As myself and those around me are nearing the intimidating age of 30, a lot of things are spinning through our heads. Babies. Careers. Wrinkles. And as if that wasn’t enough, we women have to seriously think about our long-term health goals. Do I want strong and healthy bones into my elderly years? Do I want to be independent with my daily activities right up until the last day? I think yes. Ensuring our calcium needs are being met is not an easy task. There is only so much kale, kefir, and choy sum we can fit into one day (for other non-dairy sources of calcium see 10 Surprising Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium). With the knowledge that our bones are continuously being built until around age 30, in my last sprint to the dirty thirty I want to make sure I’m giving my bones the nutrients they need. These Simple High Calcium Citrus and Fig Energy Balls are a good way to pack in maximum calcium into a delicious morning or afternoon snack. Chia, tahini and figs are all good sources of this essential mineral, and luckily they all taste great together!
“At around age 18-20 up to 90% of our peak bone mass is acquired, and bone tissue can keep growing until around age 30. At peak bone mass our bones have reached their maximum strength and density. Women will experience minimal change in total bone mass between age 30 until menopause.”
When considering bone health we also want to ensure we are getting adequate vitamin D which helps with our bodies absorption of calcium. Other factors to consider include the bio-availability of calcium in food (spinach, although a good source of calcium contains oxalates which inhibit the absorption of calcium), smoking, alcohol intake, as well as sodium, protein and physical activity. See my post Maximising Calcium For Bone Health On A Dairy-Free Diet for a more in-depth look into other factors to think about.
I’ve made this recipe multiple times, each time with different proportions of ingredients and it always turns out great! So just start pouring into your food processor. Out of season water can be used in place of orange juice, and the zest omitted. Try adding some nutmeg or sesame seeds for a different spin.
Simple High Calcium Citrus and Fig Energy Balls
- 10 dried figs
- 2 tbsp. tahini
- 2 tbsp. chia seeds
- 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
- zest of 1/2 an orange
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until the ingredients are well mixed.
- Roll mixture into small snack sized balls, you should get 8-10 out of the mixture depending on size.
- Option to roll the prepared balls in some sesame seeds. Energy balls will last in the fridge for about 4 days, they also freeze well.
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.