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We regularly publish some great healthy living tips, new recipes and other Prune tidbits on our blog

Keep it up – you’re doing great!

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, September 25, 2019

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.

A balanced meal in a bowl. Warming, nutritious, substantial, delicious!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, September 19, 2019

There’s something so satisfying about a bowl of delicious soup. And our Moroccan Carrot, Lentil and Prune Soup is no exception. The soup can be pureed – perfect for picky eaters! - but it’s a more substantial bowlful if the veg is left chunky. A spicy and warming dish that’s just perfect for autumn.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried coriander
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 medium-sized carrots, peeled, trimmed and diced
150g dried red lentils
100g ready-to-eat Prunes, roughly chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
600 ml vegetable or chicken stock
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the rapeseed oil over a medium heat. Add the onions, stir well to coat in oil, and reduce heat to low. Cover and leave to soften – about 7 minutes.
  2. Add all the spices and increase the heat slightly.
  3. Stir well, then leave for a minute or so to cook, before stirring well again.
  4. Add the carrot and the garlic, stir to cover in the spices, then reduce the heat and cover, and leave for 5 minutes to soften.
  5. Check after a couple of minutes, and if they are starting to stick to the bottom of the pan add a splash of water to loosen.
  6. Add the lentils and the prunes, mix well, then stir in the tomatoes.
  7. Bring to the boil, then add the stock and stir well to mix. Increase the heat until the soup starts to bubble, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer until all the vegetables are soft and the lentils have softened and collapsed - about 30 minutes.
  8. Stir through the coriander, parsley, and lemon juice, then taste, and season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  9. Ladle into warmed soup bowls and serve immediately.

Note: this soup can be pureed but it’s more of a meal left chunky.


The top three nutritional reasons to keep loving prunes this season

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, September 12, 2019

Did you know that there are lots of compelling reasons why prunes should be top of the class, and not just at back-to-school time? Not convinced? Well, here are our top three seasonal reasons why you – and your family - should be making friends with prunes!

Understandably, you may be reluctant to kiss goodbye to the summer. But, no matter what your life stage, the autumn is an excellent opportunity to embrace that back-to-school feeling! September is the perfect time of the year to get back to basics, from a health and fitness point-of-view. And, guess what, prunes are a great place to start!

The top three seasonal reasons to love prunes

  1. You can give your immune system a fighting chance to keep all of those annoying autumnal bugs at bay … with prunes! The dried fruit is a rich source of vitamin B6 and copper, both nutrients are able to help to support a healthy immune system.
  2. The holiday suitcase is back on top of the wardrobe for another year, the nights are getting longer, darker and colder so it’s not uncommon - or indeed surprising - for your energy and motivation levels to start to take a downward turn. But did you know that prunes can help? Vitamin B6 - which we mentioned above - can help you to feel less tired, it also supports the normal release of energy from foods and the transportation of iron in the body. Copper and manganese – both of which are found in prunes – assist in some of these functions too.
  3. Prunes have lots of heart health benefits. They’re naturally saturated fat free and reducing the consumption of saturated fat helps to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels. They’re naturally salt-free, too, and reducing the intake of salt helps to maintain normal blood pressure.

There really is a lot to love about prunes!

Want to find out more? Take a look at our online guide to the health-boosting properties of prunes or check out our FAQ

On a more serious note…

Scientific research has been undertaken into the role that prunes can play in potentially helping to prevent serious illness. And a recent study found that eating prunes regularly, may help to reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer.

Professor Dr Nancy Turner Texas A&M University said: “Through our research, we were able to show that dried plums promote retention of beneficial bacteria throughout the colon, and by doing so they may reduce the risk of colon cancer.”

According to the NHS, bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK.

That back-to-school feeling

The daily ‘little break’ and ‘big break’ for kids, and adults, are always a challenge but don’t overlook the snacking potential of prunes. With no added sugar, prunes are naturally sweet. And, let’s face it, which child isn’t on the hunt for something sweet the second they walk in the door?! Negotiating playground and office politics is hungry work after all!

Enjoyed straight from the pack, included in the family’s favourite bakes or whizzed into a smoothie, prunes make the perfect lunchbox filler or healthy after-school treat.

You can check out our delicious smoothie recipe suggestions, 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.

Prune Energy Balls

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, September 05, 2019

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.

Prunes the fat and sugar for healthier baking

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Benefits of using prunes in cooking

Prunes offer unique baking benefits, both nutritionally and physically so not only do they help create delicious tasting dishes, they can also improve the overall nutritional credentials for a recipe! Here’s how:

  1. Replaces free sugars with naturally occurring sugars
  2. We all know we shouldn’t eat too much sugar, and experts globally recommend we reduce intakes of ‘free sugar’, but with different sugars everywhere, which kind should we reduce and what can we replace it with? Free sugars are sugars added to food and drinks, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices.

    Prunes are a traditional dried fruit with no added or free sugars - their sweet taste originates from their naturally occurring sugars, contained within the fruit, which is 38g/100g.

    These Sunsweet Oatmeal and Blueberry Muffins have had 100g of the 175g of free sugar in the original recipe replaced with the same quantity of chopped prunes, giving a 57% reduction in free sugars. And they still taste fantastic. So it’s a win-win, using prunes reduces the total sugar without compromising on the flavour!

    An added bonus of adding whole or chopped prunes to cakes is that they contribute to our daily fruit and vegetable intake – in fact this recipe provides half a daily portion per muffin.

  3. Reduces sugar
  4. Sugar is a key ingredient in desserts - creating texture, taste and flavour, but often there’s far more than is needed. Prune puree is a handy way to reduce the total sugar content of recipes. For example, all the added sugar (and half the cream!) were replaced with prunes in these delicious Sunsweet Mocha Mousse Chocolate and Prune Pots, per portion, sugar reduced by 4.6g; fat by 5.1g; and energy by 50kcal.

    As a general rule using prune puree to replace sugar can reduce total sugar content in pudding recipes by a quarter. Give it a try!

  5. Reduces fat
  6. Prunes are naturally fat free yet their fibre and sorbitol content mean they behave like fat in baking. Additionally, prune puree has a silky consistency that is very similar to butter. The fibre and sorbitol work to retain moisture and, together with prunes’ malic acid, enhance flavours by bringing out the flavours of other ingredients without overpowering them. These unique qualities help produce soft and chewy baked goods. They are perfect attributes for modifying this traditional Prune and Almond Cake recipe. Inclusion of prunes meant butter and sugar could easily be reduced and additionally the original mascarpone cheese was replaced with a much lighter yoghurt, to create a cake that is lower in fat, saturated fat and sugar.

    The fantastic deep purple colour of prunes helps create a baked and roasted appearance, perfect for baking and an added bonus for pale-looking gluten free breads. These same qualities also work brilliantly in savoury meat dishes.

  7. Less sugar than dates
  8. Dates are commonly used as an added sugar replacer in sticky toffee pudding, but did you know prunes contain 30g less sugars per 100g. Prunes taste less sweet due to their sorbitol content, which is the highest of any dried fruit! Sorbitol is type of carbohydrate called a polyol, which tastes less sweet than other sugars, such as sucrose.

    It is the sorbitol and fibre in prunes that are responsible for prunes being beneficial for maintaining normal bowel function. Prunes’ unique blend of sorbitol and fibre mean it’s possible to add extra fruit to a recipe - a real feel good factor! [sugars: prunes 38g/100g; and dates 66-70g/100g. Dates and prunes both contain no added sugars.]

    This scrumptious Sticky Toffee Pudding replaces dates with prunes, reducing added fat and sugar, increasing the fibre content and adding 75g of extra fruit! The final recipe (per 100g) contains 28% less sugar, 43% less fat and 89% more fibre than the original.

  9. Added fibre
  10. Fibre has been the forgotten essential of our diet, which is probably why we consume under 20g per day, way less than recommended. The UK daily recommendation for fibre is 30g and a recent review commissioned by the World Health Organisation showed that low fibre consumers were at much higher risk of heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

    Prunes are high in fibre (7.1g/100g), so adding prunes to these recipes increases the overall fibre content between 35-89%. Adding prunes to a Flourless Chocolate Torte increased fibre content by 57% per portion!

    And did you know…prunes are also a dream match with chocolate due to their caramelized flavours and vanilla undertones.

  11. Lowers total calories
  12. We all know butter means high calories- yes a whopping 744kcal per 100g, whereas prunes contain just 229kcal/100g, so since prunes behave like fat (but are fat free!), replacing butter for prunes can help reduce total energy too! These Sunsweet Anzac Biscuits use chopped prunes, which also act as a binding aide so added butter, sugar and syrup can be reduced to save 9% calories per portion.

  13. Other uses of prunes in cooking and healthy eating
    • It’s not always possible to make cakes from scratch, so to help keep portion sizes of ready-made cakes down, serve with a handful of prunes, or drizzle with prune puree if appropriate!
    • Adding whole or chopped prunes within recipes, or on the side counts towards your 5 a day intake.
    • Not only are prunes good in sweet baked dishes, their subtle sweetness and unique combination of substances including sorbitol and malic acid, all combine to mean prunes work like a natural preservative, helping to retain moisture and extend shelf life. SO, your batch cooking will stay fresher and moist for longer!
    • Prunes can be enjoyed as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Eating 100g (8-12) prunes a day can contribute to normal bowel function; their vitamin K and manganese content means that they can help maintain normal bones; and being a source of copper and manganese, this can help protect cells from oxidative stress. Why not learn more about the nutritional benefits of prunes, and see how it can contribute to your healthy and balanced lifestyle?

Introducing Our New Pack! New Look, Same Great Juice!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, April 18, 2019

Our New Prune Juice Pack Makeover

We’ve upgraded the packaging for our one litre prune juice product! 

We’ll be using the more eco-friendly Elopak cartons now for our sun-filled prune juice. But don’t worry, there is absolutely no change to the contents – your favourite prune juice will taste just as good as ever!  

We considered lots of factors when we decided to make the change, but the most important one was to ensure your juice remained exactly the same high quality you’ve come to know from Sunsweet!  

There’s been a lot of talk lately about eliminating plastic from the environment - too much of it inadvertently ends up in our oceans. 

In fact, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic winds up in the world’s oceans each year and some researchers predict that unless something is done, there could be more plastic waste than fish (by weight) in the sea by 2050.

And considering the UK and Ireland boast over 20,000 km of coastline, we think it’s worth doing our part to keeping our shores clean. 

These cartons use much less plastic and are created with sustainable wood fibre from FSC certified wood. And while the plastic bottles we used are recyclable we feel it’s about time for a makeover! 

Aside from the environmental benefits, this new packaging is good for you and your family too. 
  • The cartons have an easy open screw-top lid and the pack is easy to handle and pour. 
  • The square shape fits conveniently in your fridge door so you can continue to enjoy your prune juice chilled. 
  • And, of course, the new packaging keeps your favourite Sunsweet Prune Juice tasting just as scrumptious as ever. 
We all need to update our style every once in a while to suit the changing times and we hope you love our new, eco-friendly package as much as we do.

Watch out for the new cartons in your local supermarket.

Mmm...Prune Juice Recipes

Prune juice tastes fantastic on its own, but if you’re looking for different ways to include it in your diet then why not try out one of our recipes? They can be a fun and creative way to help you and your family to get the health benefits of prune juice in exciting new ways. 

By combining prune juice with other fruits you’ll get more of your five-a-day in one delicious serving. 

Prunes and prune juice are a natural way to sweeten smoothies and these recipes might give you some inspiration to come up with your own combinations!

Nutritional Benefits of Prune Juice

There are many reasons for including prune juice in your diet. The great, naturally sweet flavour, convenient refreshment, or the many nutritional benefits such as fibre, potassium and sorbitol. 

Now you can add helping the environment to the list! 

Whether you enjoy your prune juice in a smoothie, straight up, or on the rocks, you can be sure that the package it came in won’t end up, well, on the rocks :) 

Sunsweet Prune Juice has no fat, no salt, no additives and now no plastic bottle. 

We think that’s worth raising a glass to!

How can good digestive health keep you feeling fabulous?

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Let's be honest - when it comes to discussing digestive health, most of us would rather steer clear of the topic altogether. But now more than ever, it is important to realize that digestion plays a significant role in your overall health! You may know that the primary function of the digestive tract is to break down the food we eat so that it can be used as fuel by the body. What is less well-known is the importance of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract to your immune system and your total body's health. In fact, the GI tract is often referred to as the body's "second line of defense" against potentially harmful pathogens that cause disease (the first defense being the skin!). You've been pampering your skin for years, but have you been making the right dietary decisions to promote a healthy GI tract? Probably not.

The digestive system is stronger than you think - for example, few bacteria can survive the acidic environment of the stomach. It may not sound pretty, but the fact is the abundant mucous and digestive enzymes secreted by the digestive tract helps destroy potentially harmful microorganisms. This "good bacteria" keeps the "bad bacteria" at bay, so we essentially have a classic case of good versus evil on our hands, and it is your job to join forces with the good by maintaining a healthy digestive system. This is not only necessary from a nutritional standpoint but also for optimizing your body's overall immunity.

Today we are overwhelmed by many products targeted toward improving digestive health. As a snack or an ingredient, prunes and prune juice make it easier to bring added nutrition into your everyday diet and make a valuable contribution to our health

A sophisticated salad, perfect for ladies who lunch!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 21, 2019

Summer days and simple salads are perfect partners. But for those occasions – like entertaining friends - when something just a little fancier is called for, our Duck Salad with Prunes, Goats Cheese and Mustard Dressing is just the job. Many elements of this dish can be prepped ahead of time leaving you free to enjoy the company of friends.

Ingredients

200 g roast duck
150 g prunes
100 g goat cheese
2 pears
100 g mixed salad, like chicory, rocket and beet leaves
100 g kale
Mustard dressing:
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp coarse ground mustard
1 dl white wine vinegar
1 tbsp liquid honey
1 dl olive oil
1 dl grape seed oil
Salt
Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Whisk together mustard, vinegar and honey.
  2. Whisk in oil very slowly until it thickens and becomes a creamy dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Dice the duck and prunes, cut the pears into thin slices, and carefully mix it with the salad.
  4. Arrange the salad with diced goat cheese and mustard dressing. Serve with whole grain bread.

Tip: The salad can also be made with chicken and red cabbage.

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

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 14, 2019

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.

Granola Muesli Bars

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 07, 2019

There are times – throughout a busy week - when only a sweet treat will do. Packed full of nutritious goodies, like dried fruit and nuts, our Granola Muesli Bars are no ordinary sweet treat. With a cuppa or glass of milk, the bars are a scrummy pick-me-up. And they're perfect for breakfast on-the-run. Ring the changes - with different fruit and nut combos - to create firm, family favourites.

Ingredients

100 g brown sugar 
50 g honey 
150 g soft butter
1 egg
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
200 g California prunes
60 g dried apricots
200 g crunchy oat flakes
100 g granola  
100 g nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
Salt

Instructions

  1. Beat sugar, honey, and butter until fluffy. Gently stir egg, 1 pinch of salt and the cinnamon into the mixture. Chop prunes and apricots coarsely and fold together with oat flakes, granola, and nuts into the butter-egg mixture.
  2. Spread the mixture on a lined baking tray and bake in oven at 190° C (convection oven at 170° C) for 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into bars. Wrap individually in parchment paper or in plastic foil.