As Autumn days are getting shorter and shorter, planning for time on the trail begins to feel cramped. Whether hitting the road for an overnight trip or sneaking in a quick few miles after work, this season calls for extra planning and quick preparation.
These no-bake snacks are packed with protein and quick calories, and are both handy to stash in your hip-belt and full of warm, comforting fall flavors.
Gather up these ingredients to get started:
- 1 ½ cups dried dates (pitted)
- 1 ½ cups dried apricots
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 2 TBSP protein powder of choice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Sprinkle of salt
- One squirt honey/agave nectar
- ⅓ cup chopped nuts, other dried fruits or chocolate chips *optional*
In a food processor, blend dates, apricot, honey or agave nectar and coconut oil until no large pieces remain. Add ¼ cup of the shredded coconut, a tablespoon of water, and all the dry ingredients. Blend until fully incorporated. Take the lid off of your food processor and pinch a piece of the dough. If it crumbles, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is pliable but strong.
Next, cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or line a reusable container with parchment. Using a tablespoon, measure the dough and roll each tablespoon into a ball. Coat the balls with your remaining shredded coconut, and place on the parchment paper with space between each ball.
Freeze for at least two hours to set the bites. These bites can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks, and are easy to pack on the go!<
Notes and Variations
To really enhance the fall flavors, try using a vanilla or chai flavored protein powder.
Beware that different protein powders will behave differently in the dough, so it is important to do the pinch-test and add more water if necessary. Vegan and vegetarian protein powders, like pea protein, will soak up moisture from the balls and cause them to dry out. Dry bites will crumble- and crumbling could cause problems in your backpack and troublesome eating on-the-go.
As is, each bite will contain about 50 calories. Coconut oil is a simple way to keep loading in more calories, with 120 calories per tablespoon. Slightly reduce the amount of water and increase coconut oil to make the balls do double duty as a way to stay warm and energized on the trail.
For extra health benefits, try a few of these easy add-ins:
- Flax seeds (omega-3’s)
- Dried goji berries (antioxidants)
- Nut butter (additional calories and protein)
- Cacao powder (energy and… well… joy)
- Chia seeds (protein, nutrients and fiber)
As with many trail foods, these are best enjoyed with a warm thermos of tea, coffee or cocoa with a view of changing leaves. Enjoy the beautiful shoulder season, and munch away!