Go Faster Food Recipe
Chia Seed Energy Balls
These chia seed energy balls are packed with goodness, yet taste delicious! They are pretty much indestructible, so perfect to transport on bike rides and long walks.
So what are chia seeds?
I’ve been playing about with chia seeds for a few weeks now and they appear to be the superfood of all superfoods! Testing out the new Mizuno Evos (Cursoris and Levitas) running shoes got me thinking about barefoot running, particularly the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico, who run for enormous distances (100′s of miles!) with the most minimal of footwear. Of course, I wanted to know what these runners ate to fuel this incredible power. Chia! Often called ‘the running food’, chia is a staple of the Tarahamura diet, said to provide energy to sustain these runners through their ‘superhuman’ running feats. Many UK readers won’t have heard of these seeds yet, but they are a massive craze in the US, popular since the launch of Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, and are now available in the UK on-line and in Holland & Barrett stores.
Why are they so healthy?
Fairly bland in taste, these seeds contain more omega-3 than salmon, are a complete source of protein, high in fibre and packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E, and minerals (heaps of calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium ).
What’s in 100g of chia?
- Protein: 21g
- Fat: 31g
- Carbohydrate: 41.8g
- (of which fibre is 41.2g)
- Calcium: 714mg
- Iron: 16.4mg
- Niacin (B3): 613mg
- Thiamine (B1): 0.18mg
- Riboflavin (B2): 0.04mg
- Magnesium: 440mg
- Phosphorous: 933mg
The recommended daily amount is no more than 1 tablespoon as they are so high in fibre, so although they may appear expensive, a little goes a long way.
How should I eat Chia?
I’ve only tried the ground chia seeds so far. These have virtually no taste and can be sprinkled onto cereal, added to smoothies or included in recipes such as these energy balls or cakes and bread (recipe for chia banana, choc chip and hazelnut bread to follow soon). Chia forms a gel when added to liquid, so can be used quite effectively as a thickener for soups and stews, and even as an alternative to egg, as a binder (for instance for burgers, fishcakes etc).
Combined with dried fruit and other seeds, as they are in these energy balls, you’ve got a really wholesome balanced snack, packed with essential minerals, carbs, protein, plus simple sugars to replenish depleted energy stores and revitalise the body. The sesame seeds add a tasty crunch.
You can play around with the ingredients here; we like a combination of dried cranberries, figs and walnuts too. If you don’t like sesame seeds, then finely chopped sunflower seeds work nicely as an alternative.
Please contact me by facebook or twitter or via email@example.com if you’ve tried using chia and have a favourite way of eating it. I’d be really interested to hear your view on this unusual ingredient.
Why not follow the rest of the #evo testing team on twitter. Inspirational people, marathon and ultra marathon runners, coaches, physios etc all with a mountain of experience and opinions:
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Nutrition per serving
- Energy (kcal) 44
- Carbohydrate (g) 6.2 (Of which sugars (g) 4.3)
- Protein (g)1.2
- Fat (g) 2.1 (Of which saturates (g)0)
- Salt (g) 0.25
Ingredients to make 20 balls
- 50g soft, pitted dates, chopped
- 60g soft dried apricots, chopped
- 80g sultanas
- 20g hemp seeds
- 40g pumpkin seeds
- 20g sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp ground chia seeds
- 1 dessertspoon runny honey
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Place all the ingredients except the honey and the sesame seeds into a food processor and whizz until everything is finely chopped and sticking together.
- Add the honey and combine.
- Roll into small balls, about 1 ½ cm in diameter,
- Pour the sesame seeds into a small bowl and then roll each ball in the sesame seeds to cover completely.
- These keep for several weeks, stored in a plastic bag or airtight container.