Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Make it Natural: Lemon Treats

By Alana Sugar, July 19, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
Amy, a Whole Story reader, requested a healthier version of the traditional lemon bar that she loves. Traditional lemon bars contain a lot of empty calories in the form of white flour, butter and white sugar, so we decided to approach this request in a different way: how could we come up with a nutrient-dense lemon treat? We went back to basics and used whole foods—nuts, coconut and seeds for richness, and dates for natural sweetness. One of our readers has already become a big fan of these treats. Check out the comment myiatrou wrote on the recipe:
I was so skeptical... I mean, for someone who never touched a date before ... WOW! What a neat and easy treat to make! This is perfect for those "I need something sweet NOW" moments and you won't regret later. I added a little extra zest and used walnuts...
You can check out our complete recipe, as well as leave comments and ratings, on our Lemon Treats recipe page. Did we mention that these treats happen to be gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan? Here’s how we chose the ingredients for our Lemon Treats:
  • Dates provide several nutrients including protein, iron, calcium, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, and vitamin A, just to name a few. They are thought to aid in digestion and are rich in potassium but naturally low in sodium to support a healthy nervous system and blood pressure levels. This energy-boosting dried fruit is packed with fiber, natural sugar, and other carbohydrates that provide long-lasting energy. They are extremely sweet, so a small amount goes a long way.
  • Did you know that sesame seeds are a good source of calcium and other minerals such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc? And don’t forget the fiber and monounsaturated fats they contribute.
  • Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C and lemon peel contains essential oils that add bright citrus flavor.
  • Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Coconut adds not only a rich flavor and creamy texture, but also medium chain fatty acids which are more easily digested and absorbed.
We really can’t do a side-by-side comparison of these treats to traditional lemon bars, but trust us that they’re very lemony and delicious. Each treat has 3 grams of fiber, only 7 grams of sugar, and 140 calories. Bring a batch to your next summer bash. Did you miss the recipe link above? Here is the complete Lemon Treats recipe.




Mimi Facher says ...
I've been searching in vain (and for a long time) for the Whole Foods snickerdoodles recipe, which is my absolute favorite cookie on the shelves. If you could help me, I would be forever grateful (and might even offer you a tray of my fabulicious and world-renowned homemade brownies). Please please please help a Whole Foods cookie addict out. Gotta go -I feel the urge for another cookie coming on!
07/20/2010 10:50:32 AM CDT
Laura says ...
Hey, I love date balls, and these sound yummy, but if I was the original person who wrote asking for a healthy type of lemon bar recipe, this would be very disappointing! These are not similar at all to lemon bars!
07/21/2010 11:04:17 PM CDT
-elle says ...
Are the dates used fresh or dried?
07/22/2010 9:34:26 AM CDT
vaughnm says ...
@elle, The dates are dried. Thanks!
07/23/2010 11:45:19 AM CDT
Keri says ...
Thanks for the recipe! I am really excited to try these reinvented treats.
07/27/2010 1:49:26 PM CDT
Lissa says ...
They look good in their own right, but I'm not sure I would compare them to lemon bars. Lemon bars have that lusciously tart and creamy filling to them. I don't see these satisfying the craving for that particular texture. I do think you could "healthify" lemon bars, though, by using a whole wheat (and maybe sesame seeds or walnuts if you wanted to take a cue from this recipe) crust and perhaps using agave or honey for the filling instead of white sugar. You could also sprinkle them with coconut before baking. Or hey, what about using date sugar in them?
07/27/2010 3:26:21 PM CDT
Meg Bressette says ...
If you wanted to make Lemon Bars and add some nutrition (not sure this is something that can be made entirely healthy) here are a few changes that would help - add ground golden flaxseed meal to the crust and use whole wheat pastry flour instead of the white flour. For the lemon curd it gets harder but has anyone played around with using agave nectar in place of the sugar? I would use raw cane sugar instead of white which wouldn't change the nutrition value. The biggest thing to make sure when you make Lemon Bars is to use plenty of fresh lemon juice and zest - they should really have great lemon flavor. I love dates and I will definitely add the above recipe to try! Meg
07/30/2010 11:24:56 AM CDT
susan w says ...
I LOOOVE this recipe; as a matter of fact, I just used very similar ingredients to whip up a No Bake, No Fuss, No Guilt, Gluten & Dairy Free, Vegan, Cashew Lemon Cheesecake! See my recipe here: http://www.pranawellness.org/1/post/2010/07/no-bake-strawberry-lemon-cheesecake.html
07/30/2010 4:52:24 PM CDT
IsabelleArtist says ...
This is one tasty article. I can't wait to try it on my own. Mmmmmm....
10/15/2010 5:15:06 AM CDT
June Siegel-Hill says ...
I just made them and boy, they came out really bitter tasting! I followed the directions exactly too. I'd love to know how to fix it so I can feed it to my hungry vegan son! Let me know how I can improve on this one, please!
02/15/2013 2:00:35 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JUNE - I saw that Alana was able to help you out on the Recipe forum. Hopefully they will turn out better with her suggestions!
02/20/2013 12:11:51 PM CST