I have a sweet tooth and I will never, no matter what anyone says, stop eating chocolate! Lately I have been totally obsessed with the latest Lindt Creation range, particularly this one, but this just cannot continue at the rate it has been! I usually always have Lindt 85% cocoa on hand and have at least one square a night, because that’s just one thing I am not willing to negotiate on, and it has never negatively affected me.
I believe it is important to not outright ban yourself from the things you love, and in my personal experience, if I ban something I love, there will come a day, once if not twice a week, that I will eat 10 times the RDA in one sitting, and that is just not feasible.
One of my greatest beliefs, passions and possibly my mantra, is to take the things you LOVE to eat and try to create them in a healthier way.
If you love Indian food, make a lighter version of your favourite curry and homemake a wholewheat naan. If you love Italian, try a cauliflower pizza or zoodles with your favourite tomato sauce. If you’re cooking at home you can also monitor the amount of fat used in sauces etc.
The recipe I am about to share with you, while still containing sugar from the dates, is a healthier sweet treat to have on hand when you feel like eating a slab of Lindt Creation.
I, like many, do believe that sugar is the cause of many an evil when it comes to our health and weight problems.
However, I do not think we can or should totally avoid it, and rather monitor our intake. Ultimately, once a carbohydrate hits your blood stream it turns into sugar and stimulates the pancreas to release insulin which prompts cells to either use the sugar for energy or store it. There are many arguments out there about fructose as well, see I Quit Sugar. At the end of the day, we can go back and forward about sugar but we all should accept that as a population we are consuming too much sugar, just look at the back of a bottle of supermarket sauce and you’ll no doubt find sugar as the second or third ingredient. My argument is that, if we are going to eat sugar, we should at least make sure it comes with some positive nutrients, which brings me to dates.
Just because something is made from date sugar, brown rice malt syrup, coconut sugar, natural sugar, agave…bla bla bla does not mean you should eat it recklessly. It should still be seen as a treat to savour.
Dates, while still containing sugar, are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, including energy, sugar and fibre. See more nutritional info on dates here.
In this recipe the dates are combined with the healthy saturated fat from coconuts and almonds, which should lower the GI index thus slowing the release of sugar into the blood stream, as well as 100% pure cacao powder.
Cacao powder has a higher enzyme content than cocoa powder, due to how it is roasted. We love to say, “oh but chocolate is good for me”, but what researchers failed to emphasise, or perhaps marketers, is that this does not apply to your average sugary-store-bought-buy-one-get-one-free-budget slab and that the research was done on the actual pure cacao. There is also research to suggest that dairy inhibits the absorption of antioxidants from raw cacao, read more here, and even more here.
The research is so confusing, I know, and this is why it should always be taken with a pinch of metaphorical salt.
We can’t just outright believe everything we read because it suits us. This blog included.
What you can believe however, is how flipping delicious these date, cacao and coconut balls are. Remember: Eat them with slow, intense, savouring passion and not 15 in 15 minutes.
The tools you will need are a Kitchen Aid type tool (blender) and your clean hands.
Once you have blended all the ingredients, your mixture will look like sand.
Do not worry, it will come together when you roll them into balls, which you will then roll in coconut shavings.
Right, let’s get started.
Date, Cacao & Coconut Balls
A healthier sweet treat for those moments where you just NEED chocolate.
- 125g Dates (aprox 12)
- 25g desiccated coconut (plus extra for rolling)
- 1/3 cup pure cacao powder (purest you can find)
- 50g almonds
- 1tbsp coconut oil
Remove the pit from the dates. Blend all ingredients until well combined and looks a bit like sand. Scoop out about a tbsp each into your hands. Squish together and pack into small balls. There should be enough for 15. Roll in extra desiccated coconut and refrigerate.
Nutritional Value per ball: Calories; 76. Fat; 3.7g. Carbohydrates; 7.5g. Protein; 1.8g. Sugar; 5.8g.