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When it comes to healthy foods, we tend to pit foods against one another in a never-ending debate of which-is-better in regards to our body. From the classic grass-fed milk versus organic milk, to the trendy Himalayan versus sea salt, and to the more obscure farro versus wheat berries, the verdict is often dependent on which nutrients your body needs more of.

But that’s not always the case. Take sugar for example. You’re probably consuming way more than you should. And while natural options such as coconut sugar, maple syrup, and honey are all better than refined sugar, they’re still sweeteners, and the minerals found in them are mere traces.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t pick the best option for you. It’s just that these might actually not be the best options. It’s time we talk about these dried fruits.

Using dates as sweeteners.

Dates, the fruits that you get from date palm trees, have become very popular sweeteners for several reasons. They’re natural whole foods, and they actually offer some decent nutritional value compared to other sweeteners. And they’re also versatile and easy to use, as they’re often blended in smoothies and nut milks.

How do dates offer in terms of nutrients?

According to the USDA food database, 100g of pitted dates can provide 2.5g of protein, 77.5g of carbohydrates, 7.5g of fibre, 50mg calcium, and 600mg of potassium–bite-for-bite, this is three times as much potassium as bananas! Popular varieties like medjool and deglet noor both contain 62mg phosphorus, which works closely with calcium to maintain bone health. With the exception of calcium, all of these nutrients are found higher in dates than maple syrup, of which offers about the same amount of sugar. And honey, which is higher in sugar, is lower all across the board on these nutrients.

How to make date paste.

Besides blending up these dried fruits in a smoothie or homemade nut milk, date paste is arguably the easiest method of using this natural whole-food sweetener. In a paste form, you can easily replace maple syrup or honey in recipes that call for either one.

What you need:

2 cups pitted dates

2 cups water

How to prepare:

  1. Soak 2 cups dates in 2 cups water overnight–or for at least 8 hours.
  2. Remove the dates and set the water aside.
  3. Blend up the dates in a food processor or a blender, adding a tablespoon of soaking water at a time until the paste becomes thick and creamy. This should only take about 3 to 4 tablespoons of soaking water!
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

What are your thoughts on using dates as a sweetener? Do you prefer it over other popular options? Let us know in the comments!


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