Peanut Butter Pretzel Date Balls with Sea Salt

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This time last year, I was not a runner. This Sunday, I’m running my second ½ marathon. One of the main reasons that I started running was to understand athletes’ struggles with nutrition. I think it will make me a better at giving advice having experienced some of these struggles firsthand. Undoubtedly, one of the most important aspects of running long distances is learning about proper nutrition. My diet consists of many vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and vegetarian proteins. While these foods are very healthy, they are also very fibrous. Any athlete will tell you that too much fiber before running or competition can cause stomach issues. I’ve learned this the hard way. Instead, runners and athletes need foods that are rich in carbohydrates and nutrient dense, but not too fibrous. Dates are one of the best foods to fit this criteria. These Peanut Butter Pretzel Date Balls are perfect to eat ½ hour to 1 hour before a run. They will definitely give you fuel for your run or any type of vigorous activity, and they also tastes fantastic. IMG_3031

Makes 10 balls

Ingredients:

10 pitted dates

2 tablespoons of peanut butter

2 tablespoons of water

a handful of pretzels

dash of salt

Directions:

  • Place pretzels in food processor and grind until crumbs are formed. Set aside.
  • Put dates, peanut butter, and water in food processor and grind until it’s a smooth mixture.
  • Take date-peanut butter mixture out of food processor and make small 2-3 inch balls.
  • Once all the balls are made, roll them in pretzel crumbs and place on baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle sea salt on each ball.
  • Place in refrigerator to cool for about half an hour or longer.
  • Eat ½ hour to 1 hour before a run or any vigorous exercise!

Nutrition Notes:

  • Dates are high in carbohydrates and natural sugar, which are the major fuel sources for running. The body relies on stored sugar in the form of glycogen and sugar from carbohydrate ingestion for prolonged physical activity.
  • While dates give the body the sugar it needs to perform exercise, they also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium and potassium.
  • Pretzels are the perfect snack for runners because they provide carbohydrates and sodium. Your body loses both of these things while running and sweating.

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