Over the last few months I’ve gotten into a semi-regular routine of running at dawn (or even pre-dawn, before Daylight Savings started again). In addition to the practical benefit of doing my run while my family sleeps, there is something very good for my soul about running at this time of day. The stars are crisply bright in the dark velvet sky. The miles slip by as the sky gradually lightens, almost as if they didn’t happen. The twitter of oh-so many-birds chattering in the dawn. Sometimes a glimpse of a gorgeous sunrise over the ocean. It is almost always cool (sometimes a little too chilly, warranting an immediate shower to get my hands functioning again), my ideal running temperature. I come home after these runs refreshed and ready for the day.
Because I am pretty much rolling out of bed and out the door, I only want a quick snack before I go. I’ve never been able to run on an empty stomach, and especially now that I’m pregnant (due at the end of October!), its important to have a little something. For awhile I was dipping a spoon in almond butter, coating it with chia seeds, and topping with a few bites of banana. However, that can be messy and isn’t very portable.
I really liked the Health warrior Chia bars, but I figured I could probably make something similar myself. Plus, my son loves anything Larabar-like that can be made in a food processor, so I thought it would be fun to make these with him. I looked up the ingredients on the internet, took a guess at the proportions, and made a few substitutions.
The first time I made these, I used almond butter instead of the nuts, and added in some puffed quinoa along with the chia seeds. But since most people don’t have puffed quinoa laying around
Chia Energy Bars
makes ~10-12 bars, depending on how you divide them
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup almonds or cashews (or nut butter)
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup dates or figs
2 pinches of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 banana (or add water a tablespoon at a time until its moist and sticks together)
1/2 cup chia seeds
Pulse oats, coconut and nuts in a food processor until fairly small (if you are using almond butter, wait to add it with the dates). Add dates, salt and vanilla, and whirl until well combined, then add the banana. (You want it to be sticking together and holding its shape). Dump into a bowl, and add the chia seeds. Once mixed, form into balls or roll out and cut. Store in the refrigerator.
*Ideas for Variations: Cacao powder for chocolate flavor. Other dried fruits. Add puffed quinoa (or crisp rice cereal?)