When is the best time to eat Bliss Balls?
Whilst they are a great source of nutrients, we need to remember that most energy balls/bliss balls etc are made from dried fruit, nuts and seeds, coconut and occasionally protein powder, which makes them energy-dense, hence the name.
- Any exercise, which is 60-90 mins or more in duration where you would normally need to top up the fuel, stores. For example, they are a great substitute on those longer weekend rides to break up the intake of gels and sports foods.
- They are also a great pre-training/race snack for those that need a carb source before exercising. Just remember not everyone has the same gut tolerance to dried fruits and nuts so always practice your nutrition around training sessions before trying it before a race or competition.
- In a non-sporting setting, 1 natural energy boost ball + a herbal tea is a great substitute for the traditional tea and biscuits around the afternoon energy crash.
- They can also be a great energy dense snack for kids; they love the small round size that fits in their little hands and the sweetness of the dates. Just substitute the nuts and almond meal for seeds if the childcare centre/school does not permit nuts.
When not to have an energy ball?
- In a racing situation that is 2 hours or longer in duration an energy ball may not be the best source of carbohydrate delivery. In this scenario your body needs a mixture of different carbs, which we often obtained in the form of single and multiple transportable carbohydrates in sports foods. Because the carbs in energy balls (the dates) are consumed with protein and fat (the coconut, nuts, seeds and WPI) their digestion is slowed, meaning we may not get energy to the muscle as swiftly as what we need for performance. In a training situation the emphasis on carbohydrate timing is not as important as the intensity is generally lower.
- Snacking mindlessly on moorish energy balls can be unforgiving on our energy budget and hence our waste lines.
- If you are following a FODMAP diet, dates are high in Oligo-fructans and should be avoided until the end of the 6 weeks of FODMAPS.
- As a dessert before bed. For the general population, there is no need for a whack of energy/carbohydrates before bed time, unless you plan on running in your sleep. If you are seeking a sweet treat after dinner, aim for a protein based treat such as natural yoghurt and berries.
Do you have a great bliss ball recipe? Please share in the comments below!