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A date with stuffed health
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A date with stuffed health

A healthy, balanced pre-workout treat to tuck into
peanut butter stuffed dates
Representational image| Shutterstock

Anilkumar PS, an information technology professional from Bengaluru, hits the gym after finishing work at office.  A filling, healthy, energising snack is what he wants to have after a tiring day and before he starts his workout.

His go-to snack: dates stuffed with peanut butter.

“Chewy dates filled with rich peanut butter have become one of my favourite pre-workout snacks,” he tells Happiest Health. “I absolutely enjoy having them especially when I have a window of 45 to 60 minutes before my exercise slot.” The best thing about it is that his gym instructor recommended it to him.

He vouches for its health benefits and the quick preparation time. “Eating one or two of these before any form of exercise, including my run, provides the necessary carbs for an energy boost, along with a necessary fat and protein to keep me satiated,” he says.

A dollop of peanut butter stuffed into dates: it is about a mouthful of happiness rolled into wholesome sweetness to give us a shot of energy. Healthy fats, protein and antioxidants make them the perfect pre-workout treat. It can also be a healthy dessert or a healthy snack to snap up quickly.

Nutrient-rich dates

Bengaluru-based nutritionist Palak Punamiya says dates are not only rich in phenolic compounds (antioxidants) and carotenoids, but they also have abundant fibre and are calorie-dense. Consuming even a small quantity of dates can leave a person feeling full – and good — for a long time.

“From a nutritional point of view, dates can serve as a natural sweetener and a better alternative to sugar for many,” says Punamiya.

The rich fibre content in dates promotes easy bowel movements. The fibre helps to absorb carbohydrates slowly and makes dates particularly beneficial for keeping blood sugar spikes in check.

A 2023 review in Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome emphasises that dates have a low GI or glycaemic index (i.e. cause a slower rise in blood sugar after consumption than certain other foods.) The review suggests that consuming dates may improve total cholesterol and lower the level of the `bad’ or low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

Peanut butter for satiety

When dates and peanut butter come together to make a healthy snack, they provide abundant nutrients, proteins and energy sources in one bite.

“Along with being a rich protein source, peanut butter is a treasure house of natural oils, micronutrients and good fats,” says Punamiya. For those trying to manage or lose weight, nutritionists often recommend peanut butter. “While peanut butter is high in fat, it is the good fat that you need to have. The omega-3 fatty acids in peanut butter play a key role in balancing the good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels in the body and reducing the bad cholesterol (LDL),” she says.

One tablespoon of peanut butter can provide a high level of satiety. This kills any craving for junk food, Punamiya explains.

A word of caution

As we always say, moderation is the keyword with any food, while overindulgence can do more harm than good.

“When peanut butter is consumed in excess it increases the risk of inflammation,” cautions Punamiya. Also, those with nut allergies must exercise caution.

Experts also say commercially available peanut butter may contain saturated fats, oils and preservatives. She suggests reading the labels for the ingredients and choosing the ones with fewer preservatives.

Peanut stuffed dates

Ingredients

6 dates: tip: the premium Medjool dates are bigger (for easy stuffing) and sweeter than other dates varieties.

¼ cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy

1 tablespoon of chopped peanuts and pistachios for garnishing

Optional: A pinch of sea salt

The method

Slice the medjool dates halfway lengthwise. Do not cut them width wise.

Use a teaspoon or piping bag to fill the centre of each date with a spoonful of peanut butter. Dust half a pinch of sea salt (if using).

Sprinkle the chopped peanuts and pistachios.

You can eat them right away or place them in the freezer for half an hour and enjoy them frozen.

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