Even before I began this journey I have been interested in finding natural alternatives to added sugar. I have used ingredients like honey, agave, and maple. Recently, I discovered the many uses of dates. Dates are a great way to add sweetness naturally. They are also so versatile. Follow along as I talk about the benefits of dates and some great ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Why to Incorporate Dates Into your Diet
Just one serving of dates contains quite a few necessary vitamins and minerals. Including: potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, and vitamin B6. These vitamins and minerals are necessary for so many necessary functions in the body. Dates also contain antioxidants which protect the body from disease causing free radicals.
Dates are also high in fiber which improves digestion and lowers blood sugar spikes. This high amount of fiber slows the rate that the body absorbs carbs which makes dates have a low value on the glycemic index. This means that dates take longer to digest than refined white sugar. Dates would make a great sugar substitute for people with diabetes.
How to Incorporate Dates into your Diet
Many of the sites I found from my research have mentioned using date paste as a 1:1 substitute for sugar. I definitely plan on using this in the future to try to reduce my sugar cravings. To make date paste use 1 cup of Dates and 1/4 cup of Water. Blend until smooth. You can store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I used the recipe found HERE from Detoxinista.
Date bars are a great snack and can be easily customized. They help with cravings for sweets and the fiber keeps you full. I used THIS RECIPE from Super Healthy Kids to come up with the base recipe below. I plan on trying my own with different add ins like nuts, dried fruit, and more!
- 2 Cups Dates
- 3/4 Cups Cashews
- 1/4 Cup Natural Peanut Butter
- 1/8 TSP Salt
Mix everything in food processor until smooth and the mixture begins to clump into a ball. If you want an ingredient to be chunkier, don’t add it at the same time as everything else. If you want an ingredient to be smoother, blend it before you blend everything else.
Place the mixture into a square dish lined by parchment paper and let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.