What's not to love? The delicious, nutrient-rich recipe only requires three ingredients: frozen bananas, dates, your favorite milk, plus a scoop of ice cubes. It’s also extremely versatile, meaning you can add your favorite functional food powder, nut butter, chocolate chips, or other fun ingredients (coconut flakes, anyone?) to up the nutritional ante or make it taste like your favorite milkshake. Find the recipe below, followed by an registered dietitian's take on why this date shake recipe is so darn great for your health, particularly when it comes to boosting your gut and bones.
Eating Bird Food's healthy date shake recipe
2 large frozen bananas
4 pitted medjool dates (we love Joolie's)
1 cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
3-4 ice cubes
Optional add-ins: nut butter, nuts, chocolate, cinnamon, maca powder
1. Place dates and 1/2 cup almond milk into a high powered blender and blend until dates have broken down into small tid-bits. Add frozen banana chunks, remaining almond milk and ice cubes into the blender and blend until smooth. Add additional almond milk if the shake seems too thick. Pour into glasses and enjoy.
Health benefits of this date shake recipe
Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert, says that this date shake is not only a great added sugar-free dessert or afternoon snack, but it can help us reach the daily recommendation of one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half cups of fruit daily—something 80 percent of Americans are missing the mark on. She notes that this recipe boasts an impressive seven grams of fiber, which is more than 20 percent of the daily recommendation. But the good-for-you goodness doesn’t stop there.
“Dates are a rich source of polyphenol antioxidants,” says Cassetty. “These antioxidants act as prebiotics, so they get broken down into food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut, and all roads to health begin with a healthy gut. Your gut regulates inflammation, immune function, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, bone mass, and mood, so if your gut health is suffering, there's a good chance your body isn't at its best.” We’ll drink to that!
What about the sugar?
If anyone’s an expert on sugar, it’s Cassetty—she wrote a whole book about it. The dietitian is passionate about debunking myths surrounding sugar, and one of her favorites to discuss is fruit sugar.
“Many people slam dates and bananas for being higher-sugar fruits, but this is misguided,” Cassetty says. “The natural sugars in fruits come with beneficial nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, so natural sugar is in a totally different camp than added sugar.”
The dietitian says a 2020 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, found that, among people with type 2 diabetes, eating three dates each day for four months led to a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol—as well as improvements in mental health—compared to avoiding the fruit. Cassetty notes that the study also shows that this packaged form of sweetness that comes with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants is processed differently by the body. Neither group in the study saw changes in HgA1C, which Cassetty says is a key marker of blood sugar control. However, she does note that people who are advised by a health care professional to control their intake of carbohydrates may benefit from having smaller portions and adding a protein or fat source, like nut butter or hemp seeds.
“Unless you're intolerant or allergic to certain fruits, there's no reason to restrict them,” Cassetty says. “Instead, eat a variety of fruits to benefit from the different nutrients they provide. Plus, you'll get more enjoyment from your meals when you're not unnecessarily restricting naturally sweet and delicious foods, like dates and bananas.”
Just like anything else, you wouldn’t necessarily want to drink this date shake every morning or every night, but that’s mainly because it’s important to prioritize plant diversity—not because people should be fearful of bananas or dates. These delicious fruits are full of potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins to help you feel your best from the inside out while helping you stay hydrated all summer long.
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