Happy Friday, friends!
I don’t know about you, but I am ready for spring. Our weather in Iowa has been teasing us a little. We’ve had several gorgeous 60 degree days with bright sunshine. On those days Paul and I have busted out the grill! Not only do I love grilling and the smell of food cooking outside, but it also gives me an excuse to relax. Paul doesn’t do much cooking, but he does enjoy grilling! This makes me very happy! This week, we are supposed to have a lot of rain and possibly a little snow! Ugh, I am not happy about this. But I know the snow won’t stick around for much longer.
One of the big reasons I am looking forward to warmer spring weather is to not have to put on layers and more layers when I go for my morning run. I mean, the pants with sweatpants over them, the undershirt with running jacket over top, the hat, the mittens. I feel exhausted before I have even gone on my run, just from getting dressed. I can’t wait to throw on a tank top, shorts, and my running shoes, and out the door we go! Ahh such freedom!
You guys! This winter I made a commitment to maintain my morning runs, and guess what! I did it! I consistently ran 1 to 2 times a week, minus the few weeks I was sick, and a few weeks that were freezing -but those don’t count – but hey, I am happy with myself! I have to admit I chose a pretty good winter to start maintaining my running; it was pretty mild. But if I say so myself, this is still pretty darn good, coming from a girl who a year ago hated running, and who has always hated being cold. With getting outside and running on a regular basis this winter, I noticed that I didn’t get as seasonally depressed during the winter as I normally tend to. This made winter life so much more fun, and totally worth putting on all of those layers of clothing to go for a run.
Last August I shared a little bit about how I went from hating running to loving it in my post for Chai Spiced Raw Energy Balls, which are a perfect pre or post-workout snack. With spring approaching, I decided it was time for another variation of some energy balls. Because hello, blueberries, the perfect springtime workout snack!
Trust me, I get it. You wake up in the morning, you want to go on a run, or lift some weights, or swim some laps, or go to the gym to get your heart rate up and work up a good sweat. You want to start your day off right by releasing some feel-good endorphins and kick-start your metabolism. But you wake up and your tummy is grumbling, yet you want to get your workout in first thing, before anything else gets in your way, before breakfast. You need something small so your food isn’t sloshy in your stomach – I feel you runners – and you need something with a little protein, healthy fats, and just the right amount of sugar to feed all those hard working muscles! It needs to be quick, something you can grab from the fridge and pop in your mouth as you do your stretches, or lace up your shoes, or head out the door. A protein shake or a smoothie is too messy, too much work. You don’t want to create a mess. No distractions!
I’ve got you covered. Make some energy balls ahead of time, store them in your fridge, grab and go. These Blueberry Almond Energy Balls are a perfect springtime pre-workout snack. They are bursting with sweet blueberry and almond flavor. One ball has 2.4 grams protein, 11.5 grams carbs, and 2.4 grams dietary fiber. Perfect proportions to give you energy!
They are simple to make, and only require 9 ingredients, and just a few minutes to whiz up in the food processor! Chill, then roll them into cute little balls – portion control FTW! Then they are waiting for you whenever you need to grab one or two for a pre or post-workout snack. OR for when you are needing a little pick-me-up at 3:00.
No more excuses, my friends, get moving! The weather is warming up and these Blueberry Almond Energy Balls are there for you!
- ½ cup dried blueberries
- 3 to 5 medjool dates, pitted
- 1½ cups almonds (I used slivered almonds, but whole almonds would also work).
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened, natural almond butter
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- Soak the dried blueberries and dates in hot water for 10 minutes to soften. Set aside.
- While the blueberries and dates are soaking pulse the almonds, shredded coconut, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor until the nuts reach the consistency of fine meal. Be careful not to process the nuts too long, otherwise they will turn into butter. Transfer the almond meal into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Drain the blueberries and dates from their soaking liquid. Add them to the now empty food processor. Pulse until the blueberries and dates have turned into a paste, or until small bits remain.
- Add the almond nut mixture back into the food processor, along with the vanilla extract, almond butter, and optional almond extract. Process all of the ingredients together until they come together and are well incorporated, scraping down sides as needed. The batter should be pretty sticky when you pinch it between your fingers. If it seems dry add an extra tablespoon or more of almond butter.
- Return the batter to the mixing bowl. Cover and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, or the fridge for 1 hour, or until the batter is well chilled. I know this sounds like an unnecessary step, but trust me, a well chilled batter prevents you from having very sticky hands and being very frustrated when rolling them into balls.
- Once the batter has had enough time to chill use your hands to gently shape them into tablespoon-sized balls. I find it's easiest to use the palm of my hand to squeeze the batter together to get it to stick and then gently shape them into a more uniform ball. You should have about 20 balls.
- Store the balls in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 1 week, or in the freezer for longer. They tend to crumble when left at room temperature too long, so they are best kept in the fridge and are not ideal for travel.
Nutrition Facts are based off of 1 energy ball.