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Active Living

50% of all New Year’s Resolutions Fail – Will yours?

Posted Thu, Jan 09, 20 by Sunsweet

This New Year, why not resolve to do something a little bit different? You could resolve to treat yourself well with delicious food that is super-nourishing, too. You could resolve to create a plan of activity for your family that is, primarily, fun. And who knows? Maybe, just maybe, this year's resolutions will be the ones that you'll actually keep!

How to move your New Year’s resolutions into the 50% that succeed!

How many times have we all proclaimed (almost brazenly!) – to ourselves and to friends - lists of positive, well intentioned New Year's Resolutions which we ‘resolve to include in our lives with energy, spirit, enthusiasm, passion and intent, and yet, statistically many resolutions are set to fail, before they’ve actually commenced! An American study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology estimated that, every New Year, some 50 percent of the population makes resolutions around things like weight loss, exercise, smoking and finances but 6-8 weeks later their promises are backsliding.

And yet, thankfully, Hope Springs Eternal.

So what can we do, to give ourselves a better chance of maintaining our resolve?

Create an ‘Area of Focus

Peter Bregman, writing in the Harvard Business Review, has offered insights into why the setting of specific goals often fail; ‘we’re taught to make them very specific, very measurable and time-bound .... but it turns out that those very characteristics are precisely the reasons goals can backfire’. Indeed, 6-8 weeks on when we haven’t met those high achieving goals we confidently proclaimed at the start of the New Year, we frequently begin to cheat, bluff ourselves, and lose momentum!

Bergman proposes: ‘Instead of identifying goals, consider identifying Areas of Focus’.

  • an Area of Focus establishes activities you want to spend your time doing; a goal defines an outcome you want to achieve.
  • an Area of Focus is a path; a goal is a result.
  • an Area of Focus settles you into the present; a goal points to a future you intend to reach.

And the beauty of the final outcome is that by narrowing the focus, our resolve becomes real and habit forming.

And we can certainly see the benefits of aiming to maintain a healthy lifestyle rather than introducing harsh exercise regimes and punitive crash diets. It makes sense for healthy habits to be an everyday part of life rather than things that are introduced in a panic on the first of January only to be abandoned a short time later. Having a buddy to support you  in your healthy endeavours is an excellent idea, too. You can share hints and tips. You can celebrate successes and learn from failures. You can cheer each other on, to keep focused and stay committed, when the going gets tough.

Five inspirational tips

If you're in need of a little inspiration, our Healthy Living Guide is an excellent place to start.
If you rely on your motivation alone, that life-affirming, energy-boosting, healthy-weight-maintaining exercise session may never happen! So here are 5 tips on creating a winter activity plan that will help you keep to your Area of Focus in check. 

  1. Change your behaviour by changing your thinking – exercise isn't a chore, it's fun!
  2. Dig out the high-vis, a brisk walk can be refreshing on a cold and crisp evening.
  3. Discover your inner child. If we're lucky enough to have snow, get out there and play!
  4. Sign up for a course. Something fun, like a jive class. Something soothing, like yoga. Whatever floats your boat.
  5. And finally, if the weather really is too foul to leave the house, YouTube is chock-full of workout videos for all ages, tastes and fitness levels.

A Beginner's Guide to...Breakfast

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

Skipping breakfast. It's the obvious way to cut back on calories, isn't it? Well, think again. Skipping a meal can lead to less energy, reduced levels of physical activity and – ultimately – weight gain. Read on and let our Beginner's Guide to Breakfast help you – and your family - to get every day off to a Sunsweet start!

Breakfast – what's the big deal?

America's National Weight Control Registry investigates weight loss programmes on a statistically significant scale. And registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick observed, from the Registry's findings, that “more than 70 percent of people who have lost weight and kept it off include eating breakfast among their daily habits”. Evidence published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who ate breakfast, in a clinical trial, used more energy through physical activity than those who skipped the meal.

But can skipping meals be a way to aid weight loss?

Skipping meals, any meal, is not a good idea because it can result in tiredness - making you less likely to have the energy for physical activity, feeling over-hungry and make you more likely to choose unhealthy snacks to fill up on. If we're honest with ourselves, we innately know that to maintain a healthy weight, you need to balance the number of calories you consume through food, with the number of calories you burn off through exercise. It's pretty straightforward, really!

Prunes; a welcome boost towards your five-a-day

Our diet has an enormous impact on both our physical and our emotional wellbeing and a common-sense attitude towards healthy eating is crucial. Breakfast is an excellent opportunity to squeeze in a few extra portions of fruit and veg and this can give the boost towards five-a-day that many of us so desperately need!

Sweet and super-tasty, prunes are high in fibre, virtually fat-free, contain only naturally occurring sugars and are an excellent source of many nutrients making a valuable contribution towards a healthy, balanced diet. When time is short and you have no real choice but to eat your breakfast on the run, prunes – enjoyed straight from the pack – offer a convenient, and yet healthy, option. And, when time is on your side, prunes can really come into their own at breakfast-time.

Wow the family at breakfast-time – with prunes!

  • A handful of prunes – roughly chopped – make a deliciously fruity addition to your family's favourite breakfast cereals. They'll help to up your nutrient quota, early doors, and be a great start towards your five-a-day goal.
  • Pureeing the fruit and spreading it on warm toast makes for a simple, satisfying and super-tasty start to the day.
  • Whizzed together with your choice from a selection of fresh fruits, yogurts, juices and dairy or non-dairy milks, prunes can bring a wonderful depth of flavour to smoothies.

You can find more delicious Breakfast recipe inspiration by searching under the Breakfast category on our recipe page.

Now doesn't that sound worth leaping out of bed for?

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Are you beach body ready?

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

Beach body ready. It’s a phrase that can strike fear into the hearts of the best of us! So, what’s the skinny? Are crash diets a no-no? The jury may still be out on crash diets. So is there a less drastic and more long-term approach that we can take?


Do crash diets work?

The jury is out on crash diets. One study of 200 obese adults, published in The Lancet, found that although crash-dieters did lose weight, the approach can be dangerous. That’s because it’s tricky to get all of the nutrients that the body needs when you significantly reduce food intake. So, this summer, why not take a less drastic and more long-term view?

Is there a different approach?

Overeating of any kind is likely to lead to weight gain. But research from Liverpool University suggests that eating 140-170g prunes daily, as part of a weight control diet, may have a positive contribution to weight loss.

Whether you’re at a music festival, having a picnic, on-the-road with the family or just going about your daily business, snacking is an inevitable part of contemporary life. It goes without saying that unhealthy snacks like crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks should be limited to being an occasional treat. But there is evidence to suggest that nutritious snacks can – and indeed should – form part of a healthy balanced diet.

What’s the science on snacking?

According to the Mayo Clinic, choosing healthy snacks can help to manage hunger and reduce the likelihood of bingeing at mealtimes. The trick is to choose snacks that are satisfying, nutritionally beneficial and relatively low in calories. Because prunes are a fruit - and so lower in energy density than many other snacking options – they can make a convenient, healthy choice when consumed as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Why do we overeat?

Experts in psychology tend to agree that there can be a range of complex, emotional issues behind our propensity to overeat. Learning to tune in to your body and to identify what acts as a trigger for you may be enough for you to make the adjustments needed to reach a healthy weight and to stick to it, long term.

  1. Reason #1 You’re constantly on the run

    When life is busy and you’re regularly eating on-the-hoof - grabbing what you can, when you can – your eating patterns can end up muddled. You may not be able to remember the last time you sat down for a proper meal. But day-long snacking can prove surprisingly calorific! Try to take a more mindful approach. Plan ahead so you’ve got a more inspiring store-cupboard. Have a repertoire of recipes for simply-prepared dishes up your sleeve. And promise yourself that – from now on - you’ll take a little time out of your day to enjoy your meals.
  2. Reason #2 You’re craving something other than food

    Maybe you’re tired or stressed or both – it’s not uncommon with our hectic lifestyles, after all! Try to be aware of what’s going on for you. If you’re in need of comfort, try not to make food your first port of call. Call a friend. Get outside for a stroll. Give yourself a hand massage. Sometimes a little TLC can go a long way towards filling that gap.

Have a happy and healthy summer!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

A side order of body confidence – just in time for summer!

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

Poor body image; it can be a barrier to both happiness and health, so why not play to your strengths and bag yourself a whole load of body confidence .... just in time for summer. And we'll let you into a little secret: it's as much about your mind as it is about your body!

Embracing diversity – even in the toy world

After decades of criticism about promoting a body shape that is, without drastic surgery, unattainable to most, Mattel have finally given into pressure and released a range of Barbie dolls that more accurately represent the bodies of real women. The new range includes different body types - tall, curvy and petite – and a broader mix of skin tones, hair colours and textures. The changes are long overdue. An opinion piece in Time magazine commented that there have been times when the lack of body diversity in the Barbie range has seemed, at best, outdated and, at worst, downright offensive. And how people feel about their bodies matters.

Body image matters

The way that we feel about the size and shape and overall appearance of our bodies can have an impact, either positively or negatively, on our overall confidence levels. Low confidence, about any aspect of ourselves, can affect our self-esteem making it more difficult for us to try new things. Even if those new things could ultimately end up with us feeling better about our bodies! Things like trying out a selection of healthy, new recipes or giving a fun, high energy exercise class a go.

So poor body image can be a barrier to both happiness and health but, conversely, a report from gov.uk found that having a positive body image is associated with:

  • Making healthy choices, eating and exercising well
  • Treating your body with respect
  • Being self-protective, e.g: avoiding websites/ magazines that promote idealised beauty

But how exactly can that be achieved?

The positive psychology movement

Martin Seligman is a mover and shaker in the field of positive psychology. He has an impressive body of work that focuses on the promotion of good mental health to live a life that is as meaningful as possible. By focusing on our personal strengths, according to Seligman, we can help to boost our esteem thus making it easier for us to make healthy lifestyle choices – including trying those all-important new things! He suggests thinking about what makes you feel excited, what makes you feel invigorated rather than exhausted, what makes you feel joyful and enthusiastic and focusing on those.

Playing to your strengths

So, with summer just around the corner, here are our top three tips for getting yourself a whole load of body confidence. And guess what? It's as much about your mind as it is about your body!

  1. Ignore, if at all possible, societal pressure about body conformity: without personal stylists, flattering lighting and heavy-handed airbrushing, even the cover girls wouldn't look like cover girls!
  2. Embrace your uniqueness, celebrate it, aim to be you at your very best and remember that if you feel good, you'll exude confidence and there's nothing more attractive than that!
  3. Eat well so that you're bursting with energy and, that way, you'll feel more inclined to exercise. And do you know what? You'll glow!

Good luck!

PS: Don't forget to check out our fab healthy recipe collection. And be inspired to try something new.

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

BBQ like a pro - hints, tips and the ultimate Spicy Prune BBQ Sauce recipe.

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

Summer is the perfect time for relaxed informal get-togethers’ with family and friends to enjoy each other's company and share some food. And the entertaining highlight of many a long and lazy summer's day? The good old BBQ grill! Read on for hints and tips and how to wow them all with the ultimate Spicy Prune BBQ Sauce recipe. 

King of the Grill!

What is it about this time of the year that sees so many men take up position as King of the Grill? Is it a throwback to the ancient days of the hunter-gatherer? Is it the ritual of lighting the fire, the thrill of an ever-so-slight risk of danger? The joy of being outdoors? Of hanging out with the rest of the menfolk? Of showcasing culinary prowess away from the limitations of the kitchen… and the obligations of the washing-up? Perhaps it’s destined to remain one of life’s unsolved little mysteries!

Whoever ends up doing the cooking, there’s so much more to BBQ food than processed burgers and well-sizzled sausages. This year, why not wow your friends and family with BBQ fare that’s tasty, easy-to-prepare and super-nutritious, too?

Keeping things healthy

BBQing is such a wonderful way to combine two of life's great pleasures: enjoying the great outdoors and eating good food with family and friends. And, with just a little bit of forward planning, healthy lifestyle choices and eating habits don't have to fall by the wayside the moment the grill is fired-up.

Choose:

  • Leaner cuts of meat – chicken, steak, chops.
  • Fish – salmon, monkfish, prawns, tuna, even a whole stuffed fish like mackerel.
  • Colourful veggie kebabs – peppers, red and white onions, mushrooms, courgette, cherry tomatoes, tofu.
  • Baked spuds – as long as you go easy on the butter! – are super-filling and low in fat.

Ditch the white bread-rolls and serve an appetising selection of fresh salads, instead. Chopped fresh and dried fruits, nuts and seeds are a great way to add texture and crunch. And when it comes to dressings, choose fruity chutneys and relishes rather than relying on those calorie-laden sour-cream and mayo options.

Our easy to prepare Spicy Prune Barbeque Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to meat, fish and veggie grills.

Ingredients

Ingredients for approx. 625 ml:
Prep time: approx. 30 min


150g Sunsweet prunes 
1 Onion (diced)
2 Garlic cloves (chopped)
1 tbsp. Oil
2 tbsp. Tomato paste
500 ml Ketchup
3 tbsp. Whiskey
5 tbsp. Worcester sauce
2 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. Brown sugar
1 tsp. Salt
½ - 1 tsp. Chili powder
1 tsp. Smoked paprika powder
Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the prunes into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan and fry onion on medium heat until glassy.
  2. Add garlic, prunes and tomato paste and sautée lightly. Add Ketchup, Whiskey, Worcester sauce and Apple Cider Vinegar. Stir in sugar, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika and pepper.
  3. Bring sauce to a boil and let simmer for 15 min, stir occasionally. Pour into clean jars and seal when cooled. The sauce can be stored for 4 weeks.

*Sunsweet tips:Did you know that prune juice can be used to tenderise meat? The fruity flavour complements both poultry and red meats. Soak kebab skewers in water first, to stop them from spontaneously combusting.

Looking for desert and finger food recipe ideas? Check out our Free 16 page Recipe Booklet.

Keeping upset tums at bay

The very best BBQs are remembered for all the right reasons, so don’t let the fun and frivolity get in the way of food safety. According to the UK government's food safety agency, cases of food poisoning practically double during the summer months. And the main reasons for this rise are undercooked meat and bacterial cross-contamination amongst foodstuffs. Yeugh! So, this year, please make sure that you check out safefood.eu for some timely hints and tips on keeping things safe.

Have fun and eat (and stay) healthy!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Boost your happiness and wellbeing by spreading some Gratitude. It’s scientifically proven!

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

Super simple ways to significantly – and sustainably - boost your happiness levels and enhance your physical and emotional wellbeing, in the process. Read on for research-based evidence about accentuating the positive and getting grateful. Start small and – before you know it – you'll have a whole heap of happy!

Start loving the Gratitude!

The Spring can be a great time for an overhaul. A chance to rid ourselves – once and for all - of the old habits that no longer serve us and to embrace some healthy, new ones. Habits like acknowledging events - like Mother's Day and Easter - and commemorating them, in a way that feels meaningful to you. Habits like celebrating successes large and small. Habits like noticing the positives, however tiny they may be, and expressing gratitude for them. And there's research-based evidence about the value – from both an emotional and a physical point of view – for making these super-simple step changes to your everyday habits.

The Science of Celebration

The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), at the University of Berkeley, offers up some compelling reasons for all of us to get into the gratitude habit. Because according to Juliana Breines, writing on the organisation's website, happiness research – spanning some 20 years – has one key message for us all: give thanks.

After analysing the results of countless scientific studies, the GGSC found that developing an attitude of gratitude can, amongst other things:

  • have a positive impact on our emotional wellbeing and on our relationships
  • reduce our likelihood of becoming depressed
  • increase our resilience when faced with life's many and inevitable challenges

Grumbling and thinking negatively can, all too easily, become a habit. If you look at the messages that we're bombarded with - from the myriad 24/7 news channels, for example - the vibe is predominantly downbeat. But there's no need to panic. The GGSC have come up with four simple tips that should help you to cultivate a healthy sense of gratitude, no matter what life throws at you!

Get Grateful: In 4 Simple Steps

  1. Count your blessings

    Remember that even on the very worst of days, something positive will have happened. Spend a few minutes jotting down these good things, however small or insignificant they may seem. According to a study by the Positive Psychology Center, at the University of Pennsylvania, “completing this exercise every day for one week led to increases in happiness that persisted for six months”. Impressive stuff!

  2. Mental subtraction

    Without stressing yourself out too much in the process … imagine that something you currently have is gone. Applied to possessions, to jobs and even to people, this simple trick alone might be just enough to make you appreciate those things and to stop taking them for granted!

  3. Savour

    In their book, “Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience”, Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff extol the virtues of a regular “Savoring Walk”. Walking for just 20 minutes, on your own, every week and paying hyper-close attention to the sights, smells and so on of your surroundings can – the authors found - have a positive effect on your happiness levels, a full week later.

  4. Say “Thank You”

    Really, could it get much more simple than that? And just imagine the warm glow that the recipients of your gratitude will experience, too. Now, that's what we call a win-win.

Reasons to feel grateful – think prunes!

And while we're feeling celebratory and expressing gratitude for the small things, let's hear it for the prunes!

Prunes; A super-quick and fruity snack. A rich, indulgent note in an elaborate feast. And lots of things in-between. Convenient, natural and a wonderfully versatile addition to a range of dishes, both sweet and savoury - really do deserve a dollop of gratitude.

So, we've acknowledged that prunes are delicious but did you know that they're actually pretty good for you, too? Follow the link to discover even more reasons for you to be grateful for Sunsweet prunes!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Delicious Christmas gifts for the Foodie in your life

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

We hate to have to break it to you, but Christmas is just around the corner! So what do you reckon, could this be the year that – with a little forward planning - you manage to minimise the stress, maximise the joy and makes lots of happy, family memories along the way?

In the age of technology, the pressure to create a flawless and fashionable family Christmas can start to mount. Social media is awash with sumptuous and stylish images that are far beyond the reaches of most of us. But before you get swept away and dispirited by unattainable standards, why not take a little time to get to the bottom of what the spirit of Christmas actually means for your family? If you’re anything like us, family and friends, festive foods and fun will certainly come close to the top of the list!

So this year, why not get organised ahead of time and set aside a day or so to rustle up some delicious foodie gifts for your nearest and dearest? Get the whole family involved because kids of all ages really do have a part to play. Even the tiniest of tots can help to decorate the labels for bottles and jars, for example. And what a wonderfully creative way to spend a gloomy autumnal weekend; filling your own home with aromas that will conjure up the festive season while creating unique and scrumptious gifts that have a truly personal touch!

The positive psychology behind homemade gifts

According to Allison Pugh, a sociologist at the University of Virginia, gift-giving is “an expression of truly seeing the other person and knowing what they want." And who wouldn’t want a festive spiced Christmas cake, jewel-coloured jars of chutneys and preserves or – for the more decadent people on your gift list – bottles of alcohol-marinated fruits? Home-made foodie treats make for Christmas gifts that go on giving long into the New Year. A study published in the Journal of Marketing discovered that people felt that homemade items showed more love and that – generally speaking - love is the message that people wanted to express. The study’s authors found that handmade products were perceived to be, “literally imbued with love." And Allison Pugh is in agreement, “If gifts are about expressing and forging love, one of the best ways to do that is with your own time. That will always be a really powerful gift." We couldn’t agree more!

Delicious edible gifts

Our easy-to-make Prune and Orange Marmalade and fragrant Prune Chutney are excellent places to start. Why not make a double batch and pop a jar of each into everybody’s stocking? If you fancy trying your hand at something a little more challenging, our Prune Biscotti with White Chocolate and Prune Stollen are well worth the effort! Although biscotti are best eaten within 4 weeks, they can be stored in a sealed container for up to 8 weeks. And stollen will last for several weeks if covered and kept in a cool, dry place. In fact, the loaves actually become more moist and flavourful as they age. Decant your bakes into pretty bags or boxes just before gifting. Getting your little ones to create hand-written labels with serving suggestions is a lovely finishing touch. The Prune Stollen, for example, is delicious toasted and served warm with a generous dollop of our Prune and Orange Marmalade.

Enjoy!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Dietary Fibre 101

Posted Fri, Feb 21, 20 by Sunsweet

What exactly is fibre? Why does the body - every body - need it? What happens to our body if we don’t get enough of it? And how can we ensure that we keep getting plenty of it? Read on for everything you - and your family - need to know about dietary fibre.

Our Dietary Fibre 101

OK. We admit that as health topics go, dietary fibre - and the role that it can play in contributing towards a healthy and normally functioning body – is far from being a glamorous one. And yet, dietary fibre is an important health topic. With a seemingly endless increase of pressure on our time and the proliferation of quick, convenient and very nutrient-poor meals, many of us simply do not get enough fibre from the food we eat on a regular basis.

But what is dietary fibre?

In a nutshell, dietary fibre is the tiny parts of things like cereal, vegetables and fruit that cannot be digested in the small intestine. Instead, this dietary fibre passes further along in the digestive system before most of it gets broken down by bacterial action in the colon. Increasing dietary fibre – as part of a healthy and balanced diet - can help to soften stools, making them easier to pass and helping to keep the complex cogs of the digestive system moving!

If you would like a more detailed understanding of how the digestive system works then our 'whistle stop tour of the digestive system' will be of interest to you.

And it seems that fibre has an even more crucial role to play, too. The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) reckon that dietary fibre is protective against bowel cancer. Around 12% of bowel cancers in the UK are linked to eating insufficient fibre, less than 23 grams a day.

Types of dietary fibre

Dietary fibre is typically divided into two groups:

  1. Insoluble Fibre:

    This is made up of the skins of fruits, the stalks and leaves of vegetables and the husks and hard coats of seeds. Insoluble fibre is more slowly broken down and its bulk helps with the evacuation of stools.

  2. Soluble Fibre:

    This is more completely fermented in the colon, it retains fluid, softening the stools and making them easier to pass.

Many plant components contain both soluble and insoluble components of dietary fibre. For example, the skins of prunes are composed of insoluble fibre and the pulp and juice are composed of soluble fibre

Dealing with constipation

If you do become constipated, it is even more important than ever to aim for at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day. Fibre-packed dried fruits and natural, unsweetened juices can both count towards this target. Just three prunes a day count for one of your ‘5-a-day’ portions!

Highly processed foods are best avoided as these tend to be higher in fat, salt and sugar and are often lower in fibre. Get into the home-cooking habit. Our recipe pages are a great place to look, for healthy inspiration.

The role of fluids

To help to keep things moving, digestively-speaking, it’s important to make sure that you drink plenty of fluid. If you’re actively taking steps to increase the amount of fibre in your diet, be sure to increase the amount of fluid that you drink, too. The body is super-efficient at extracting fluid from the colon when it is needed for bodily functions. And even slight dehydration can lead to harder stools that are more difficult to pass. Six to eight glasses of fluid a day - water or diluted fruit juices are good choices – is a useful rule of thumb.

If you’d like to find out more about the role of dietary fibre – especially if you suffer from IBS with constipation – please do take a look at our booklet. It’s packed with expert hints and tips:

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Don’t let your travels upset your tum!

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

With holiday season well under way, we’ve all heard our fair share of anecdotes about travellers’ tummy troubles. Each of them more “TMI” than the last. But did you know that, by following just a few simple steps, it’s possible to dramatically improve the chances of you – and your family - maintaining good digestive health while travelling?

Concerns about food safety issues and the likelihood of subsequent, unpleasant illness. The digestive system getting out of synch. And a relaxed family holiday, memorable for all the right reasons. Are these three things something of a paradox, perhaps, a contradiction in terms? Because a survey by CondéNet and the California Dried Plum Board, found that digestive health problems were far from uncommon amongst holiday-makers.

  • More than 75% experienced occasional digestive problems while traveling
  • 42% suffered from constipation

What causes ‘travelers’ tummy’?

When travelling, it’s important to be sensible and aware about food safety and health. But you need to balance this caution; becoming paranoid about every morsel could just as easily spoil your holiday!

Simple precautions include:

  • Checking if the local tap water is safe to drink. If in doubt, opt for bottled water.
  • Holding-off on ice cubes (salads, deserts and drinks) if you think the local water could be an issue.
  • Sticking to cooked food that has been freshly cooked and served piping hot.
  • Choosing the more popular cafes and restaurants; locals are likely to avoid the duds!
  • Using wipes and antibacterial gels - they can be really useful for keeping the family’s hands clean, when you’re on the go.

If you’re unlucky, don’t panic. Take in plenty of fluids. Chamomile and raspberry leaf tea are natural remedies that you can try, to gently relieve diarrhea. And crystallized ginger is said to help alleviate nausea.

And what about the opposite side of the coin, Constipation?

Letting healthy eating habits slip, while on the road. Grabbing convenience food and snacks that are far from optimum, nutritionally. Not getting enough sleep. Not getting enough to drink. Struggling to get used to dramatic changes in temperature. Finding it stressful, the whole experience of being away from home. Getting used to unfamiliar ingredients and new flavours. There are a whole host of reasons why the fine-tuning of the digestive system may end up a little out-of-whack.

"The disruption of one's normal routine/schedule is inevitable when one travels. But eating poorly is controllable by the individual. People really need to look at their food choices either while traveling or at home. They don't realize that there are simple preventative solutions which may help alleviate bouts of digestive discomfort that can occur on the road," says Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Where possible, include plenty of fresh fruit and veg in your holiday diet. But make sure that you pack some non-perishable dried fruit, too – like Sunsweet prunes. Prunes are known to help maintain good digestive health. And the whole family will love their super-sweet flavour.

Good digestive health – it’s what we do!

At Sunsweet, we’re passionate about good digestive health and we’re more than delighted to share our expert insights. Check out our top four tips for good digestive health and Simple Health Tips for People on the Go.

And – for even more comprehensive info - why not download our Healthy Living Guide ?

Bon Voyage!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Do your bit on World Cancer Day: Because the fight against cancer isn’t over

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

The experts reckon that up to a third of the most common types of cancer could be prevented by taking two very simple steps. Can you really afford not to find out more? Get informed and do your bit to improve your lifestyle and reduce the risk for you and your family.

World Cancer Day

Established at the World Summit Against Cancer, in Paris, on 4 February 2000, World Cancer Day has become a truly global movement. And the main aims of the day are simple:

  • To unite the world’s population in the fight against cancer.
  • To save millions of preventable deaths, annually.
  • To raise awareness about cancer both in the media and in people’s minds.
  • To share up-to-date information about the disease, its causes and the steps that can be taken to help to prevent it.
  • To inspire individuals, health organisations and governments around the world to take action.

Cancer: The Stats

The stats on cancer make for pretty sobering reading. Worldwide, more than 8 million people die of the disease each year. Half of those – some 4 million people - are the premature deaths of people aged between 30 and 69. The number of cases of cancer is only expected to rise in the years to come.

Doing our bit

And yet despite all the stats, there are still plenty of reasons for us all to feel positive and hopeful. Research published by the organisers of World Cancer Day suggests that up to a third of the most common types of cancer could be prevented by taking two very simple steps:

  1. By having a balanced and nutritious diet thus maintaining a healthy weight.
  2. By taking regular exercise.

The role of 5-a-day

The five-a-day fruit and veg guidelines were based on World Health Organisation recommendations and introduced in 1990 with the aim of improving the health of the global population. Many of us already struggle to achieve five-a-day. And yet a study by University College London found that there could be health benefits from doubling that target. Dr Oyinlola Oyebode, the study’s author, says, “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. My advice would be however much you are eating now, eat more.”

The good news is that whether your fruit and veg intake is tinned, fresh, frozen or dried – like scrummy Sunsweet prunes – it all counts towards your five-a-day. And our recipe pages are chock-full of fruit and veggie-based inspiration!

Keeping active

An active lifestyle – with lots of movement throughout the day - is really important and adults should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise during an average week. But with busy lifestyles – where every moment of our week is accounted for - this can sometimes be easier said than done. With a little bit of planning, though, it doesn’t have to be impossible.

Rather than “a coffee and cake catch-up” with a friend, arrange to have a weekly “walk and talk” instead.

Make friends with one-pot meals: while they’re cooking, the entire family can get outside for a walk around the block, a spot of gardening or a high-energy kick-around. Or better still, all three!

Get-together with family and friends and book some activities that will drag you out of your comfort zone. Climbing walls, indoor skiing, jiving classes… There’s so much out there, for you to try!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Exercise: the “miracle” cure. Tips on how to make it work for you!

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

They call it the ‘miracle cure’...it’s free, has immediate effect, it’s sociable, fun, suitable for all ages, good weather, bad weather, and, there’s now scientific evidence to prove it can help not only reduce your risk of succumbing to major illness but also help you lead a healthier and ever happier life. It's...exercise! Did that come as something of a surprise?

“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” so says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.

The many benefits of regular exercise

And it's true that the positive arguments for regular exercise certainly cannot be overstated. People who exercise typically experience health benefits in the following areas, amongst many others, meaning that they can enjoy a healthier and even happier life:

  • Digestive health
  • Coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Osteoarthritis, hip fracture and falls (in older adults)
  • Depression
  • Dementia

*Source: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/whybeactive.aspx

How much should we be getting?

Although daily activity is important, adults should generally be aiming for a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise over the course of a typical week. Over the winter though, when the days are short, the weather is lousy and – at Christmas, in particular – the demands on our time are dizzying, it can be all too easy to let healthy habits slide. But spring is the perfect time for a fresh start, to overhaul routines for healthy living, to shake off that sense of winter sluggishness – both mental and physical - and to step towards the summer with confidence, positivity and bags of energy. So what are you waiting for?

5 tips to get you moving!

  1. Choose something that you really enjoy whether that's running or cycling or bopping around the house like a teenager!
  2. Team up with similarly enthusiastic people, you'll up the fun quotient and be much more likely to stick to the arrangements that you've made.
  3. Multi-task. We're all busy, these days, so bundling activities together might help to boost your motivation. Spend time with the kids, exercise the dog and get yourself hot and sweaty by organising a high-intensity kick-about in the park. Roll up your sleeves, pump up the stereo and spring clean the house. You get the idea!
  4. Make moving your body an integral part of your day-to-day life. If you need to make an extra special effort, you might find that you start to make excuses or that exercise slips off your priority list.
  5. And finally... Try not to make excuses. Yes, our lives are generally more sedentary these days. Yes, we are increasingly tied to our technology. But if you're not going to take responsibility for your own health, then who is?

Fuel that workout!

For a nutrient-packed and perfectly portable pre-workout snack, why not consider the not-so-humble prune? Naturally sweet, prunes have a low GI meaning that they release their energy relatively slowly to satisfy your sweetie-cravings without giving you the short-term energy rush and sugar-crash of so many other snacks. Prunes are scientifically-proven to help with digestion, a great way to help overcome sensations of inner sluggishness. You might be interested in our Digestion 101, too, to discover more about the health boosting properties of prunes.

Have a happy spring!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Get Healthy. Get Motivated. Get Sociable.

Posted Thu, May 13, 21 by Sunsweet

It’s the perfect time of year to establish those healthy foundations that will help you to sail through the winter. But if you're concerned about your resolve and motivation for regular exercise slipping, why not get a group of friends and family together, with social distancing as is comfortable for all of you, and get moving?

Having the support of friends and family is a very strong motivator to lacing up those runners and to get going! Not only is being sociable written into our DNA but studies have found that exercising with a friend is more fun, helps you to stay in shape and gets you out of the house. A study of 1000 women found that 31 per cent consider their friends to be the motivation they need to stay in shape! And, what’s more, there can be a lot of truth in the cliché, “Friends and Families who play together, stay together”. So, when you consider the stats about how much more motivating it is to exercise with a buddy or two, it really does make sense to get a posse together. It’s all good - No excuse!

Four tips to getting a posse of friends together!

  1. Get sociable and start to recruit your motivator posse
  2. The school gates. The office. The gym. Your friends on Social media. These are all rich sources for members of your gang. In fact, anywhere is. Be inclusive. Ask people to invite a friend. And a friend of a friend. When it comes to your posse going, the more, the merrier!

  3. Get creative and brainstorm ideas for trips out and activities
  4. Perhaps there's a park near you, with a walking trail. (Tea room a bonus!). Zumba class, swimming, Yoga, boot camp, lunchtime or evening brisk walk, hiking, cycling, dance classes, Pilates. Or what about staging an old fashioned sports day in the local park? Rounders. Egg and spoon races. Tag. All excellent fun, whatever your age.

  5. Get picnicking
  6. There's something so scrumptious about food eaten out of doors, when you've done a bit of exercise to work up a healthy appetite! Check out our recipes pages for yummy and portable, prune-related ideas.

  7. Get planning
  8. When are you going to meet? Every month? Every fortnight? Every week? Get some dates in the diary. Make sure that you're all committed to sticking to those dates. After all, a few spots of rain never hurt anybody!

Carpe Diem

Autumn is the perfect time of the year to establish some solid foundations – around diet and exercise and all-round healthy living – that will help to see you glide, effortlessly and healthily, through the long, winter months ahead. What’s more, there are often a few quieter weeks to be savoured, in the Autumn - a welcome little breathing space between the stresses and strains of our summer travels and the coming chaos of all-things Christmas.

So, with a little help and motivation from our friends, the perfect time is right now to, Seize the Moment!

Have we forgotten the real meaning of Christmas?

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

This year, why not tune out of what the media – and everybody else - tells you about the perfect, family Christmas? You might just be able to conjure up a Christmas – with much less pressure, that suits your family down to the ground. Also, read our tips on keeping the whole family moving, even when the TV and choccies call!

Have we forgotten the real meaning of Christmas?

At Christmas, we can feel under more pressure than ever to be living the perfect life. Perfectly grateful children, patiently taking turns to open their perfectly chosen gifts. A perfect meal - home-cooked from scratch and festooned with everyone's favourite trimmings – being tucked into with gusto from a perfectly decorated table. A perfectly flambeed Christmas pudding... OK, you get the idea. And it's lovely, in theory. But the pressure – for the person who's expected to conjure up this vision of Christmas perfection, often single-handedly – can become too much.

Real Meaning

This Christmas, why not resolve to cut yourself some slack? Think about what Christmas means to you. Ask your family what Christmas means to them. Tailor-make a Christmas that's packed full of meaning for your family. And forget about everything else. There is no gold standard for the perfect Christmas. What's perfect for you, is perfect for you. (And there's a lot to be said for pre-peeled spuds!)

Keeping Active

We all know that physical activity – even if it's the last thing we feel like doing – can make us feel more energetic and generally improve our sense of wellbeing . So, even on the big day, make sure that you give your family plenty of opportunities to get moving.

  • For older kids, turn clearing the table and washing the dishes into a race-against-the-clock.
  • Younger kids can organise each person's present piles – into bags or boxes – so that you can at least see the living room floor or, better still, so that they can be transported to the respective rooms.
  • Even the tiniest of tots can be put in charge of sorting wrapping paper and packaging for recycling.
  • And if tempers and tears seem inevitable – and not just amongst the toddlers! - it's time for some fresh air and a change of scenery. Bundle everybody up. Set off for a brisk stroll around the block. You'll have rosy cheeks – and sweeter moods – in no time.

Is five-a-day still enough? When it comes to fruit and veg, more is definitely more.

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

With scientific studies now suggesting that five-a-day may no longer be enough, how can we ensure that our family are getting the fruit and veg that they need, for optimum health, while keeping things interesting – and tasty – at mealtimes?

Summer is a great opportunity to finally step into the sunny season with confidence, positivity and gratitude. Phew! And the perfect fuel for all of that? Delicious fruit and veg and plenty of it!

So, is five-a-day still enough?

Based on the World Health Organisation's recommendations, the five-a-day fruit and veg guidelines were introduced in 1990 with the aim of lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Almost a third of us struggle to regularly get our five-a-day. But a 12-year study, 2001 – 2013, by University College London has found that we may benefit from actually doubling-up on the official guidelines and aiming for ten portions of fruit and veg a day instead, to significantly lower the risk of premature death. The study’s lead author, Dr Oyinlola Oyebode, went on record to say: “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. My advice would be however much you are eating now, eat more.”

Variety – the spice of a healthy life

Whether your fruit and veg is tinned, fresh, frozen or dried – like scrummy Sunsweet prunes – it all counts towards your five-a-day. Great news, especially if you're aiming for the more ambitious ten daily portions! The trick is to keep things interesting, so that you and your family don't get bored. And a really great way to do that is to try – for as many of your meals as possible – to have a seasonable focus to the ingredients that you choose.

Did you know that just three prunes count for one of your daily portions? This is great news, especially if you're aiming for the more ambitious ten daily portions! The trick is to keep things interesting, so that you and your family don't get bored. A really great way to do that is to try – for as many of your meals as possible – to have a seasonable focus to the ingredients that you choose. Our recipes pages have lots of inspirational breakfast, mains, salads, desert & sweet treats, salads etc ideas to help you on your way.

Seasonable Treats

With the changing of the seasons, there's something lovely about taking advantage of the natural diversity – the flavours, the textures, the scents and the colours – of seasonable foods. And it's a great way for you and your family to ring the changes at meal-times and to try lots of different foodstuffs throughout the year. Wild garlic, morels and salad staples like spring onions, watercress and rocket are all excellent at this time of the year and make superb foundations for the lighter dishes of springtime as we naturally gravitate away from winter stodge. And if you're feeling inspired by all-things seasonable, why not try growing your own?

Grow your own!

Growing your own is easier than you might think. Vegetable gardening – with a raised bed or even just a handful of pots – is a great excuse to get the whole family out into the fresh air. And eating healthful foods - that you have watched grow from seed – can help to tempt even the fussiest of eaters into trying new things. There really is something magical – for kids of all ages – in the transformation from seeds to shoots to something scrummy. Salads are a super-simple starting point. A sunny spot. Plenty of water. And you really can't go wrong.

And finally...

You can check out Sunsweet's eco credentials, here:

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

It’s Spring – and there’s a sense of celebration in the air!

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

Don’t forget that the clocks change on the 26th March. What better excuse is there to burst out of hibernation, to shake off the very last dregs of winter sluggishness and to spring forward with confidence and positivity and gratitude?

There really is something so special about the beginning of the spring. It just seems to feel like the perfect season to take a fresh look at our daily routines, to make the small adjustments that are needed to get our health and our wellbeing goals back on track and to take the time out to really celebrate the results.

Life is for living, after all. It’s certainly way too short and too precious to get hung up on counting every calorie or to beat yourself up for skipping a session at the gym. At the end of the day, if our diets are generally healthy with just the occasional well-earned treat and our lifestyles are generally active with just the occasional couch-potato day, we’re actually not doing too badly. And being able to enjoy a busy and vibrant life – fuelled by a varied and nutritious diet – is something to celebrate!

In California – the home of Sunsweet’s extensive prune plum orchards – the spring is a particularly beautiful time of the year. In early March, the orchards become covered in a fragrant blanket of pretty, white blossoms. It’s a truly magical sight! But the beauty is as short-lived as it is spectacular. After just a week or so, the blossoms gently drift to the ground and the orchards’ palette shifts to a deep chartreuse as new fruit forms and tender leaf buds burst.

And that leads us neatly on to new beginnings… It’s hard to believe that it’s one hundred years since the Sunsweet Growers Association was founded making this year a really special one for us, as we’ll be celebrating our centenary! The original Sunsweet farmers were passionate about delivering delicious and nourishing prunes of the very highest quality. And we think that they would be very proud of the fact that the Sunsweet brand is now enjoyed in more than 45 countries and that their legacy - of delivering the best possible prunes to customers – continues. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can watch the fascinating Sunsweet story.  Let the festivities begin!

And last – but by no means least - March offers us two opportunities to celebrate the special women in our lives. The 8th March is International Women’s Day followed by Mother’s Day on the 26th March. Our recipe pages are packed with yummy ideas for starters and mains, puddings and treats. We hope that they’ll prove inspirational for you, as you plan all those special, celebratory meals. Bon appetit!

And Happy Spring!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Keep it up – you’re doing great!

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

As the Summer season draws - very firmly - to a close, there’s one crucially important task to undertake, to lay good foundations for the months ahead. And the nature of that task? To discover a way to keep motivated around healthy living and fitness regimes throughout the autumn and winter.


The great outdoors

With the onset of darker and colder and wetter nights, it’s hardly surprising that outdoor activities can all too quickly lose their appeal. There are a few ways around that, though, if you think creatively enough!

  • When the weather is changeable, flexibility is key. Rather than planning an outing for a specific day and time, if the weather’s dry, get yourself out there – even if it’s just for a brisk walk around the block while your one-pot dinner is cooking.
  • Instead of a midweek meal or a movie to catch up with friends, why not schedule a regular weekend walk-and-talk?
  • If you invest in some decent, weather-proof gear, a few showers won’t be able to derail your plans. And you could even flask up some hearty, homemade soup for a spot of autumnal alfresco dining!

Indoor activities that won’t break the bank

Gym membership – or even enlisting the services of a personal trainer – can prove to be money well-spent. But, with our increasingly busy lifestyles, it can be difficult to make a regular commitment to a class or a session. And there are lots more cost-effective ways to get the health benefits of physical activity.

From weights routines to rope skipping, from speedy sessions to month-long challenges, you’ll find a plethora of workouts – the vast majority of them being completely free of charge – on-line. YouTube and exercise apps are excellent starting points, for whatever floats your particular fitness boat. You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the array of options but – equally - you’d certainly be hard-pushed to ever feel bored!

Reaping the benefits

All forms of exercise – especially if sessions are regular and of moderate intensity – have significant benefits for health. According to the NHS, exercise can reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

Inside and out

Did you know that getting the outside of your body moving tends to get things moving on the inside, too?

A gentle walk after your main meal is a great habit to get into as it encourages the circulation of blood and oxygen around the body helping to keep things moving inside as you move gently outside. Even if you have no other exercise planned for the day, why not try to include at least a 30 minute walk after lunch or dinner?

Your digestion will thank you for it!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Make friends with technology

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

In the last decade, our use of the internet has skyrocketed. It’s been blamed for many things including our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. And yet it remains a significant part of our everyday lives despite all of the negative and downright fear-mongering headlines. But can technology actually have a role to play, in helping us to create balanced, happy and healthy lives?

Despite being a huge part of modern lives, the online world often gets a bad rap. If you believe what you read in the press, we’ve replaced couch potato habits for mouse potato habits – equally sedentary and unhealthy - and spend every spare moment surfing the net. Social media – in all its iterations - has been blamed for poor body image and low self-esteem across the entire range of demographic groups. And there seems to be a grain of truth behind the fear.

In England alone, according to the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, people now spend twice as much time online compared with 10 years ago and it would be safe to assume that it is a similar story all across Europe. Much of that time, of course, is spent immobile. And stats from the medical journal, The Lancet, suggest that inadequate exercise is responsible for more than 5 million deaths globally each year. Sobering stuff.

But is there a silver lining to the techno cloud?

At its very best, the internet offers a diverse resource of up-to-date, educational material that is both entertainingly written and accessible. Much of it is absolutely free. And our blog, of course, is an excellent example! Whether you choose apps or websites, social media or online newsletters, there’s lots of content out there to support you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle. Check out our top 3 techno tips, be selective and get informed.

  1. Newsletters – Choose reputable sources

    Sign up to a couple of lifestyle-related online newsletters. Choose ones from trusted sources, that cover topics that interest you – info overload is not our goal, here – and get inspired with everything from recipes for healthy and speedy mid-week dinners to tips on keeping active, whatever the time of year.

  2. Workout Videos Online

    Don't let good habits around physical activity slip. It’s far better to maintain an exercise programme throughout the year so that it becomes just another part of your daily routine, something that’s as automatic as brushing your teeth. And this is another area where technology can be your ally. Whatever form of exercise you enjoy – from boxercise to yogalates – you’ll be sure to find an online workout that floats your boat. Bung a one-pot-wonder into the oven – remember to keep things healthy! – and, while it cooks, pop on your workout video of choice and get moving.

  3. Monitoring Fitness Progress

    Whether it’s monitoring your daily calorie intake with sophisticated food diaries, tracking your levels of physical activity, learning relaxation techniques like mindfulness or even keeping an eye on your menstrual cycle, there’s an app for that! Speaking to Fox News, Scott Snyder – an innovator in the field – said, “The ultimate goal of most of these apps is to change behaviour. Small changes are a big overall win for health.” We couldn’t agree more!

As with most things, getting a good balance is crucially important. Everything in moderation – including technology – and you won’t go far wrong!

Looking for more inspiration? Why not check out our Healthy Living Guide?

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Positive steps towards maintaining a healthy weight

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

If you believe the headlines, obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Our kids are fatter than ever. Adult health is being negatively affected by expanding waistlines with the results being a greater propensity for cancer, heart disease, diabetes. It’s enough to make you reach for a chocolate bar. But hold that thought! It’s never too late to do something positive about weight management.

Comfort Eating

The links between stress, comfort eating on high-fat, sugar-laden foodstuffs and subsequent weight gain cannot be ignored. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, a quarter of Americans rate their stress level – on a ten-point scale - as 8+. And stress certainly seems to have an adverse impact on our food preferences. When the going gets tough, we reach for the buns! And, when we’re stressed, we also sleep less, exercise less and drink more alcohol. None of which are great for the waistline.

Researchers at Harvard University offer a trio of common-sense tips for countering stress:

  • Meditation: The practice will help you to become more mindful of your moods and better able to make healthy food choices.
  • Exercise: Activities like yoga and tai chi combine exercise and meditation – a win-win!
  • Social support: A listening ear, when you need to offload, from a supportive member of your network of contacts – choose that ear wisely, it could be a friend, a family member or colleague – can also help to alleviate the symptoms of stress.

Removing Temptation

A sensible step when it comes to weight management is – wherever possible - removing temptation. Having your favourite comfort foods on tap is just asking for trouble. Stock up on fresh fruit and veg. Replace biscuits and crisps with dried fruit and nuts. Swap fizzy drinks for juices with no-added sugar. A few simple switches could make a world of difference.

How can Prunes Help with Weight Loss?

Prunes are sweet, really tasty and versatile – whether eaten straight from the pack or as a flavourful addition to a favourite recipe. But you might be surprised to read that, according to research by the University of Liverpool, eating prunes can actively help to boost weight loss.

The University’s study of 100 people (men and women) tested whether, over a 3-month period, eating the fruit - as part of a weight loss diet - helped or hindered weight control. The results were interesting, discovering that the prune eaters experienced greater weight loss than the control group during the last four weeks of the study and - after week eight – experienced greater satiety. They felt fuller. Dr Jo Harrold, who led the research, said: "Prunes may be beneficial to dieters by tackling hunger and satisfying appetite; a major challenge when you are trying to maintain weight loss."

Be Prepared!

With a well-stocked fruit bowl, a selection of dried fruits and some natural juices to hand, a healthy snack is never too far away. Smoothies are sweet and satisfying and can be whizzed up in seconds. And a handful of prunes – enjoyed on their own – couldn’t be more convenient. You can check out our recipe pages too, for lots of healthy inspiration!

PS: Did you know that prunes can be included in a wide range of special diets? Whether you are gluten intolerant, diabetic, a vegan or a vegetarian, you can find out more about the health benefits of prunes, here on our FAQ pages

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Prune Energy Balls

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

Our modern lives are busy and our fridges aren't always stocked with nutritionally-optimal snacks. That's where store cupboard items like nuts, seeds and dried fruits come into play.  So it makes dietary sense to have a repertoire of easily prepared snacks up your sleeve like our Prune Energy Balls. They’re healthy, tasty, easily-made and can last up to a week. Think school lunch boxes, pre or post-exercise pick-me-ups, an office 'deskfast'. 

Ingredients

125g Sunsweet Prunes
80g almonds / walnuts / mix
60g Chia seeds
15g cocoa powder
15g cup smooth nut butter
Coconut oil, to blend
Desiccated coconut, for rolling (optional)
Makes about 20 balls

Instructions

  1. Place the nuts in a food processor and blitz for a moment. Add prunes and further blitz until a soft dough begins to form.  Add other ingredients, except the coconut oil and desiccated coconut, and blend until smooth. Add a small amount of coconut oil, a few drops at a time, until the mixture is sticky, and holds its shape.
  2. Take a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into a ball and continue until all the mixture is used. Roll the balls in the desiccated coconut, to coat (optional).
*Sunsweet tip: place in the Prune Energy Balls in the freezer for about 45 minutes to set. Stored in an air-tight container in the fridge they will keep for up to a week.

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Prunes - the Smart Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle

Posted Thu, May 06, 21 by Sunsweet

Having a healthier lifestyle does not have to involve going to extremes. Start with clearly defined goals, get support for healthier habits and you’ll soon be on the path to success. We’ve put together some helpful tips to get you started if you’re trying to get more exercise or maintain a healthy weight. 

Set “SMART” Goals

Are the goals you are setting for yourself Specific, Measurable and Achievable? Are they Relevant to your life and Time-bound – have you set a deadline to reach them? There is an art to goal setting: if you make it too easy then you’re not pushing yourself enough; too unrealistic and you’ll give up! Some examples of SMART goals might be:
  • Exercising for 30 minutes three times a week, for example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Trying one new recipe every weekend.
  • Making sure to eat your five a day every day for a week.

Find an exercise you enjoy

If you prefer the great outdoors to noisy gyms then make walking or running outside a regular part of your life. Find friends to go with you or join a local walking or running group. Having a friend to hold you accountable can encourage you to show up when you’d prefer to stay home! Joining an exercise class can also be a fun way to stay fit – there are so many to choose from - circuits, boxercise, or even tap-dancing. Find a time and location that fits into your existing schedule and make it part of your weekly routine. Don’t forget to use the gift of technology and log your exercises using an app – they’ll help you feel great for those small successes and keep your motivation going!

Top tip: turn your walk or run into more fun with an audiobook!

Just add prunes!

Prunes are delicious straight from the pack as a sweet treat, but their versatility makes them a great addition to a range of savoury and sweet recipes. Whip up a batch of Prune Energy Balls to have on hand for after the gym or when you feel the call of the vending machine. Why not also boost the start of your day with a smoothie made with prunes or a chilled glass of prune juice?

If you’re trying to cut down on added fat, making prune purée may help! Try it as an alternative to butter, replacing it by gram equivalent, and see if you taste the extra succulent sweetness! Making it is easy - all you need are prunes, hot water and a food processor. Even better, it keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month! So why not try baking with prunes and see what difference it could make to your sweet treats?

Experiment with recipes you already use or find inspiration by viewing our own dishes. Prunes sweet, fruity flavour contrasts beautifully with spices, citrus flavours and cheeses – for example check out our Asian Fish Curry or Feta, Lentil and Spelt Salad with Orange Dressing dishes. You can even use prunes to make marinade for your favourite meat, fish or tofu dishes. For more confident cooks who prefer doing their own thing rather than following recipes, we’ve put together this flavour pairing guide too. Use it as a starting point to create your own recipes with whatever ingredients you have to hand!

Even if you don’t have much time to cook during the week you can easily add prunes to your diet by stirring chopped prunes into your porridge or cereal each morning. Along with their naturally sweet flavour, they’re packed with fibre and vital nutrients. Just four prunes provide you with 11% of your recommended daily value of fibre, and 20% of your daily Vitamin K . It’s a great way to start your day as you mean to continue – healthily!

The science of satiety and weight loss

Satiety is the feeling of fullness we get after eating. In a study at the University of Liverpool, eating prunes was found to help with weight loss by keeping people feeling fuller for longer. The research involved over 100 people (both men and women) being tested over a 3-month period, and eating the fruit as part of a weight loss diet. Greater weight loss was found in those who ate the prunes than the control group during the last four weeks of the study. After week eight the people eating prunes felt fuller for longer! Dr Jo Harrold, who led the research, said: "Prunes may be beneficial to dieters by tackling hunger and satisfying appetite; a major challenge when you are trying to maintain weight loss."

So here’s a SMART goal to get you started to a healthier lifestyle: walk to your nearest supermarket today, pop a packet of Sunsweet prunes in your shopping basket and try one of our delicious recipes this week! 

i) https://californiaprunes.org/healthy-living/benefits-of-prunes/