Our Ultimate Guide to Date Night – Literally & Figuratively

Molly Hembree | The Upside blog by Vitacost.com

by | Updated: February 11th, 2022 | Read time: 3 minutes

It’s often said that fruit is nature’s candy. This statement couldn’t be truer of dried fruits, especially raisins, prunes, cranberries, and one of our favorites, dates. Dates are harvested from the date palm tree which are predominantly found in the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Date palms are also now grown in the U.S., mostly in California and Arizona. Dates can be purchased fresh or dry. Fresh dates usually contain the pit and can be squeezed to produce some moisture, while dried dates are often pitted and do not have much “give” when squeezed.

Person Reaching for Date From Dinner Spread | Vitacost.com/Blog

What’s your ideal date?

The most common dates you’ll find at the grocery store are medjool or deglet noor. Medjool dates have a more caramel-like taste, have a softer, moist exterior, whereas deglet noor have a honey-like taste and firmer, thicker exterior. Other lesser-known varieties (but also oh-so delicious!) are super-soft barhi dates, chocolaty and brown-sugar-like mazafati dates and honey-flavored halawy dates (although there are tons more).

Benefits of dates

They’re nutrient powerhouses! Dates deliver three grams of fiber per 40-gram serving, which is equivalent to about three dates. Most of this fiber is insoluble fiber, which is known to aid digestive health by adding bulk and softness. It provides a gentle laxative effect to relieve constipation. Adequate fiber intake (28 grams fiber per day) is also likely associated with reduced cancer risk. More than 90 percent of women and 97 percent of men do not meet recommended fiber intakes.

Dates are free of fat, cholesterol and sodium. They contain approximately 30 grams of carbohydrate per serving, with 27 grams of this as naturally occurring sugar and 3 grams as fiber. Dates are a good source of biotin (10% daily value per serving), a mineral that plays a key role in the metabolism of fat, carbohydrates and protein

Dates are a terrific way to help reach the recommended Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 two cups per day of fruit for adults following an average 2,000-calorie diet. Aim for up to a ½ cup of dates daily, while including other diverse fruits in your diet such as berries, apples, melons, oranges and pears.

Recipes with dates – and for dates 😉

  • Fudgy Zucchini Brownies. This unique brownie recipe relies on dates for delivering sweetness and includes two cups zucchini per recipe (we are totally on board for veggies in baked goods!).
  • Almond-Stuffed Dates with Coconut Flakes. You really can’t go wrong with stuffing nut butter into a date and then rolling it in coconut. Yum.
  • Oat Snack Balls with Cacao and Dates. This is a super simple way to get a dose of wholesome whole grains while adding in extra savory-ness with dates and cacao.
  • Caramel Apple Granola. Upgrade your breakfast with this recipe that calls for making your own caramel sauce with apples and dates.

Want to learn more about fitting fruit, including dates, into your eating pattern? Sign up for a 1:1 virtual nutrition session with one of our expert Kroger dietitians at: www.kroger.com/telenutrition.

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