U.N.I.T.Y, that’s my jam.
Please tell me you remember this Queen Latifah song, circa 1993? How could you forget the sultry sound from the saxophone, the reggae meets hip-hop verses, and the groove worthy beat. Ok…. I digress. I couldn’t help myself from “rapping” this song as I prepared for this post on community. Ain’t it a beautiful thing, the very word contains the essence of what community is all about, the state of being harmoniously united as a group.
As I pursue my masters of public health (MPH) in Community Nutrition, I am constantly reminded just how powerful community really is. When it comes to health and wellness, harnessing the power of community to motivate and inspire eachother to be healthy is truly what it’s all about.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when contacted by the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre (http://www.dpnchc.ca/) to come give a workshop at a community engagement biking forum later this month. The workshop was to be on nutrition and healthy snacks for biking. Unfortunately, I am not available for the upcoming forum (see attached flyer!), but I was more than happy and willing to develop a healthy snack recipe for this engaging event.
With a few, ok a lot of stipulations (No use of stove or oven, no electrical appliances such as blenders or food processors, must be travel and vegan friendly) I had no choice but to put my creativity helmet on. Using my imagination in the kitchen is one of my favourite things to do, so off I was to conjure up a magical treat.
After a few failed attempts at a “powerbar” (remember the stipulations and the fact that these snacks were meant to be biker friendly, a.k.a has to stay stuck together), I found myself in a sticky situation (well, more like a not so sticky situation)…The good news is sticky situations get my wheels turning. So, what did I re-discover along my creativity ride? Medjool dates! Medjool dates are the perfect little parcels for carrying healthful, invigorating, and tasty ingredients such as creamy almond butter, chewy goji berries, crunchy hemp, cacao, coconut and sesame. It is safe to say on their own these ingredients are nutritional superstars, but when they UNITE, they are a force to be reckoned with.
A perfect vehicle for transporting power-packed nutrients to your body. Dates deliver iron and fibre for sustained energy; almond butter helps balance your blood sugar and provides you with heart healthy fats.
The assortment of nutritional boosts fuels you with multiple health benefits. Energy has never tasted so good. Ride on!
Suggested serving: 2 per person
6 Medjool dates
6 ½ tsp almond butter
honey*, to taste
cinnamon, to taste
* Recommended: wildflower or buckwheat flower honey.If vegan, substitute honey for yacon or coconut syrup.
Select your nutritional boost:
1 tsp hemp seeds-loaded with protein for muscle regeneration
1 tsp sesame seeds-rich in calcium for strong bones
1 tsp shredded coconut- encourages optimal energy metabolism
1 tsp goji berries, *ground- delivers immune support from antioxidants
1 tsp cacao nibs, *ground- provides magnesium for muscle relaxation
* Place in a miniature food processor, coffee grinder, or Magic Bullet to grind until seed-like in appearance. If electrical appliances are not handy, omit the grinding step.
Carefully remove the pit from the date’s centre by running a paring knife lengthwise through the date. Pop out the pit and discard.
Take ½ tsp of almond butter and spread it into the centre where the pit was removed. Sprinkle the almond butter filling with desired amount of cinnamon and press the sides of the date together so the middle is resealed.
Lightly coat the date with honey by “painting” the date with a butter knife or spoon that has been dipped in honey.
On a small plate, pour 1 tsp of your nutritional boost of choice, and roll the honeyed date around until evenly coated.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to pack. These snacks are best to travel with in a small container, however, can also be wrapped up tightly in plastic wrap