Ahh Medjool dates… they are one of two amazing seasonal jewels that initiate the winter season (the other being pomegranate which I love just as much…but more on that in a future post).
Medjool dates are nutritious, versatile and incredibly sweet… which for me, make them a perfect dessert full of natural sugars that can satisfy my sweet tooth any day. What’s even greater is that they are filled with a wonderful array of nutrients and vitamins that are great for sustaining a healthy pregnancy. In fact, because they are a healthy calorie and nutrient dense food, I recommend Medjool dates as one of the foods pregnant women try and incorporate regularly into their diets!
One Medjool date contains about 66 calories, so three or four of them contribute to a good portion of the extra calories a pregnant woman needs in her second and third trimester. One serving also contains 4.8 grams of dietary fibre – that is 17% of your daily recommended dietary fibre intake! Ensuring you get enough fibre during pregnancy helps with digestion and common pregnancy complications such as constipation and haemorrhoids. Dates can be soaked in water or milk overnight and then consumed the next day to reap the bowel aiding benefits they provide.
To add, Medjool dates are an excellent source of iron , which is especially important during pregnancy, as mom needs extra iron to support the increased amount of blood circulating through her body to her baby. I don’t know about you but more energy was something I welcomed with open arms during both of my pregnancies so you didn’t have to tell me twice about enjoying a sweet filled snack throughout my day to get more energy!!
As if that wasn’t good enough, they are high in potassium (which helps with regulating blood pressure and fluid balance in the body), calcium and magnesium (to help with fetal bone development), as well as antioxidants (help fight infection and inflammation).
Studies have even suggested that eating dates in the later part of your pregnancy could have a significant effect on dilating the cervix and inducing labour (1). While more studies are needed to further explore these results, it sure couldn’t hurt to try in the meantime! Remember, like with any type of food, enjoy dates in moderation, as they are higher in sugar and highly addictive 🙂
So… now that we know how good dates are for you, I get to tell you how versatile and tasty they are too! Medjool dates are so easy and so delicious in a multitude of different recipes; you’ll never get bored with the endless array of foods you can create with this one simple ingredient.
Here are some great ways you can enjoy Medjool dates: Recipe from www.theboldabode.com
An awesome breakfast option to kick start your day!
- 4 frozen bananas
- 8 pitted Medjool dates
- ½ cup All Natural Peanut or Almond Butter
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups Almond Milk
- 1/2 cup ice
Add all 6 ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth throughout. Enjoy!
Homemade “Lara Bars” (Energy Bars): Recipe from www.healthinspirations.net
Lara Bars are a healthier alternative to the traditional granola bars found in most grocery stores. They are made with cashews, dates, and cocoa powder – however the store bought bars come at a hefty price. Try these for a much less expensive but equally delicious version of these popular energy bars.
- 100g (about 5) pitted Medjool dates
- 50g raw cashews
- 30g raisins
- 7g high-quality cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Begin by combining the dates, cashew nuts and raisins in your food processor. Process the ingredients until the nuts are roughly chopped.
2. Add the cocoa powder. Process until your ingredients form a sticky ball of yumminess.
3. Transfer the ball out onto cling film and using your hand press it flat and form it into a desired shape (rectangle is good).
4. Place the mixture in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or even freeze for about 30 minutes.
5. When ready, cut it into 5 bars and individually wrap them for a healthy on-the-go snack. Instead of forming bars you could also shape them into small balls for quick bite-size energy balls!
* I like to top my bars/balls with a unsweetned shredded coconut for some texture and another flavour dimension… so good!!
Medjool Date & Nut Stuffed Chicken: Recipe from www.capefearnutrition.com
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + more for brushing chicken
- 1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsely
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon za’atar (optional)
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add dates, bread crumbs, nuts and parsely to the onions and stir to combine. Set aside.
3 Pound chicken to a ¼ inch thickness. Spread with onion nut mixture and roll up tightly. Secure with toothpicks.
4. Brush each chicken breast with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar.
5. Place chicken breasts in shallow baking dish. Add wine.
6. Bake for 45-50 minutes until chicken is browned and juices run clear. Remove toothpicks .
Would love to hear of all the interesting ways you use dates in recipes as well!