Medjool dates can be found year-round at most grocery shops. Versatile and easy to add to your diet, dates can be eaten raw, in smoothies, stuffed, in salads or as a natural sweetener in desserts. To substitute Medjool dates for sugar, make a date paste by blending 480 grams of pitted dates with 300 ml of water, then use this paste instead of sugar in your recipes at a 1:1 ratio.

You can try stuffing raw dates with peanut butter, cheese or nuts.

Dates are a concentrated source of healthy nutrients:

  • They offer a significant amount of fibres, vitamins and minerals including iron, potassium, B vitamins and magnesium. Medjool dates, in particular, are rich in calcium.
  • The fibres in dates slowing digestion may help prevent blood sugar levels from spiking too high after eating. For this reason they have a low glycemic index.
  • Another reason why you should eat dates is that they provide various antioxidants that reduce risk of diseases. Flavonoids are known to reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer and certain types of cancer. Carotenoids are proven to promote heart health and to reduce the risk of eye disorders. Phenolic acid has also anti-inflammatory properties.
  • If you are pregnant, eating dates appears to help promote labour and reduce labour duration. They are also a good source of natural sugar and calories, which are necessary to maintain energy levels during labour.
  • The fibre and nutrients in Medjool dates can help with weight management, but portion control is important. They are high in calories and should be consumed in moderation to avoid unwanted weight gain.

When is the best time to eat dates?

  • At breakfast.  Their high fibre content can keep you full and satisfied throughout the morning.
  • As an afternoon snack. Their content of fibre and sugar allows for a slower rise in blood sugar to help you feel energised without crashing soon afterward.
  • When you’re hungry. If you’re feeling hungry but aren’t ready for a full meal, pair dates with some peanut butter for a good source of fibre, carbs, and protein.
  • Before a workout. Dates provide a type of slow-releasing carb that allows for a steady stream of energy to fuel your workout. Try having 2-4 dates 30-60 minutes before a workout.
  • As a nighttime snack. They’re an excellent bedtime snack due to their high fibre content. Fibre takes longer to digest, which can help you stay full and keep midnight hunger pangs at bay.

However, if you have IBS, are sensitive or allergic, you may want to avoid dates or consult a doctor first.

Check out our “Bacon wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese” recipe or add some dates to your salads and tag us on Instagram to share your creations!