There is so much talk these days about the best nutrition plan for achieving optimal physical performance. Recently the Globe and Mail published an article about the McRunner. So, some dude ran a personal best and finished in the top 30 at the LA Marathon, while sustaining himself only on a diet of processed food from McDonalds. The thought of this started to make my stomach churn but it did get me to thinking about the so-called “optimal” diet for all athletes at all levels and from all walks of life.
There are all sorts of diet books, performance formulas, gels and protein shakes out there, that it seems that we are playing a game of cat and mouse with our body and our nutrition. We constantly exchange tips, try other others’ winning recipes but ultimately the only thing that matters is what works for you and your body chemistry.
All I can say for myself is that I would much rather toy with natural ingredients and whole foods to come up with something that works for me. That is how these energy rolls came to be. So far I have only tried these pre and post training, but they are tasty, easy to eat and don’t require any prep before I run out the door. I hope you give these a try and if they don’t fit your training ritual then that’s okay too, At least at the end of the day you have a tasty treat to munch on!
Cacao-Nut Energy Roll
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 16-18 dates (depending on size and freshness)
- 1-2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp raw cacao nibs
- ¼ cup raw nut of choice, chopped (I used cashews)
- 3-4 tbsp raw nut butter of choice (I used cashew butter)
- Pinch of salt
In a food processor, finely grind the almonds and set aside in a mixing bowl. Combine the dates with 1 tbsp water and process until smooth. If your dates are a dry you may need to add another tablespoon water to help form a paste. Careful not to add too much water or else you will end up with a roll that is too soft to cut into discs.
Using a spatula, add the date paste to the ground almonds in the mixing bowl. Add the cacao powder, nibs and pinch of salt. Stir to blend well and ingredients should combine to form a stiff dough of sorts.
Place the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper and using a pastry roll (or a bottle), flatten out the mixture into a rectangular shape. Spread the nut butter and sprinkle the chopped nuts.
Using the parchment paper, roll over the dough to create a log. Tuck in the ends and press down to remove any potential air bubbles. Freeze for about an hour before slicing into discs about 1.5 cm thick.
I usually make this in large quantities, slice and keep in the freezer, so that I always have some ready to go – they only take a couple minutes to defrost.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you have any homemade training recipes, please share!