The research keeps on piling up showing that beets are indeed a vegetable athletes should be eating more often. For example, a new study suggests that adding beets to your post-workout nutrition plan could aid in recovery by lowering muscle pain following exercise. Other investigations have found that naturally occurring nitrates in beets can improve the efficiency that working muscles use oxygen thereby leading to better endurance.
Exercise boosting powers aside, I’ve always had a major fondness for beets. It’s likely their engrained sweetness that wins me over. Which means I’m always looking for ways to work them into functional fuel for active bodies. That’s where these great balls of energy come in. They have just the right amount of sweetness without tasting too, well, beety. They are sure to become a regular part of my fueling routine, and I hope yours too.
Red Energy Balls
1/2 pound beet (about 1 medium-large), peeled and chopped
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
1/3 cup dried coconut
2 tablespoons honey
Zest of 1 medium orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Place beets in a microwave safe dish, add 1 tablespoon water, cover and microwave on High for 4 minutes. Stir, and continue microwaving until beets are fork tender, about 4 to 5 minutes more.
Place oats and walnuts in a food processor container and process until pulverized. Add beets, dates, hemp seeds, honey, orange zest, cinnamon and a couple pinches salt. Blend until mixture sticks together. Pulse in mini chocolate chips if using.
Roll mixture into 1-inch balls. (roll in coconut if you wish) You should get about 20 balls. Place in refrigerator to chill and firm up. They will be quite moist when first rolled.