Last week, Hubby and I went on an amazing 4-day hike in Tasmania. And whilst thinking about suitable food to take along, I realised that my usual daily morning coffee without any soy or rice milk readily on hand, would be a challenge. So I did some recipe testing and created these yummy healthy energy balls, with just 5 ingredients! Perfect for my brain to get its coffee hit and great for the body to get some fuel for a day of hiking. Oh, and with Easter in just a couple weeks, I shaped them into mini eggs too, just to get in early on the Easter spirit!
5 Healthy Ingredients
These energy balls are so easy to make and with just 5 health ingredients.
1. Raw Cacao Powder
- Also high in important nutrients for active people such as magnesium and iron, Raw Cacao Powder is the highest natural source of antioxidants. 1
- It is also very rich in flavanols which offer anti-inflammatory benefits. 2
- And with mood-boosting serotonin, dopamine and anandamide, and also containing phenylethylamine (PEA), cacao can elevate your mood and increase energy.
- Oats are a good whole grain source of carbohydrate for fuel, also offering quality protein with good nutritional value.
- They contain valuable micronutrients such as iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E and B group vitamins such as folate. 3 4
- Eating oats have been linked to health benefits associated with dietary fibres such as β-glucan, functional protein, lipid and starch components and the phytochemicals present in the oat grain. 5
3. Medjool dates
- Medjool dates are a natural source of energy, are high in fibre, rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc, and also contain B vitamins and vitamin K and A. 6
- They can be substituted as a non-refined sweetener, a healthier alternative to processed sugars.
- Hazelnuts are a nutrient rich source of folate, antioxidants, fibre, plant protein, healthy fats, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin E, copper, manganese and potassium. 7
- Although there is not much coffee per energy ball in this recipe, in general, coffee has been linked to enhancing athletic performance as a result of its caffeine content.
- Pure caffeine has been shown to help: 8
Coffee Cacao Healthy Energy Balls Recipe
- 2 tablespoons organic raw cacao powder
- 1 cup organic rolled oats
- 7 pitted Medjool dates
- 1/4 cup hazelnut meal
- 1 shot espresso coffee
- Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend together to form a sticky paste. Then simply shape into balls or any shape preference.
This recipe makes around 7 healthy energy balls or in this case, healthy mini “Easter Eggs“.
For other healthy recipes, check out the Nourish the Active page.
- Stephen J Crozier at al, Chemistry Central Journal 2011, ” Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products“. ↩
- Selmi C, Cocchi CA, Lanfredini M, Keen CL, Gershwin ME: “Chocolate at heart: The anti-inflammatory impact of cocoa flavanols”. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008, 52: 1340-8. 10.1002/mnfr.200700435. ↩
- Flander et al.LWT – Food Sci Technol. 2007;40:860–870 “Optimization of ingredients and baking process for improved wholemeal oat bread quality” ↩
- Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council https://www.glnc.org.au/grains-2/types-of-grains/oats/ ↩
- P.Rasane et al, J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Feb; 52(2): 662–675.
“Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review” ↩
- United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28, Basic Report: 09421, Dates, medjool ↩
- Nuts for Life https://www.nutsforlife.com.au/ ↩
- Spriet, L.L. Sports Med (2014) 44(Suppl 2): 175. ” Exercise and Sport Performance with Low Doses of Caffeine” ↩
- Rogério Santos de Oliveira Cruz et al, Open Access Nutrients 2015, 7(7), 5254-5264 “Caffeine Affects Time to Exhaustion and Substrate Oxidation during Cycling at Maximal Lactate Steady State” ↩
- Juan Del Coso et al, PLoS One. 2012; “7(2): e31380, “Effects of a Caffeine-Containing Energy Drink on Simulated Soccer Performance” ↩
- Carlos Puente et al, Nutrients 2017, 9(9), 1033 “Caffeine Improves Basketball Performance in Experienced Basketball Players” ↩
- Courtney S. Klein et al, Journal of Caffeine Research Volume: 2 Issue 3: January 2, 2013, “The Effect of Caffeine on Performance in Collegiate Tennis Players” ↩
- Mumford, Petey W et al, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2016 – Volume 48 – Issue 1 – p 132–138, “Effect of Caffeine on Golf Performance and Fatigue during a Competitive Tournament” ↩