finely chopped. Add honey, almond butter, mint, and vanilla and blend until the mixture sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Pulse in chocolate chips, if using.
Using slightly damp hands, roll mixture into 1-inch balls. You should have about 18 balls. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Adapted from Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Fuel for Sports and Adventure by Matthew Kadey, RD with permission of VeloPress.