I've recently had the privilege to treat a 6-year-old with freshly diagnosed ADHD whose parents (lucky lady) are wanting to try out natural alternatives before turning to pharmaceuticals. Step 1 involved some dietary restrictions, never an easy task with a 6-year-old in a family with numerous children younger than 6 all hoping to be fed the things they're used to.
With Halloween quickly approaching and sugar being one of the main culprits we were aiming to exclude, my patient's mom was worried about what kinds of treats she'd be able to give her daughter when everyone else was working on their sugar highs. I set to work finding a few recipes that might fit the bill - this lead to a rousing of my own sugar tooth and so, I made a treat of my own.
Dates : Are chock-full of fruit sugars yes, but also stuffed with fibre which makes them a decent alternative for health conscious momma's trying to cut down on their kids' simple sugars intake. You might also be pleased to know that they contain a reasonable amount of some choice minerals, namely potassium, selenium and zinc. And if you've never seen a fresh date, it's interesting to note that they look remarkably like the ones you buy at the store - dates aren't dried the way raisins and apricots are. That sticky, brown, sweet fruit ripens to look and taste like that. Unripe dates are yellow, astringent and nearly inedible on account of a significant tannin content.
This is a pretty straight forward recipe that I've seen a few variations on around the internet. Quick to make, sugar/flour/grain free and no oven necessary, they make a pretty sweet (pun intended, obviously) treat!
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (preferably organic)
1/2 cup raw cacao
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
(handful of roughly chopped almonds)
Blend walnuts in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Add in cacao and sea salt and process until well mixed. One at a time, add in dates through the top of the processor while machine is running. Mix in coconut after the dates. At this point you could also mix in some roughly chopped almonds if you like a crunch to your brownie. Consistency should be like cake crumbs that will stick together when handled. Line a loaf pan with wax paper and press crumbs into it, covering it with a sheet of wax or parchment paper to avoid fingerprints. Put in fridge or freezer for 1-2 hours as these puppies are better cut when chilled. Dust with more cacao if desired. Store in fridge in airtight container - enjoy!