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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dollar for Dollar...One of THE BEST Natural Snacks On-the-Go!

Busy? Aren't we all. Taking that prime time out of your day to shop for and prepare a nutritious snack is just NOT one of my priorities when I have a lot of other stuff on my agenda.

So, I've made it a purpose of mine to CALL ATTENTION to any modestly price snack that requires NO preparation and is still considered "healthy". Enter, Freelee the Banana girl. Yes, she's a vegan, and NO I am not going to preach veganism today, I merely want add my applause to the snacking idea that she introduced me to, through her videos/website.

The snack in mention, is the humble dried pitted DATE. Tis true that I didn't grow up eating such creatures....it is a little bit out of my comfort zone, as dates seemed like something a granny would bake with to make "figgy pudding" as the christmas carol chimes....
But once, I got over my squeamishness about trying something that was unfamiliar to me, I was very pleasantly surprised. Apparently I am not the only one who is now a fan of dried dates, as they are now in the produce or dried fruit section of every grocery store I enter. 

If you are going to try dried dates as a snack, note that there is a HUGE difference in quality depending on the brand, type and packaging of dried dates. The "Lambourghini" of dried dates are labelled
"Medjool Dates" and come with a heftier price tag to boot....up to even $10 for a modest size plastic tub....or if you are lucky you might find a smaller tub on sale for $5.99.

But if you shop around and try some of the lesser known brands, such as AMIRA, you may find some less expensive ones that still rank high in quality. The ones that appear with more white-ish flaky bits appear more well suited for baking etc....not for snacking. The higher the quality of the dried date, the more "whole" the dried date will appear and it will have retained a rich dark brown color.
Note that some dates are PITTED and some are NOT! So in order to prevent any of you from biting on a very hard dry pit by accident, be sure to read the LABEL!

As for me, this week I didn't want to splurge on authentic "Medjool" dried dates, so I gave the brand AMIRA dried pitted dates in a 800 gram zip pack a try. The price was  a great value at only $3.99.
So far, so good, I am pleased with the taste, texture and quality.

If you are interested in a snack that is a bit more heartier, then you might want to check out
Freelee the Banana Girl's Site in which she shows us how to make banana date smoothies as a small meal replacement. Add a bit of cinnamon for extra kick to your blended banana date smoothie.

The last thing I want to say about the humble dried date is that it packs a pretty powerful caloric punch....so if you have short break times at work or on the go, and need to cram in the calories in a short amount of time, dried dates will be heaven sent. However, if you need to cut back on your calorie intake, or if you are tempted to overindulge, then dried dates might not be ideal....unless you are disciplined at only packing up a modest number of dried dates to be consumed at your snack time. At only 40 grams, there is a good
 130 calorie boost. That may be great news for some and not so great for others, depending on your snacking requirements.

The beauty of dried dates, is that you are simply munching on a  natural dried fruit.....not on over processed commercial food. Some of the packagers add a bit of vegetable oil to the dates, but over all, I find them to be presented and sold to the public in their natural state. Dried dates have a naturally rich and chewy taste and texture. They are also a good source of ruffage and may help to stimulate a sluggish digestive system.
Bon Appetito!

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