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Date with Dates: Whole Grain Oat Bars


We’re heading into the woods to camp and canoe, and that means we need plenty of energy and snacks that will stick with us and keep us going in between stops. These whole grain oat bars are just the ticket. Sweetened with dates, they provide the fuel to keep us paddling into the sunset.


When most people think of dates, they think of a small, wrinkled brown fruit. Very few people know about the health benefits of the Medjool, considered one of the oldest and most mysterious fruits in the world, and that happens to tastes more like a piece of caramel candy than a piece of fruit.

Medjool dates are a nutritional powerhouse and contains important vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy life, including aiding in recovery after exercise. Consider the following:

· Medjool dates rate low to low/medium on the Glycemic Index (GI). A low-GI carb diet keeps glucose and insulin levels stable, helping maintain sustained energy and a healthy weight.

· Rich in potassium, manganese and other important minerals, Medjools help balance blood sodium levels and release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates.

· Medjool dates are a no-fat and no-cholesterol treat, making them ideal for snacking.

Whole Grain Oat Bars
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups organic rolled oats
1 cup whole grain oat cereal (cheerios)
1/2 cup Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped

Line 8×8-inch baking dish with foil or parchment paper. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Combine the honey and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon, and bring this mixture to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.

Combine oats, cereal and dates in a large bowl. Fold in butter and sugar mixture until the cereal is thoroughly coated. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and press firmly with spatula to distribute evenly.
Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or until cooled and set; using foil, lift out of the pan and cut into bars.

*Recipe and facts courtesy of Bard Valley Natural Delights

**Read more from Shaina on Food for My Family! Follow Shaina on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for updates!

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