I finally got back into running now that it’s warm again (goodbye cold, boring, can’t-do-anything-but-be-inside winter)! It feels so good to get back into it and to be active and enjoying the outdoors.
My favorite time to go for a run is in the early morning when the sun is just coming up. It’s so beautiful and serene. And as Daniel and I are early risers, this works out nicely. Now normally in the morning, we have quite the routine. Yeah, we may be the epitome of routine people (we’re very well known for having an outrageously early bedtime). The alarm goes off at 5:15, we drink our coffee, and always eat breakfast at 6:00. I realized though that in order to not be sick from running on a full stomach, I’d need to break away from this routine…just slightly. Yeah, it actually felt weird. Because we’ve been doing it aaaall winter long.
So I wasn’t going to eat a full breakfast at the usual time. But I still needed something to give me energy to get me through my run…
[Enter the energy bar]
Yep. These bars were just what I needed in the mornings before my run (and as I later found out, for a daytime snack…and bedtime snack…and basically anytime I had the urge to devour some more chewy, chocolatey, goodness).
When I did a search for energy bars, I came across this recipe from The Minimalist Baker, which I adapted slightly. I added 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder which makes these energy bars absolutely addicting!
You can also eat these guilt-free, as all the ingredients are simple and healthy. The chia seeds give an extra dose of fiber and protein. And the honey and dates act as natural sweeteners (if you’re like me and don’t like things too sweet, don’t worry…the cocoa powder tones down the sweetness). Honey is an awesome alternative for other sweeteners because it has a lower glycemic index, meaning instead of spiking your blood sugar, it raises it gradually. Which makes it a great component to these pre-run energy bars because the sugar helps to fuel your muscles later on while your’e running!
No-Bake Cocoa Energy Bars
(adapted from The Minimalist Baker’s 5-ingredient granola bars)
1 cup medjool dates
1/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup walnuts or almonds, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
- Chop the dates in a food processor until thoroughly processed (they should form into a ball).
- Add the nut butter, honey, cocoa powder, and cinnamon to a small saucepan and warm over low heat.
- Combine the nuts, rolled oats, chia seeds, and dates in a bowl.
- Pour the warmed nut butter and honey over the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined, mashing the dates to disperse evenly.
- Press into a 9×9 square pan lined with parchment paper and chill in the freezer for about an hour.
- When firm, cut into 12 bars and store in the fridge. Enjoy!