Fuel your workouts with real food with these Long-Run Cherry Energy Bites! They are an easy vegan snack to make and provide great fuel for endurance workouts of all kinds. Eat them before, during, or after a workout for a delicious dose of carbs, sodium and potassium. I recently used Long-run Cherry Energy Bites to fuel a 22 mile ultramarathon training run.
Instead of gels, I ate a few cherry energy bites and they were PERFECT. The basic gist of an energy gel is to provide primarily carbs, sodium, and potassium, and to a lesser extent calcium and magnesium. Carbs for energy, and the rest for maintaining electrolyte balance so your muscles can continue to function. When I made these energy bites, I wanted to maintain those elements, focusing mainly on the carbohydrates, sodium and potassium.
Medjool dates contain simple sugars and natural carbs that will fuel long endurance events. They are very easy to digest, and packed with potassium, an essential electrolyte for running. Tart cherries are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. I add tart cherries to my post-run smoothies all the time, so I thought I’d add some into these bites as well.
Cashews and almonds are a great source of healthy fats and protein to sustain energy over longer periods of time. The oats help bind the other ingredients together, and also contain complex carbohydrates that are easy to digest. Finally, the cocoa powder is just a delicious addition. Because who doesn’t like having a tasty kick of chocolate after 3 hours of running?
All told, Long-Run Cherry Energy Bites contain roughly 110 calories per bite, 20g of carbohydrates, 85mg of potassium, and 40mg of sodium (according to MyFitnessPal). Despite the dates and tart cherries, they have minimal fiber.
Using these cherry energy bites to fuel your long runs is a great option if you have GI issues with some of the more processed gels. During ultramarathon training, I’m learning to fuel myself with real food; I need something more substantial than gels to get me though 50 miles! Long-run cherry energy bites are easy to carry and are a no-fuss fuel source that I can quickly pop into my mouth along the trails. I had absolutely no problem eating them on my 22 miler Saturday nor my 15 miler on Sunday.
Long-run Cherry Energy Bites
Making these cherry energy bites could not be easier.
First, soak the dates in warm water for about an hour, then drain and pit them. *The soaking step is optional, but I find that the dates are easier to process that way. Next, throw the pitted dates, tart cherries, oats, nuts, salt and cocoa powder into a food processor fitted with an S-blade. If including cinnamon and ginger add them too.
Then, pulse 4-5 times to initially chop up the ingredients, then grind on high speed until all the ingredients start to clump together. You begin to extract the oils from the nuts which helps bind the energy bites.
Once it looks like you could roll it into a ball that would stick, stop the food processor. Scoop about a tablespoon worth of mixture into your palm and roll into a ball. Alternatively, if you have a little melon scooper, which I’m not fancy enough to have but I envy those that do, you can use that.
Optional last step: Roll the cherry energy bites in dried unsweetened shredded coconut flakes to coat. Long-run Cherry Energy Bites can last in the fridge for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 6 months if properly stored. Use a glass container or squeeze all the air out of a ziploc bag.
Long-Run Energy Bites are a healthy vegan snack that can be enjoyed outside of exercise too! In just 15 minutes you have a healthy, portable, real food fuel option to energize your day.
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Long-Run Cherry Energy Bites
Long-Run Cherry Energy Bites make great real food to fuel your endurance events
* OPTIONAL step: Soak dates in hot water for at least 1 hour. Then remove the pits
Combine the pitted dates, tart cherries, almonds, cashews, oats, salt and cocoa powder in a food processor. *If using ginger and cinnamon add them here too. Pulse 4-5 times to initially chop up the ingredients, then grind on high speed until all the ingredients start to clump together.
Once it looks like you could roll it into a ball that would stick, stop the food processor. Using your hands or a melon scooper, shape about a tablespoon's worth of mixture into a ball.
Optional step: Roll the balls in dried unsweetened shredded coconut flakes to coat.
Place in an airtight glass tupperware. They can last for up to a week in the fridge or at least 4 months in the freezer.
* Soaking the dates makes them easier to process, however you can still make the bites without soaking them