Kate’s running balls – a recipe

If you’ve been into my consultation room lately you’ll probably remember seeing my running event medals hanging in amongst my ‘wall of nerd’ framed academic certificates. I like to think that these medals make me appear to be a well rounded person, not just a nerd, but the truth is I’m quite a mediocre runner, a plodder, but I really enjoy it and I love the chance to finish an event where I’m rewarded with a medal. Pictured above are Paul and I with our spoils after the 14km Brisbane City2South in June last year, where Paul scored a massive PB (on his birthday!), and then had to wait another 18 minutes for me to finish! If you look closely at the ‘RUN’ sign, taken in Olympic Park in London on a visit a few years ago, you’ll see examples of some terrible running form. The bottom right picture is the result of this recipe!

Whether you’re training for a marathon, or just having a busy week, you need to keep up your energy! The last time we trained for a marathon, two years ago, we were necking high sugar energy gels on our long runs, but neither of us tolerated them well. Instead, I was keen to find an alternative made from real food - my ‘running balls’ are an adaptation of a rum ball recipe I first tried at Christmas and can be made into the latter through the addition of 1 tbsp of rum - I used the delicious Bundaberg Royal Liquer (chocolate and coffee flavour - and QLD made!) for mine. Roll them in dessicated coconut once you’ve formed them for extra Christmas cheer.

These running balls are gluten, grain and dairy free and low-ish in sugar. They’re packed full of good fats with the macadamia nuts and coconut oil for slow burn energy. If you’re more tolerant of sugar than me (which is probably most people), you’ll like them as a snack with your morning coffee. I munch on one of these before a long run and have another every several km along the way, instead of the energy gels I used to eat. By the time I get to the third one, though, they’re getting pretty mushy in the Brisbane heat!

1 cup macadamia
1 cup pitted dates
2 cups shredded coconut
1 heaped tbsp cacao powder
50g melted coconut oil
Stevia to taste (I use 1-2 tbsp as the dates are sweet enough)

Throw everything into your food processor and process until well combined. Spoon out a dessert spoon sized volume of the mixture into your hands and form into tight balls with some decent squeeze pressure - you should make around 16. Pop into the fridge when you’re done.

These will get melty and soft if out of the fridge for longer than an hour, depending on the temperature, so could work as a morning tea lunchbox treat. I’m happy to report that they are teenager approved as well.

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About Kate

Dr Kate Gifford is a clinical optometrist, researcher, peer educator and professional leader, and a co-founder of Myopia Profile and the My Kids Vision websites. In her spare time she is also a slow-and-steady runner, aspiring triathlete and dark chocolate addict.