By Sarah Orban, National Track Sprint Team member and Sorbs Cooking founder
What started as cooking for survival in university quickly turned into a passion for being in the kitchen. As a busy student-athlete, I knew that I would have limited time to cook throughout the day or evening after practice and that’s where meal prep came in. I decided to designate a couple of days each week to cook and portion food into containers. By doing this, I was ensuring nutritious eating habits, saving money by not resorting to eating out and saving time by not having to cook as often throughout the week. My main objective as an athlete is to make sure I am fueling my body properly, as we all know nutrition is easily one of the most important factors contributing to performance. Simply knowing what I am putting into my body and making sure that I am fueling it with the correct sources of energy it needs is truly what ignited my desire to cook meals for myself in the first place.
As I grew more familiar with how to operate in the kitchen, my cooking became more ambitious. Much of my inspiration comes from my mother’s cooking. Growing up in a house full of athletes (my brothers are both hockey players), my mom always had home-cooked meals on the table for us. Although my interest in cooking on my own didn’t start up until I moved out of the house for university, I developed a style of cooking similar to my mother’s; easy, homestyle cooking. Over time I began to explore more and more in the kitchen and realized I was always putting a unique twist on almost every recipe I was following.
After learning and experimenting with cooking out of necessity, I soon found out that those around me were quite enjoying the cooking. This became very obvious with some of the healthy treats I would make and share with family, friends and teammates. I started getting requests to share the recipes, and decided to create an Instagram food account called @sorbs_cooking (sorbs being my nickname on the soccer pitch) about three years ago. Now not only was I working towards my athletic goals, but I had discovered a hobby in the process. This account became an outlet for me and I started to take photos of the various meals and treats I would experiment with. Cooking has also allowed me to learn about different cuisine cultures and all the unique and delicious food around the world, which is something I have really enjoyed.
Lately, I’ve had some help enhancing the photo department for my food account. My boyfriend and teammate Nick Wammes has a very creative talent bringing my dishes to life with his photography skills and attention to detail. We have a great relationship: I create the food, he creates the photograph, and then he eats the food… It’s a great motivator for him and he makes me look good. It’s a win-win.
Below is a fan favorite recipe! A delicious snack that provides sustained energy. Easy to make and super adaptable if you have flavor preferences.
Protein Energy Bites: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
1.5 cups quick oats
½ cup ground flaxseed (excellent source of protein and omega 3)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup natural peanut butter (or any type of nut butter)
4 medjool dates
1/4 cup of honey or agave
2 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup cacao powder
Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
In a food processor or blender, add peanut butter, honey, maple syrup and dates. Pulse until ingredients are well combined. If making without a food processor, chop the dates finely and mix all of the wet ingredients together in a large sized bowl.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon. You may also need to use your hands work the dough.
Roll into balls using a teaspoon to make a consistent size. *It helps to form the balls if your hands stay clean and wet. Keep a bowl of water next to you while rolling them! I usually take the bowl with me to the kitchen table to roll the balls!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Enjoy
Note: These are all about finding the perfect consistency so the measurements are just a guideline. If they are too mushy and soft add more oats, or if it is too crumbly add more honey or maple syrup. They should be sticky enough to form balls.