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Healthy 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.

5 Top Tips on Comfort Eating ... without piling on the pounds!

Posted Thu, Jan 16, 20 by Sunsweet

So, what do you think…is it really possible to indulge yourself with tasty, comforting and warming food, without piling on the pounds? Or, come the summer, do you fully expect to be dieting? At Sunsweet, we believe that comfort does not necessarily have to mean calorific.

5 Top Tips on Comfort Eating...without piling on the pounds!

Gaining weight. It's something that most of us accept as “just one of those things”. The World Health Organisation reports that more than 1.4 billion adults are overweight, the findings of which could prove to be very significant.

Why do we crave Comfort Food in winter?

Comfort Foods tend to be high in carbohydrate and sugar, and there are lots of theories about why we crave these heavier foods more in the winter months. There's a school of thought that winter weight gain could be our survival instinct kicking in; that we're fattening ourselves up to get through the colder months and keep our mood buoyant. And there's another more practical thought: when the days get shorter and temperatures drop, our resolve for healthy living plummets and we descend into a circle of eating more, moving less and, ultimately, gaining weight.

So what can be done to counter the sluggishness caused by overindulging?

Our 5 top tips

Plan ahead to maximise meal-times and super-charge your snacks

  1. Seize the opportunity to stock up the store cupboard with more nutritious snack alternatives. Dried fruit – like Sunsweet prunes – keep well, pack a nutritious punch and are surprisingly versatile adding a rich, fruity depth to both sweet and savoury dishes.
  2. Plan meals ahead – and, where possible, prepare them in advance - so that “I’m starving” feeling doesn't automatically equate to grabbing something quick, calorie-laden and unhealthy. Soups and stews are nourishing and warming and if you choose your recipe wisely can be low in fat and calories, and high in taste and comfort, too. Our Minestrone with Prunes Soup is a lovely veggie option with less than 300 calories.
  3. Drinks and snacks can be tasty, little pick-me-ups. But the ‘easy-to-reach’ sugar laden snacks and super-sized coffees can be a disaster, calorie-wise. High-fibre snacks served with a warm drink – herbal teas are perfect - can help to fuel the body and keep everything moving. And an attractively presented plate of fruit, fresh or dried, couldn't be simpler or quicker.
Get savvy about treats
  1. Life would feel pretty dull without the occasional treat. And from time to time, if you really fancy something chocolatey, there's nothing sinful about giving in to temptation. Do a bit of research though to come up with healthier alternatives. Our Paleo Chocolate Pudding is an excellent example of a treat that is flavourful, tempting, looks great, and under 410 calories, too!
  2. Naturally sweet, prunes and prune juice have no added sugars, just naturally-occurring ones; a quick and easy way to keep sweet cravings at bay. Also did you know that a prune puree (blitzing the fruit with water) can be used to successfully replace fat in cakes and cookies? You can find out more, here. And, finally... A warm bath. Super-cosy PJs. Flickering candlelight. A roaring fire. And a good old-fashioned hug. Totally Comforting, Totally Indulgent. Totally Calorie Free!
  3. Enjoy!

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.

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.

Exercising your right to healthy digestion

Posted Tue, Jun 08, 21 by Sunsweet

Any exercise, as long as it is not to the extreme, will increase intestinal contractions and improve your digestive health. Getting your outside moving tends to get things moving inside too.

But not all exercises were created equal and some are better for your digestive health than others. Regular moderate intensity physical activity – such as walking, cycling or participating in sports – has significant benefits for health. It can, for instance reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and depression. Even simple changes to the way you go about your daily life such as taking the stairs instead of the lift can help you and your digestive system to move more.

Exercises considered good for digestion

All exercise is good for your internal and external fitness, and according to the World Health Organisation, adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise every week. Depending on an individual's relative level of fitness, examples of moderate physical activity could include: brisk walking, dancing or doing the housework. Some exercises in particular are considered more beneficial for your digestive health. So if you are trying to improve your inner as well as external fitness, make sure to include some of the following into your weekly regime:

Aerobic Activities

As aerobic exercise increases the blood flow to all the organs of our body it also increases the blood flow to the digestive tract. The increased blood supply to these areas results in greater intestinal contractions, which in turn releases more digestive enzymes. This makes it easier for food waste to move through the colon and out of the body.

Post dinner walk

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, include at least a 30 minute walk after lunch or dinner. Your digestion will thank you for it.

Yoga – standing and inverted poses

If you think of yoga like a massage for your insides you can imagine how good your body feels after you put it through some simple positions. Quite apart from its proven stress boosting benefits, certain standing poses and inverted yoga poses in particular are good for digestion. If you don't have a class near you or cannot commit time wise, buy a beginners DVD or download an app to get started.

With all exercise be mindful of the fact that digestion does take quite a bit of energy and therefore make sure to allow adequate time after meals before starting exercise. Remember also to always listen to your body's signals, in particular when embarking on a new exercise regime. Your body is a highly tuned machine – if something is not working well – it will let you know!  If you find that one type of exercise doesn't suit you or your digestion, you might consider a different type of exercise such as cycling or swimming until your digestive health is in better shape, and then try it again.

Note: This information is not intended as a substitute for consulting with your Doctor.

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 a healthy, happy and home-made Christmas!

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

Could this be the year that you make Christmas your own and make lots of magical family memories along the way? Try to remember that there’s no such thing as an identikit, one-size-fits-all Christmas. What's perfect for you and your family, is perfect for you and your family. Forget about trying to recreate the fashionable festive tableaux that are splashed across social media. Forget about blowing your budget on overly-commercial gifts with little meaning that will be discarded by Boxing Day. Forget everything you’ve ever told yourself about not being creative and get making!

The real meaning of Christmas

There’s something about a home-made gift, whatever the time of year, but particularly at Christmas. When all of our lives are so busy, a unique and personal gift that’s taken time and effort to make feels heartfelt. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about? So, set aside a weekend in December, decide who you’ll be making gifts for, search the internet for inspiration, get the whole family involved and have fun! Quick tips for fabulous home-made gifts.

Foodie treats are always a popular choice, at Christmastime. Make sure that you check the recipe, first, but many gifts can be enjoyed by the recipient long into January and beyond. For example, our Spicy Prune BBQ Sauce keeps for up to four weeks. And many preserves will last for up to a year. It’d be a nice touch to add an "enjoy before date" to your handwritten labels.

Take a look at our recipe pages for some scrummy sweet ideas. Who wouldn’t love a Dark Chocolate Bar with Prunes and Almonds or Chocolate Covered Nut-Stuffed Prunes? Pack the edible goodies into pretty gift bags or boxes and don’t forget the gift-tag! Personalised, hand-made labels make a lovely finishing touch.

Pinecones are the ultimate starting point for a whole host of Christmas crafting projects. Add googly eyes, brown felt triangles for ears and mini red pompoms to create – you guessed it – super-cute Rudolphs. Pop cones into mini plant-pots – fixing them securely with modelling clay – to create tiny trees, all ready for decorating. The possibilities are endless!

Maybe you have somebody on your list who is either short on time (a new mum, perhaps) or doesn’t get much company (an elderly neighbour, perhaps, who lives alone). A voucher for a home-made meal – to be redeemed in the New Year – can make a thoughtful gift. You could use our recipe pages as inspiration, to draw up a menu for the lucky recipient.

Enjoy your fabulously crafty weekend. But don’t forget to make an extra batch or two. It’s the chef’s privilege, after all.

With very best wishes – from all of us - for a very healthy, happy and home-made Christmas!

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.

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.

Healthy treats for the kids, just perfect for the summer

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

“Mum, I’m hungry!” It’s a fairly constant chorus over the long, school holidays. And it can be tricky – with all that round-the-clock snacking - not to overload on the nasties with fat and sugar and artificial ingredients. Our Frozen Yoghurt with Raspberry Prune will be a welcome addition to your repertoire.

Ingredients

200 g natural yoghurt, mild (3.5 % fat)

100-125 g Sunsweet prunes

250 g frozen raspberries, not defrosted

Optional: 4 ice-cream cones

Instructions

  1. First place the yoghurt and then the prunes and raspberries into a blender. Purée at slow speed, then at medium speed until smooth, repeatedly pushing the raspberries downwards with the pestle. If the ice cream is not firm enough, divide the mixture into portions in dessert glasses and leave to refreeze for 30 to 60 minutes in the freezer. Otherwise, immediately divide the mixture into portions in dessert glasses or, alternatively, divide into portions in ice-cream cones.

Vegan variation: soya yoghurt can be used instead of dairy yoghurt.

Tip: a powerful blender makes the ice cream particularly creamy. A hand-held blender is not recommended. However, if only a hand-held blender is available, first thaw the raspberries, then purée all ingredients together. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker (in accordance with operating instructions) or leave it to freeze in the freezer. To freeze, divide the mixture into portions in 4 silicone muffin moulds and place in the freezer for 1-3 hours (do not let the mixture get too hard). Remove the ice cream from the moulds and place on plates to serve.

Hygge: Taking home comforts to a whole new level!

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

Have you heard of Hygge? Pronounced hoo-guh, it is the Danish one word phenomenon that has taken the entire world by storm. Despite it having previously been deemed untranslatable, it was voted as one of 2016’s words of the year by both the Oxford Dictionary and the Collins Dictionary. But what exactly does it mean?

The definition of hygge

Well, descriptions of hygge vary. Some people would describe it as a feeling of comfort, indulgence, contentment and cosiness. Others would describe it as transforming those regular, everyday moments into something more meaningful; creating a sense of ceremony around your after-work cookie and cuppa, for example, by digging out your best china, lighting a pretty candle and getting your feet up. And still others would describe hygge as something close to a philosophy, a way of slowing things down and taking some time out of a relentlessly hectic schedule to unwind.

Susanne Nilsson, a Danish lecturer at London's Morley College, attempted to explain the etymology of hygge to the BBC, "We have long, cold winters in Denmark. That influences things. Hygge doesn't have to be a winter-only thing, but the weather isn't that good for much of the year. Hygge could be families and friends getting together for a meal, with the lighting dimmed, or it could be time spent on your own reading a good book. It works best when there's not too large an empty space around the person or people."

Making hygge your own

Danish winters may be long and dark and cold but that’s a reality that many of us can relate to! And part of the essence of hygge - creating a warm and inviting environment, gathering friends and family together and sharing food and drink with them, by candlelight – might just be the perfect antidote. So, this winter, why not try making hygge your own? Give yourself the time and the space to do… nothing! Stock up on the tealights, the comforting throws and the super-warm socks and revel in cosy.

But the really good news?  Hygge and a healthy balanced lifestyle don’t have to be contradictions in terms. Think gentle exercise routines at home – yoga, pilates and tai chi are all excellent options. Think comfort foods – like hearty soups and warming stews – that are nutritionally-balanced and nourishing. Think warming, fruit-based drinks with a mulled-wine vibe. Think deep and meaningful rather than fast and furious. We don’t know about you but we could really get used to this hyggelig way of life!

Recipes with added hygge

PS: Why not check out the following super-scrummy, super-comforting and yet super-healthy ideas from our recipe pages? A lovely – and tasty – way to get that hygge-feeling!

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.

Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation is surprisingly common. And with a range of distressing – and potentially life-limiting – symptoms, it's something that you're going to want to nip in the bud. Fast. But don't worry. Help is out there. And there are a number of simple, self-care solutions that might just do the trick.

The Surprising Prevalence of IBS

If you are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) you are not alone. According to the IFFGD (*), 10-15% of the World's population suffer from this common complaint. Women, interestingly, are twice as likely to be affected by the syndrome as men. 40% of people have mild IBS, 35% of people have moderate IBS and 25% of people have severe IBS. And yet many people don't recognise their symptoms

(*) International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder

What is IBS and what causes it?

IBS is a condition that relates to symptoms - otherwise unexplained – that affect the digestive system. Symptoms can vary dramatically in their severity and duration and they can also come and go. Although the specific causes of IBS are not clear, psychological factors like stress can be a trigger factor for bringing on symptoms. Diet, food and eating can also affect symptoms with many sufferers noticing that their symptoms appear worse after a meal leading them to speculate about potential food allergies or intolerances. IBS has been subcategorised based on the symptoms: IBS with diarrhoea; IBS with constipation: or mixed, which includes both diarrheal and constipation traits.

Sufferers from IBS with Constipation (IBS-C), suffer from constipation.

Prunes and Normal Bowel Function

Prunes are high in fibre and contribute to normal bowel function when 100g prunes are eaten daily and as part of a varied and balanced diet and active lifestyle. And unlike many juices, prune Juice is a source of fibre.

Managing the Symptoms of IBS-C

The symptoms of IBS-C can often be managed by making dietary and lifestyle changes. People with IBS-C can take steps to alleviate their symptoms by modifying the amount of fibre that they include in their diet. The two main types of fibre are soluble (that the body can digest) and insoluble (that the body can't). Soluble fibre foods include oats, fruit and vegetables. Insoluble fibre foods include wholegrain bread and cereals. If you suffer from IBS-C, it makes sense to try to boost the amount of fibre in your diet and also the amount of fluids that you take in. The IBS Network, in the UK. echo traditional dietary advice for treating constipation and advocate:

  • Boosting the amount of fibre in the diet, adding linseed to cereals and so on.
  • Eating oats with dried fruit – especially prunes and apricots – for breakfast each morning
  • Upping your fruit and veg intake, prunes and beetroot are particularly helpful.

Is there support available for people suffering from IBS-C?

You'll be relieved to hear that there is some excellent support out there. In fact, we've collaborated with The IBS Network UK – the country's national charity for sufferers of the syndrome - to produce a comprehensive, fact-based document packed full of up-to-date info and useful advice about managing IBS-C. The Network aims to facilitate a programme of self-care for sufferers by providing them with good quality information and support.

Why not download the 'Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Constipation' booklet to find out about:

  • Dietary hints and tips
  • The importance of fibre in the management of IBS-C
  • Foods to include
  • Foods to avoid
  • An example of a daily food plan

PS: Looking for more info on digestion-related topics? Check out our Digestion 101.

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.

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/

Prunes – the surprising star of the kitchen!

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

There’s nothing humble about prunes. In fact, when it comes to stocking up on convenient, long-life and yet completely natural foodstuffs, prunes deserve to take pride of place on your shopping list.

The fruits are surprisingly versatile. They can be enjoyed by the handful, straight from the pack. They can be whizzed – either on their own or with ingredients like cocoa powder and ground nuts – to make super-tasty toast-toppers. They can be used to lend sweetness and depth to the flavour of your family’s favourite fruit smoothies. And they can also make a delicious and nutritious addition to a range of more elaborate dishes, both sweet and savoury.

Healthier Treats

As we all know, a life without treats is a life that’s, well, a little bit miserable! So it’s good to know that prunes can make a sweet and tasty foundation for a range of healthier nibbles. Trail mix – combining nuts and seeds and dried fruit – couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Prunes can be added to baked family favourites, like flapjack, to boost their nutritional value. And did you know that prunes can even be used to replace the sugar and fats in recipes for bakes? Tests by the California Prune Board – that swapped refined sugar for prune puree in a range of recipes – reduced the overall sugar content by up to 35%. And prune puree can be used as a replacement for butter, too. The fruit – with its caramelized flavour and overtones of vanilla - lends itself particularly well to chocolate recipes. Just swap the butter for prune puree - weight for weight - and enjoy!

Super Savouries

Sunsweet prunes have a delicious fruitiness that enhances many other flavours. They are a classic complement to a range of meat dishes – delicious with pork and perfect with game, for example – and they can add texture, moistness and a depth and richness of flavour. Combined with teriyaki sauce in a marinade, prune juice helps to transform ribs into melt-in-the-mouth scrumminess. And prunes are a useful addition to that staple of every family’s meal-time repertoire: the mid-week one-pot supper. Think Spicy Squash Soup with Chorizo and Prunes. Think Beef Stew with seasonable root veg and flavourful prunes. Simply delicious!

Whether you’re looking for a super-quick snack, an elaborate feast, or something in-between, prunes are an excellent starting point. There are lots of ways to include delicious and nutritious Sunsweet prunes - and their juice - in your everyday diet. So why not keep a pack or two handy, in the store cupboard?

Feeling inspired? Why not get creative in the kitchen and try some of our delicious recipe ideas?

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.