Gnarly Energy Bites

Racing expert
More from this author

This is my go to snack for pre-workout fuel.  They’re quick to make, hard to mess up, fairly nutrient dense and generally delicious (2 year old approved).  I’ve done a hundred variations, but have shared the basic recipe here.  The recipe below is gluten and dairy free (if your oats are certified gluten free), but you can also make these grain free by replacing all of the oats with nut flour or potentially flax seed.

Why this recipe is good fuel:

Dates – Simple carbohydrates, quick energy

Oats – Good source of fiber and iron and slower to digest carbs

Coconut – Good source of medium chain triglycerides (easy to digest fats that even your brain can use as fuel)

Gnarly Vegan Vanilla Protein – Good source of protein, fat, fiber, and vitamins/minerals

Chia – Good source of omega 3 fatty acids


12-15 pitted medjool dates (if your dates are dry soak them in water for 10 minutes before using)

1 cup of rolled oats

1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut (flaked or shredded)

2-3 scoops Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder (also great with chocolate)

2-3 Tbsp chia

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (dairy free if you care)

¼- ½ cup water (added last and slowly)

Other yummy bits to add in:  Espresso powder, chopped pistachios, sunflower seeds, hemp seed, dried tart cherries or other dried fruit

Put everything BUT the water and chocolate chips into the food processor.  Process until mixture is well blended.  Depending on how dry your dates are, the mixture may or may not start to form a ball at this point.  If your mixture hasn’t started to gather together into a large ball, GRADUALLY add a little bit of water until you see the mixture start to take form. The key is being sure you balance out the wet ingredients with the dry, in order to end up with a mixture that will hold together, but is not too sticky.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold the chocolate chips in with a spatula (add any other extra bits in here as well). Once the added bits are well distributed, either roll the mixture into individual balls of your size liking (we go for a good Tbsp size in our house), or press the mixture into a pan, to cut into bars later.  These will firm up after some time in the fridge.