No one wants a grumbly tummy halfway through their run, but timing your nutrition before your runs can be challenging when you’re trying to fit them around a busy schedule. These chocolate chip, peanut butter and oat balls require no baking and are the perfect snack to sneak in right before you head out the door. So whether you’re an early morning pavement pounder, a lunchtime hero or an after-work warrior, they’ll help keep you fueled until your next meal.
If the idea of making your own snacks sounds like a hassle, fear not: these tasty treats contain only five ingredients and don’t require any special equipment. All you need is a bowl, a spatula and your own two hands. (They’re also very easy to customize to individual tastes.)
The primary ingredients are:
- Chocolate Chips
- Peanut Butter
Not a banana fan? Leave it out and increase the amount of peanut butter and honey. Want a vegan option? Swap in maple syrup for the honey and carob chips for the chocolate chips. You can also try different nut butters and add all sorts of fun things into the mix, such as dried cranberries, chia seeds, flax seeds, chopped walnuts or anything else you’ve got in the cupboard. Be sure to check out the “optional add-ins” section for more great ideas.
Nutrition for runners: race fuel and recovery drinks
These snacks take less than 30 minutes to make and can be kept in your freezer for up to a month. They’re a great alternative to store-bought snacks, but keep in mind that they don’t travel as well as packaged goodies, so they won’t make the best pack-and-carry fuel on a long trail run.
Check out the recipe below. Happy snacking!
1 ripe banana, peeled *see note, below
⅔ cup smooth all-natural peanut butter *see note
⅔ cup honey (for a vegan alternative, use maple syrup)
4 + 1 cups instant or small-flake oats *see note
½ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (for a vegan alternative to milk chocolate chips, use carbo chips)
A pinch of salt
- In a large bowl, mash the banana until there are very few chunks left. Add the peanut butter and honey and whisk until smooth.
- Add 4 cups of oats (reserving the last cup for later), chocolate chips and salt.
- Mix thoroughly with a spatula, making sure to scrape along the bottom so there are no dry sections.
- If the mixture is very wet, add the final cup of oats, ¼ cup at a time, stirring thoroughly after each addition. The mixture should be sticky enough that it holds together when you pinch it between your fingers, but not so sticky that it leaves a lot of residue on your hands.
- Line a baking tray or large plate with wax paper. Wet your hands slightly with cool water and take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture into your hands. Roll it into a ball between your palms, gently squeezing it to ensure it sticks together. Each ball should be about the size of a golf ball.
- Place each ball onto your baking sheet and freeze for at least an hour. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to a sealed plastic bag or container to stay fresh.
Optional add-ins *see note
Dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, etc.)
Nuts (peanuts, walnuts, pecans, etc.)
ground flax seeds
Banana: If you choose to leave out the banana, increase the liquid ingredients by about ⅓ cup (more honey, more peanut butter, or a mix of both)
Peanutbutter: Feel free to use regular (not all-natural) peanut butter, but the consistency may be different and you may have to adjust your dry ingredient ratios.
Oats: These work best with instant oats, because large-flake oats don’t stick together as well. If you only have large-flake oats, pulse them in a blender or food processor a few times first.
add-ins: Keep in mind that too many large chunks will make it more difficult for the dough to stick together. Use small pieces of nuts, fruits, etc. and don’t add too much.