What you quickly find while on a sugar fast is that everything has sugar. I somehow forget this. You would think that as a nutritionist this would be a no brainer. Let’s be honest though we are all so conditioned with what we eat, we don’t even second guess it anymore.
We forget that sugar sneaks into labels, because we think it’s organic it’s fine or we have always ate such item we didn’t pay attention to the hiding sugar. I don’t do loads of junk food in my house, actually rarely any, but there are some items like the Annie’s cereal of LoveGrown cereal and even my PickyBars that have sugar in them. Even if the sugar is organic, it’s still sugar.
Now there are other foods that have sugar, but there’s no added sugar. Like Larabars. These are fine for me to eat. I allow myself the natural sugars, because it’s natural it wasn’t added. I allow maple syrup and honey on occassion if I am using them to sweeten my homemade bites or bars. But you begin to condition yourself to use natural sweeteners like the banana and applesauce.
I also love the power of the date. Dates are great for sweetening foods naturally and they pack a punch nutritionally as well. You can use them in brownies, cookies, smoothies and my favorite protein bites. Soaking them before hand helps them to blend a little better since they can be tough. I also love to fill them with peanut butter and use on the run or after my runs. When I have more time I make some bites with dates to bring along and for recovery.
Dates are rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B-6. As runners we need magnesium, potassium and calcium to replace electrolytes, which is why dates are great to add to a runners diet. But they are not just for runners, anyone can benefit from more minerals. On average, we don’t consume enough minerals through diet alone and most American’s are deficient in the major minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. This contributes to our poor bone health and muscle and nerve dysfunction.
Dates are great for intestinal disorders and treating constipation, treating cancer and heart disease. They supply the quick sugar we need when performing strenuous exercise. They contain iron, other B vitamins, and vitamin K. Pair them with a few other tasty ingredients and you have a nutritional powerhouse for recovery.
These bites are perfect for anyone in training. They are easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. You don’t have to worry about consuming more than one. Having two or three is perfect for recovery. Add protein to these for even more of a boost.
I love the chocolate flavor with cherry and coconut. Tart cherry’s have been shown to aid performance, especially in runners. Coconut has healthy fats, and carob powder is a great alternative to cocoa powder. Carob powder is high in minerals, fatty acids, B vitamins and vitamin A. It contains gallic acid which is an antiviral, antibactierial, and antioxidant. It has been useful in lowering cholesterol as well. It has a chocolatey flavor and it doesn’t ruin the taste of these bites.
- 2 cups medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 30 minutes to a hour (then drained) if they were really hard
- ½ c dried tart cherries
- ⅔ c shredded unsweetened coconut
- 2 Tbsp carob powder
- ⅔ c almond meal / flour
- 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1-3 Tbs water (to help form the bite sized balls)
- Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until well combined and sticky. Adding more or less water, to help make it sticky for rolling.
- Shape the mixture into bites by rolling between hands.
- Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. (keeps up to a week)
Enjoy your weekend!! It will be finally warming up here, 20-30 degrees, which will feel like a heatwave compared to our single digit, subzero weather.
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit