Chocolate Covered Almond Butter Stuffed Dates

Summertime brings to mind hot sunny afternoons and tempting frozen treats. Rather than reaching for an ice cream sandwich try making this recipe! These Chocolate Covered Almond Butter Stuffed Dates are refreshing, delicious and nutritious. They almost remind me of a Turtles chocolate caramel ice cream bar.

photoeditor_20180610_210225.jpg

Dates are one of the sweetest fruits and a real treat, but with some significant nutritional benefits as well. They are a rich source of fibre which is important for overall health, helping to control blood sugar and reduce blood cholesterol as well as help you feel full for longer which can support achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. They also supply good amounts of potassium, an electrolyte which is important in the body’s acidity/alkalinity balance as well as normal muscle contraction, nerve impulses, blood pressure regulation and, last but not least, heart and kidney function. Dates also contain some iron.

Almond Butter is a source of protein as well as healthy fats. The healthy fats found in almonds are important for keeping hair and skin healthy, transporting fat soluble vitamins and providing energy. In particular, monounsaturated fatty acids may reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and improve overall cholesterol levels in the body. Almonds are a rich source of Vitamin E, one of the most powerful antioxidants found in our foods. Vitamin E helps counteract the oxidative damage caused by free-radicals in the body which can lead to numerous conditions and diseases such as coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis which can lead to heart attacks. Almonds also have more fibre than almost any other nut!

Dark Chocolate contains several important minerals including: copper, which helps in red blood cell formation and the construction of blood vessels and connective tissues and several neurotransmitters; iron, an essential part of hemoglobin found in red blood cells that allow them to carry oxygen to where it is needed by the cells in the body; and zinc, which may protect against macular degeneration. Cocoa butter which is a component of chocolate is comprised of oleic acid, a heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acid. The cocoa in chocolate provides flavonols which may lower the risk of heart disease and improve cognition. Phytochemicals called catechins are also provided by cocoa and these compounds act as antioxidants to protect against heart disease and some cancers. When choosing chocolate go for anything above 70%. The higher this percentage the higher the concentration of cocoa, however there is a trade-off in flavour as the higher the cocoa content the more bitter the chocolate will taste.

Chocolate Almond Butter Stuffed Dates

Quick Tip: While easy to make they have to be frozen twice and the freezing process does take some time. I stuffed the dates with the almond butter one night, dipped them in chocolate and froze them the next night and they were ready by the following day.

 

Advertisements

Spring-Cleaning for Your Nutrition with 5 “Detox” Strategies

Spring is a great time to refresh and renew. Are you feeling the need for some “Spring Cleaning” inside as well as outside? Why not clean-up your nutrition so as to start fresh for the summer?

While detox diets and juice cleanses are still questionable for their benefits, and not meant for everyone, there are other, less intimidating and drastic ways to improve your nutrition and health habits.

If you’re feeling the urge to take action and are looking for some ideas check out these 5 easy tips that don’t require massive changes or restrictions to your diet.

Try one action a day for a week for a quick “5 Day Challenge”.

 

water-1632785_1280

1.Hit up your hydration. Water is a pure and natural detoxifier. Important to overall health and well-being, water helps flush your body and your cells of toxins. Water makes up over 60% of our body’s ass. You can survive for weeks without food but only a few days without water. At minimum, women 19 years and older need around 2.2 L of water and men 19 years and older need around 3.0 L of water per day (Dietitians of Canada). However, in hot and humid environments or when exercising vigorously fluid needs can drastically increase so as to replace what is lost by sweating. Are you hitting your target? Set a goal and go for it! Try to drink consistently throughout the day to spread out your water intake. A reminder set every hour to take a sip or two can help.

mobile-2262928_1280

2. Give technology a break at the dinner table. How often do you scroll on your phone or watch TV while eating? Tune out distractions and tune into your food by turning off your phone and leaving it in another room and switching off any other screens before you sit down. You will be more present and enjoy your meal even more.

say-no-3218695_1920

3.Ditch the negative food talk. We all have a choice in what we eat. No food is inherently “good” or “bad” but some foods are definitely more nutrient dense than others. Instead of blaming yourself and saying “I shouldn’t eat that” and feeding yourself negativity, be grateful for the food and whatever nutrients and energy it provides your body and make a commitment to make healthier choices for your next meal or two.

coffee-2714970_1920

4.Cut down on caffeine. When craving an energy boost it is tempting to reach for coffee or energy drinks which contain caffeine. However, caffeine is a stimulant and thus a synthetic energy boost. It is recommended that we limit caffeine consumption to 400mg/day. That’s about three 8-oz cups of coffee (Dietitians of Canada). If you are in the habit of downing a lot of caffeinated products try to decrease your usual consumption by 1 drink a day.

bottles-1868175_1920

5.Clean out your pantry and fridge. When was the last time you did a good cleaning of your cupboards? Do you know everything you have on hand? Has anything expired? Doing a thorough cleaning of where you keep your food is not only important for food safety but also immensely satisfying emotionally. With a better organized food space you will be able to find what you need more quickly and it will be easier, more inviting and motivating to cook and eat healthy.