They say that with age comes wisdom. But, for me, it took being responsible for another little life to finally smarten up about my eating habits.
Sure, Ben and I have always tried to eat healthy, which mostly meant forgoing sugary treats until we’d eventually cave into temptation…only to start a cycle of guilt, restriction and inevitable relapse.
But it wasn’t until I got pregnant that I decided to cut myself some slack and relax when it came to cravings. Although with space in the belly at a premium, you’ve got to make every calorie count.
When I stopped thinking of foods as “good” and “bad” and started judging them on their nutrient density, I felt empowered instead of deprived. Not to mention it felt great to fuel my body — and my baby — with whole foods that would help both of us thrive.
Enter Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool dates. I’ve partnered with them this year to help our family make the swap from refined sugars to a more natural alternative: whole foods that the body can recognize and pull nutrients from.
My 2015 almond milk experiment started what has become a passionate love affair with these little gems. Medjool dates deliver sustained energy from their combo of fiber and natural sugars, plus they’re packed with potassium to support muscle fuel and recovery.
So Wyatt’s first birthday “smash cake” became an experiment of sorts in substituting date paste for processed sugar. It may have taken me a few attempts — the first was too moist, the second was too dense — but the third time was a charm, as you can see from the shot below.
This recipe works for birthdays, but I think it’s even better made into muffins for a quick energy boost throughout the day. Finally, you can have your cake — and eat it (along with some very valuable nutrients), too.
No Added Sugar Banana Zucchini Date Cake
- 2 small zucchinis, grated & squeezed dry (about 2 cups)
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup date paste
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup flour
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease muffin cups with coconut oil (or use muffin liners).
- In large bowl, mix together zucchini and banana. Add eggs one at a time.
- Blend in date paste, peanut butter and vanilla.
- In small bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add slowly to wet ingredients, stirring to incorporate.
- Spoon into muffin cups, filling each 3/4 of the way.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into muffin come out clean.
Give it a try, and let me know what you think!