Jason Koop’s Secret Rice Ball Recipe: A Go-To Favorite for Endurance Athletes

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One of the greatest truths about sports nutrition is that even the best foods are useless if they stay in your pocket. You have to put those calories, electrolytes, and fluids into your body for them to do you any good. That means you have to like how they taste, how they smell, how they feel in your mouth, and how easy they are to unwrap and get down your throat. When I was a novice endurance athlete, I loved Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and one of my early experiments in sports nutrition was to cram three or four into a sandwich bag and squeeze them out a corner, as you would a carbohydrate gel. My tastes and my cooking skills have improved since then, and I developed two variations of a rice ball that meet the during-workout and during-competition nutrition guidelines in this chapter and have the taste, texture, and convenience characteristics that make them a go-to favorite for several of my athletes.

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Sweet and Salty Rice Balls

Makes about 12 rice balls.

2 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Uncooked Basmati Rice

2 Tbsp. Honey

1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce


  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Scramble and cook the eggs.
  3. Combine rice, eggs, honey, and soy sauce in a larger mixing bowl.
  4. Scoop small portions into sandwich bags and tie the ends off.

Per Ball: Calories 115 // Carbohydrate 20 g // Protein 2 g // Sodium 327 mg

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Bacon and Egg Rice Balls

Makes about 12 rice balls.

2 Eggs

2 Strips Bacon

1 1/2 Cups Uncooked Basmati Rice

2 oz. Grated Parmesan Cheese

Salt to Taste


  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Scramble and cook the eggs.
  3. Cook the bacon. Drain excess fat and chop.
  4. Combine rice, eggs, bacon, cheese, and salt in a larger mixing bowl.
  5. Scoop small portions into sandwich bags and tie the ends off.

Per Ball: Calories 133 // Carbohydrate 18 g // Protein 4 g // Fat 5 g // Sodium 327 mg

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Comments 11

  1. this will hold up for two days easily-\ w/o refrigeration
    really nothing to go “bad’ bacon is cured (most brands) eggs can be stored at room temp rice will sit out for 2-3 days before breaking down- I am a 20+ yr food professional

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  5. Jason, do you have any idea how long the egg balls will “be ok to eat” if they are left sitting out in drop bags during a race or a long training run? It seems like they would be fine since they are all cooked, but I wasn’t sure. Thanks!

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    Make all of this in a pan, refrigerate/freeze for a bit and then cut into squares when very cold. It doesn’t have to be balls. Cyclists wrap homemade portables in this kind of paper (cut to size). They don’t have to stay refrigerated.

    Yes you have foil you need to toss at some point but it’s less messy, I would think.

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  9. Interesting, but how do you eat this stuff while you are running? If you cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze it out, that means you have to carry scissors or something. I assume these also would need refrigeration, which would make them impractical for long runs or long races.
    Tips on how to get around these issues?

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