Your Heart will Love these Dates…

February 7th, 2013

February is Heart Month and it’s a great reminder to eat foods that will reduce our risk of high blood pressure, prevent spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels and help us maintain a healthy weight—especially around our waist.

One of the best things we can do for our heart is to eat a healthy diet that emphasizes heart-healthy ingredients. For example, oats and cocoa contain antioxidants which protect your cells against damaging free radicals, and nuts contain healthy fats. Medjool dates are also worth trying. Second only to blueberries in antioxidants, they’re fat and cholesterol free, a source of fibre, and contain potassium but are low in sodium—a combination which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

Here a three recipes that include these ingredients and can be made ahead and frozen for easy grab and go. So while running between meetings and rushing to school pick-up and hockey practice there’s no excuse to not have a nutritious and energizing snack in your pocket.

For more information on Heart Month visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation and for more heart-healthy ideas and recipes, share part of your morning with me and tune in to CTV Edmonton Morning Live on Friday, Feb 8 bright and early! (Click here to view segment).

Medjool Date Homemade Granola


  • ¼ cup (50 mL) honey
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) olive oil
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups (500 mL) oats
  • ½ cup (125 mL) sliced almonds
  • ½ cup (125 mL) dried blueberries or cranberries
  • ½ cup (125 mL) Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped


  • Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
  • In a medium saucepan set over low heat, combine honey, olive oil, and salt.  Simmer on low heat, stirring, just until the mixture is well blended together and heated through.  Remove from heat, add oats and almonds and mix well.
  • Transfer mixture to prepared pan and bake in centre of oven for about 25-30 minutes or until granola starts to turn golden, stirring twice during baking.
  • Cool granola to room temperature, gently crumble into small pieces and stir in dried fruit and Medjool Dates.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Serves 8

Per serving: 288 calories, 11g fat, 216mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate, 5 g fibre, 6g protein

Medjool Date Trail Mix

Need some energy to go? Bring a bag of this trail mix along for a portable, healthy snack.


  • ½ cup (125 mL) dried cranberries
  • ½ cup (125 mL) dried blueberries
  • ½ cup (125 mL) Medjool Dates, pitted and quartered ½ cup (125 mL)  almonds, toasted*
  • ½ cup (125 mL) pecans


  • Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container.
  • *Tip: Toast almonds at 400F (200C) for 4-5 minutes, cool completely.

Serves 4-6

Per serving: 283 calories, 14g fat, 1 mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate, 5g  fibre, 4g protein

Medjool Date Raw Energy Bars

These are a healthy, tasty snack and full of good things for post-workout recovery.

  • 2 cups (500 mL) Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped (about 20 dates)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) raw cashews
  • ½ cup (125 mL) sliced raw almonds
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) cocoa powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • ½ cup (125 mL) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) cold water


  • Line a 9 x 5-inch (2L) loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Combine chopped Medjool Dates, nuts, cocoa powder, and sea salt in a food processor. Pulse to process all the ingredients together to a coarse texture, about 25 pulses. Add shredded coconut and pulse again a few times.  Add vanilla extract. Add water, a little at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture reaches a dough-like consistency.
  • Transfer the mixture into prepared pan, press top down evenly with a rubber spatula or with clean hands, and chill for about an hour before serving.

Serves 10

Per serving: 341 calories, 16g fat, 22mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate, 7 g  fibre, 8g protein