Presented by the Aging and Disability Resource Center

Dates: Fad or Fruit of Paradise?

When thinking of dates, many are taken back to the sweet, caramel smell lofting from grandma’s kitchen, or the chewy texture of a freshly backed date bar.  However, there is more history and nutritional benefits to this bite sized fruit than many of us realize.

Dates are considered the oldest eaten fruit in the world.  Referenced many times in religions such as Christianity and Islam, dates have played an important role in nutrition and cuisine for thousands of years.  Often called the fruit of paradise as it grows in warm, tropical climates.  Dates are so tasty and sweet they’re often compared to caramel and can even be substituted for candy!

The high sugar content of dates worries many who are trying to watch sugar in their diets. However, when eaten in moderation the natural sugars found in dates provide healthy energy in the form of carbohydrates and also offer several important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant that can protect the body from inflammation.  Dates are also loaded with fiber.  Just 1/4 of a cup of fresh dates provides 12% of your daily fiber requirement, helping you stay fuller, longer.

Incorporating dates into your favorite recipes is not just a fad.  Try substituting sugar, chocolate chips, or candies in recipes with natural dates to avoid eating unhealthy, refined sugars.

Chia: Small Seed, Big Benefits

Originating in Central America as far bas as 3500 B.C. the word “Chia” means strength in the Mayan language, and when taking a closer look at this mighty little seed, it becomes obvious why.

A two tablespoon serving of chia seeds contains roughly 140 calories, 4 grams protein, 11 grams fiber, 7 grams of unsaturated healthy fats, 18% your daily recommended calcium and trace minerals and antioxidants such as zinc and copper.  All packed into a tiny seed, it’s noteworthy that a single food item contains complete proteins, carbohydrates, fats and beneficial nutrients.  It’s no wonder ancient peoples named it “mighty” and included it as a daily source of energy!

The chia seed has a mild, nutty flavor while its appearance and crunch can be compared to a poppy or flax seed.  Since chia pets burst onto the scene in the 80’s, we’ve realized there are more uses for this ancient seed than just sitting in our window-sill soaking up afternoon sunlight.

When toasted or sprinkled raw onto dry foods, chia seeds are very crunchy (like a poppy seed) and add texture and nutrients to granola bars, pastries, and salads.  When chia seeds are soaked they are able to absorb up to 12 times their own weight in liquid.  This unique ability may remind you of tapioca and can add a fun texture to puddings, teas, and other drinks.  Chia seeds can even be soaked to create an egg or pectin substitute for baking and jams.

These presentations are open to all ages and are free to attend.  Times, locations and dates can be found in the Barron County Review Newspaper, by calling the ADRC at 715-537-6225, or by visiting their website at

Beneficial Bites

Joe will once again entertain with his knowledge of Dates and Chia Seeds – Wednesday, November 27th 1pm

Plan to attend for samples, recipes and a few laughs.