No, not that kind of a date, silly. I mean the ones you can eat…
It’s only recently that I’ve realized the important role dates have played in my favourite foods. Whether they’re used to bind ingredients together or sweeten food they’re essential in so many snacks.
And whilst they taste absolutely heavenly (did you know people have been enjoying them for around 8,000 years?) they’re not bad for you either, even though they’re so sweet. Their sugar content is approximately 80% depending on the type of date used but the remainder is dietary potassium (needed to build proteins, muscle and break down carbohydrates and more), protein, fibre and trace elements including boron, cobalt, copper, fluorine, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc (all of which are necessary for cell function).
Here’s a list of just some of my favourite foods that contain dates:
Best date-filled foods
Trek Bars (made by Natural Balance Foods – the same producer who produce their ‘sister’ bar, Nakd) contain around 40% dates and a whopping 11g protein which makes them an essential handbag and gymbag item. Why? Because protein is essential for our body to build new cells and maintain tissue – after a resistance workout your body breaks down muscle so the protein is required to repair and build it back up.
And don’t forget, dates are low to medium on the Glycemic Index which means that they don’t spike your blood glucose and insulin levels which is important for sustained energy without an energy crash. No napping straight after your workout!
Take a look at Natural Balance Foods’ range of protein bars >
Raw Chocolate Balls
These are some of the best homemade snacks around! They’re impossible to get wrong, take 5 minutes and are melt in the mouth delicious.
They’re made up of around 50% dates (Medjool are the best as they’re extra squishy and toffee-like), taste like chocolate and are a better alternative to your average chocolate bar.
I discovered these on a recent trip to Mallorca. Apparently also known as Devils on Horseback (they were a 70’s thing) they’re the ugliest things imaginable but utterly moreish and the perfect combination of salty and sweet. They remind me of the bacon jam movement but easier to make.
Each little date is snugly wrapped in it’s own bacon blanket, ready to be popped into hungry mouths. They’re a bit like a pudding alternative of pigs in blanket.
Indulgent Banana Pudding Recipe, Serves 4
This is a bit like peanut butter ice cream, so prepare yourself! It’s decadent, sweet and ever so creamy. Plus, the cinnamon gives it a bit of a twist. Top with desiccated coconut or eat as it is.
- 1 frozen banana
- 5 juicy dates, pitted
- 1 small pot of Total Greek Yoghurt
- 2 tsp nut butter (I like almond or peanut)
- ½ tsp cinammon
- Blend everything together so it’s creamy and smooth.
- Serve immediately.
Best of all with this, there’s no unnatural ingredients so whilst the sugar content is quite high (yes, this means you shouldn’t eat too much of this!) you can rest safe in the knowledge that you know exactly what’s gone into it.