Swap the Sugar: Using Medjool Date Paste in Your Holiday Favorites

Monday, Nov 14, 2016
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The holidays are upon us and fall baking season is in full swing.  Although many of us enjoy baking year round, there’s just something about the holidays that makes baking more special. Enjoying a hearty scone or coffee cake with family visiting from out of town, delivering cookies to the neighbors or baking muffins for your kiddo’s teachers are just a handful of the ways fall baked goods are relished and shared with love.

Many of my clients are asking me for tips on creating healthier versions of delicious cakes, cookies, breads, and more. Instead of replying with “Cut out” or “Reduce”, I much prefer the “swap” or “add in” approach. For example, swap white flour for whole wheat flour, swap oil for Greek yogurt or most importantly, swap refined sugar for Medjool Date Paste.

The common theme to all those swaps is you’re choosing ingredients that still perform the same basic function in a recipe, BUT you’re also ADDING nutrition. Refined sugar is nutritionally desolate, whereas Medjool date paste boasts an impressive nutrition profile while still offering natural and delicious sweetness! Just like Medjool dates, Medjool date paste is a good source of fiber, is potassium rich and incredibly versatile for baking and cooking.

We all have traditional holiday goodies we enjoy making and sharing. Food is love and there’s no need to give up these treats. Holiday baked goods are meant to be enjoyed among friends and family, but there’s also a sense of satisfaction that comes from sharing goodies you know are wholesome and still incredibly delicious. Swapping refined sugars for Medjool Date Paste is a simple way to boost nutrition without compromising flavor, texture or sweetness. Here are just a few benefits to using Medjool Date Paste in your favorite holiday recipes:

Fiber helps us stay fuller longer and Medjool date paste is an easy way to naturally boost the fiber in your recipes. Including more fiber rich goodies can help satisfy your sweet tooth, hunger and potentially help us eat a little less if we’re paying attention to our hunger cues!

Heart healthy - More than ever, the holidays are a time to be thinking about keeping the ticker in tiptop shape. There are many factors that contribute to heart health so in addition to staying active and managing stress, choosing foods that are certified Heart Healthy by the American Heart Association is a wise choice. Fortunately, naturally sweet Medjool dates are classified as heart healthy!

Potassium - potassium is an important nutrient, especially for folks who are physically active! Next time you’re baking some treats for your kiddo’s ball game or wanting to surprise your personal trainer with a homemade goodie, swap the refined sugar for Medjool date paste to boost the potassium and spread smiles of the faces of those helping to keep you healthy and active!

One of my favorite ways to spread the love of Medjool dates is to use Medjool date paste in a recipe and include a package of Medjool dates with your favorite seasonal baked food. It still surprises me how many people still haven’t experienced this fresh whole fruit. What better time than the holidays to spread some love and natural sweetness?

Natural Delights Guest Blogger - Shannon Garcia

Shannon Garcia is a registered dietitian and foodie with a master's degree in nutrition. She is an experienced recipe developer, media spokesperson and woman behind KISS in the Kitchen, the food and nutrition blog all about keeping it simple. Her dad always told her to "KISS it- Keep it simple, Shannon"; and she strives to incorporate this philosophy in her work. She is also the founder and owner of Lone Star Nutrition, LLC, a nutrition private practice in San Antonio, Texas focusing on pediatric and family nutrition.