Cherry Ripe trail bars

I’m a big fan of keeping things simple. I guess it’s one of the things I like about running, it’s pretty straight forward – right, left, repeat. It does get more complicated than that at times, but as a general rule, you don’t need much kit and you can get somewhere without too much hassle. When you are running longer distances, things naturally become a bit more complicated. Where can I get a drink of water, do I need to carry a jacket or a phone or something to eat? Of course, we runners refer to the former as ‘hydration’ and the latter as ‘nutrition’, but it all means the same thing, water and food. There’s a vast array of awesome products on the market that fall under the category of ‘nutrition’ for runners. They come in all shapes and sizes and meet the specific needs of different groups like vegetarians, vegans and paleo people. ‘Nutrition’ is now readily available, you can get Power Bars and all sort of things at Coles or Aldi. Bars generally have a good amount of energy per serve and are easy to carry on your runs. Energy bars though are generally not cheap and you have to check the ingredients. An energy bar packed with ‘carbohydrate fuel’ can easily cost three or four dollars and can contain a load of everyone’s current enemy number 1, sugar. Sugar is so evil right now. They even teach the kids at kindergarten like my son Joshua that unless food has natural sugar, it’s bad. Some kindergartens will even send the evil morning tea home to the negligent parents. I personally think it’s a good message to get to the kids at an early age, but it can create challenges for some parents who are a bit time poor.

I’ve been experimenting with some different bars that would work as good running fuel. The rules for these things are generally straight forward – it has to be easy to make, have good ingredients, be easy to transport and easy to get down when you’re on the go. I find that dates make an excellent base for most of these bars. Dates are tasty, cheap and easy to use and form the basis for Cherry Ripe trail bars.

Cherry Ripe trail bars

Cherry Ripe trail bars

Ingredients – 250gm dates, 125 grams of coconut, 200 grams of glace cherries, 2 tbs cocoa.

Method – blitz the dates in your Thermo or food processor at high speed for about 30 seconds or until they form a paste. Add the coconut and cherries and blitz on pulse a couple of times until they mix in, not too much or the cherries go to mush. Pour it all in a loaf tin lined with paper, push it down flat and bung it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Cut into slices. Keep them frozen or in the fridge.

As well as being killer trail food, this is an awesome recipe if you have to take something for morning tea to work and haven’t been to the shops or if you are trying to impress a lactose intolerant, gluten-free vegan. You can knock it up in the morning before you go to work in a couple of minutes. To carry them when you run, wrap them in alfoil or put them in a ziplock. Enjoy!