Fruit & Nut Balls: Run-fuel, Kid-fuel

For the past year or so I've been using commercial energy bars as quick, portable nutrition on my long runs (anything over 8 miles or so). I was just about to fork out more money to buy some more of my favorites online (I like Bearded Brothers Mega Maca Chocolate as well as Picky Bars Mix packs), when it occurred to me that perhaps I could make my own fuel. Basically I'd need fruit for sugar/energy, plus some protein like nuts. My recipe below is based on my mother's excellent fruit & nut balls that I've been enjoying for years. Mostly I just added superfood goji berries!

  • 1/2 cup organic raisins
  • 8 dates, pits removed
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup dried goji berries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  1. Place the raisins, dates, pepitas, and apricots in a food processor and blend until an oatmealish consistency--about a minute. In some food processors the mixture will start to form a ball and circulate in one mass, that's a good time to stop.
  2. Add the almond butter and goji berries. Process for about 20 seconds and check. You're looking to just blend in almond butter but not chop up the goji berries too much. Continue to process in short bursts if needed.
  3. Spread 1/2 cup coconut flakes on a plate. Pull walnut sized lumps of the fruit and nut mixture from the food processor, roll into a ball, and roll the ball in the coconut to loosely coat it. 
I like to collect the balls in a plastic container and sprinkle extra coconut over all for storage. This recipe makes about a dozen. Give the container a little shake before opening to reattach some coconut.

I'm trying these out on my long runs as little bites to carry wrapped up in my pocket. Bonus: my children love them too as anytime snacks!

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