Ever stuck for an energy-packed snack before squeezing in a quick workout? Between working the 9 to 5 grind, picking up the kids from the sitter, and whipping up a quick dinner you tend to forget to think about the nutrition you need before a workout. Did you know that dates are the powerhouse of all fruits? Dates are also traditionally used to break fast during the month of Ramadan! They are a high source of natural sugars such as sucrose, fructose and glucose; making them great for an afternoon pick-me-up! Below you’ll find a recipe for easy nutrition packed date bars but first we’ve compiled a top 5 list of the benefits:
Packed with soluble fiber, dates are all you’ll ever need if you find yourself getting a little backed up. If things are already bad, soak them in water overnight and eat the dates with the syrupy liquid left behind. Voila! Your problems will be solved.
2. Bone Health and Strength
Dates come loaded with essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, manganese, and copper. These minerals make it a superfood for preventing crippling diseases like osteoporosis. Dates, in combination with weight lifting, will significantly decrease chances of osteoporosis.
Anyone suffering with anemia is familiar with the fatigue, weakness, and dizziness associated with the condition. Dates carry an impressive amount of iron; in fact, they make the perfect dietary supplement for iron. A couple dates a day can battle the symptoms of anemia.
4. Weight Gain
The combinations of the sugars, proteins, and vitamins make dates an essential part of a balanced diet. A kilogram of dates provides a whopping 2800 calories! That’s more than the suggested average daily caloric intake. Obviously you don’t want to depend on dates for everything, but if you were on a stranded island with palm trees and dates you could potentially survive!
5. Heart Health
Studies have shown that potassium helps reduce the risk of strokes which is great news for those of you already eating dates. If you aren’t though, now’s a good time to start! Potassium helps reduce the levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “Bad Cholesterol”. LDL is a major contributor to heart attacks, heart disease and strokes. So, keeping dates a part of your regular diet can severely impact your heart health!
And with all those facts, how could you not want to make these super easy no-bake chocolate chia energy bars?
NO-BAKE CHOCOLATEY CHIA ENERGY BARS
Yields: 12 bars
3 cups pitted dates, packed
⅓ cup cocoa
⅓ cup whole chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
⅓ cup quick oats
- Place dates in food processor; purée until a thick paste forms.
- Add cocoa powder, chia seeds, vanilla, coconut and salt. Pulse until all ingredients are combined.
- Remove mixture from food processor and place into a bowl. Mix in walnuts and oats.
- Cut a large length of wax paper twice the size of an 9×9 pan*. Place one end of it into the pan.
- Press mixture into pan making sure to press it into all corners.
- To make the top smooth, dampen hands with water and flatten the surface as much as possible.
- Wrap the excess wax paper over top of pan then flip block out of pan.
- Place in the refrigerator overnight.
- In the morning, unwrap the block and cut into bars.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
*If you don’t have a 9×9 pan, you can easily use an 8×8 by using half the amount of dates.