Pooja Motl | Author. Healthy Food Chef. Mother-Daughter STEM Advocacy. Value and Virtues of Motherhood.

Date & Coconut Nuggets
10 nuggets / 10 minutes

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about eating healthy food is the concept of “giving up”, especially when it comes to treats. Yes, everything doused with refined sugars gets kicked out of our lives – packaged cookies, brownies, candy – pretty much the entire glass enclosed case of grab-and-go essentials at any Starbucks you visit. But I’d like to argue that we’re all wrong here. Actually, when you get yourself off of refined sugar, you open the door to a delightful world filled with an array of sweetness that feels better and more satisfying, tastes more complex and varied, and pulls you off the path of addiction that refined sugar is so famous for keeping us on.

I’m not going to lie, I absolutely love sweet – it’s really my comfort food. But as I’ve learned and explored new ways of satisfying my sweet tooth (and my daughter’s), I’ve found it’s surprisingly rewarding to eat “sweet clean”.

My go to ingredients for natural sweetness are: dates, figs, cacao butter, cacao powder, coconut palm nectar, maple syrup, raw honey, pistachios, cashew butter, vanilla, and cardamom. By mixing and matching these and other fruits, dried fruits, spices, and nut butters (in moderation), it is very easy to create desserts that give instead of take from you.

Here is a recipe for coconut date nuggets – little balls of energy and delight that you can take with you to work, slide into your children’s lunch, or keep for yourself in the fridge for weeks. These nuggets aren’t the most sweet treats in my recipe files, but are dessert-like enough and satisfy you when you’re seeking both energy and a bit of sweet flavor without compromising on nutrient density or high quality Paleo fuel.

Feel free to adjust the size of the balls and the amount of cashew butter you use. I tend to make these quite small and store them in a stainless steel container in my fridge for up to 3 weeks, doling them out to my daughter when she’s in need of an afternoon treat of dinner dessert, as well as place them in her lunchbox.

Energy and Sweetness in One Shot


  • 5 fresh dates, cut in half, seed discarded
  • 4 t cashew butter (freshly ground if possible or homemade, soaking first for 3 hours)
  • desiccated coconut


  1. Take 1/2 of a fresh date, mash with the back of a fork until it becomes a thick paste.
  2. Place about 3/4 teaspoon of cashew butter in one hand.
  3. Using both hands, combine the cashew butter with the date paste, scrapping paste into your hands with a fork. Using finger tips, begin to meld the two together, forming a ball.
  4. Roll the ball in the coconut, pressing as you go.
  5. Eat now or place in fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Notes: Play around with amounts of each and size of each nugget to suit your tastes.

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