I’m back! After a whirlwind, emotional roller coaster celebrating my graduation last weekend, I am delighted to say that spending last Sunday away from my laptop has done me the power of good.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of hosting a sports nutrition workshop for Natare West London; a talented swim team of elite young athletes aged 10-18. As part of the workshop, the athletes and parents learnt how to make quick and easy energy balls as an excellent pre- or post-training snack to sustain energy levels throughout the day. These swimmers are clocking up nearly 14 hours of pool time per week, plus strength training and yoga, so ensuring that they are fuelling and refuelling optimally is essential to their health and success as a young athlete.
I am the first to admit that I am not reinventing the wheel when it comes to energy balls, however what I have done is create a recipe which does not require a food processor and focuses on simple and relatively inexpensive ingredients (no medjool dates required here!). The below recipe is also gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free! If you have a nut allergy, simply swap the nut butter for something like sunflower seed butter or tahini and the desiccated coconut for hulled hemp seeds.
Oats are a great source of slow release carbohydrates, beta glucans (thought to improve immune system function) and solube fibre, helping to optimise energy levels and balance blood sugar throughout the day. Chia and flaxseeds (aka linseed) are plentiful in omega 3s (anti-inflammatory) and plant based protein, with an added boost of protein and healthy fats from the almond butter.
By creating an easy to follow base recipe, you can swap in, remove or completely change the additional ingredients to create your own perfect energy balls; how about a chocolate mint combination, or a cookie dough creation?! The choice is yours; let me know what you create and please tag me @totolynourished in your photos. Happy snacking!
Ingredients (Base Recipe):
- 1 cup oats (I used gluten free)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
- 3 tbsp almond butter (or whichever nut butter you prefer)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2-3 tbsp water
For the carrot cake balls:
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Desiccated coconut for rolling
- Optional extras: chopped walnuts, dried apricots, sultanas
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds, flaxseeds, almond butter and maple syrup. Mix thoroughly.
- Add a little water, one tablespoon at a time, to loosen the mixture so that the chia and flaxseeds start to bind the mixture. This forms your base recipe and you can add whatever ingredients you like from this point on for future creations!
- Next, add the grated carrot and ground cinnamon, plus any additional ingredients you choose. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
- Create 12-14 evenly sized balls, then roll in desiccated coconut before placing on a plate or tray. Chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving. It’s really that simple!