One hallmark of triathlon training is the early morning workout. It’s just math – if you have to fit in a 2 hour workout before work, you’re going to be starting around 5 am. This leads to stories of pre-workout nutrition woe from triathletes everywhere – glycogen stores are partially depleted from overnight, but few can stomach the idea of a full breakfast mere minutes before hopping on the bike for 90-120 minutes.
So what to do?
Listen, you’re talking to the woman who once ate an entire Snickers bar in the middle of an 80 minute lactate threshold set at swim practice and experienced no stomach troubles whatsoever – none. So I may not be the best to speak on this topic, but I can give you a recipe for some energy balls that taste like peanut butter cookie dough.
Even though they taste like cookie dough, they’re made from some nutritionally solid ingredients that will help you during your obscenely early morning workout.
Dates for easy to digest carbohydrates.
Peanut flour for a bit of protein to give you sustained energy.
Peanut flour? Am I nuts? (yuk yuk yuk) No, this stuff is awesome for baking AND upping your protein intake in a serious way, without adding as much fat as plain peanut butter. You can order it here and enjoy the protein-packed goodness anywhere.
Yes, yes, we all need fat…which is why I eat almonds and dark chocolate. If you want to make this with normal peanut butter, just use 1 1/4 cups of it. Your balls will have more fat and less protein but will still be delicious.
Moving right along, there’s one other key thing needed to make these delicious energy balls: a food processor.
Don’t have a food processor? Don’t worry, you can still make these. Here’s how:
Get a food processor. Then gather your ingredients and get to work.
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Energy Balls (Yields 40)
1 pound dates, pitted
1 ½ cups peanut flour*
1/2 cup water*
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
*Replace peanut flour and water with 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter if desired.
Run dates through a food processor until a paste forms. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients until smooth, add to date paste in food processor and process until uniform. Refrigerate 1 hour, then roll into 40 ¾” balls.
Each ball boasts 3 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbohydrates, and half a gram of fat if the peanut flour recipe is used.
And a ton of cookie-dough-like goodness.