The perfect pre-workout snack should be easily digestible, have a good nutrient profile, and ideally promote vasodilation and blood flow. These bars have you covered in all departments.
Any pre-exercise snack should also help trigger a positive feedback loop. Basically, the tastier it is, the more positive feelings you'll associate with your workouts. Every time you eat it, you'll know what's about to go down.
So let's get to the recipe, then keep scrolling because I'll tell you why these make an awesome pre-workout snack.
- 18 Medjool dates, pitted
- 6 Ounces rolled oats
- 6 Ounces of dark chocolate bar (70% cocoa or higher)
- 6 Ounces crunchy peanut butter
- 3 Scoops (90 grams) vanilla Metabolic Drive® Protein
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- Some chopped peanuts or hazelnuts for topping
- Soak the dates in warm water for 10 minutes so they plump and soften.
- In a food processor or blender, mix the oats, salt, and protein powder together until fine.
- Drain the dates then add to the food processor and blitz until well combined. Save the water from the dates for later just in case.
- Pour the dry-ish dough into a bowl and mix by hand with the peanut butter. You're welcome to use the processor for this, although this way keeps the crunchy peanut texture.
- You should find a dough has formed enough that you can easily roll it in your hands. If it's a little wet, then add more oats. If it's a little dry, add some of the drained date water you saved earlier.
- Get a small to medium cake pan ready. Don't have one? Use a food prep container instead. Coat it with a little oil so the bars are easier to remove, or line with it with parchment paper. Press the dough to the corners of the container and give it an even thickness. Put the container in the freezer while you prepare the dark chocolate.
- Chop up the chocolate and melt gradually in the microwave, or if you're fancy, do it in a glass bowl over boiling water.
- Bring out the container you just stuck in the freezer. Pour the chocolate evenly over the base, then add a sprinkle of chopped peanuts or hazelnuts over the top. Place in the refrigerator to set.
- Cut into 18 squares. Keep them stored in the fridge or at room temperature... if they last!
Make Them A Pre-Workout Snack
The natural caffeine and theobromine in dark chocolate act as mild stimulants, while the theobromine can also be a vasodilator. Dark chocolate also contains certain flavonoids that increase nitric oxide production. These convenient and tasty bars are perfect for any chocolate addict.
Metabolic Drive® Protein is the primary source of protein, which you need training for amino acid availability. But what's more important than the total protein content is the ratio of protein, carbs, and fats.
Unlike post-workout where keeping fats to a minimum should be your goal, in the few hours leading to your workout some fats could be a good thing. A 2014 study by Yi et al. showed an almond-based snack actually beat a carbohydrate-heavy snack for maximizing exercise performance. The almonds allowed the subjects (cyclists) to sustain a higher intensity of exercise for longer.
Theoretically this was due to the combination of protein and fat. The fat might allow people to sustain the energy obtained from carbs for a longer period of time – a drip-feed effect if you will. The peanuts in this recipe aid that process, whether you're lifting, cross training, or cycling.
The oats and medjool dates in these bars make for a great mix of sustainable energy too, with a little salt helping to maintain electrolyte balance.
Calories and Macros Per Square
- 233 calories
- 9 grams fat
- 29 grams carbs
- 9 grams protein
- 4 grams fiber