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

Creamy Vanilla Prune Popsicle

Posted by Sunsweet - Friday, June 01, 2018

Scrummy ice cream and the warm summer sun: they really are a match made in heaven. But is it possible to enjoy healthier frozen treats – that are significantly lower in both sugar and fat – without compromising on taste? We think so! Say “hello sunshine” to our Creamy Vanilla Prune Popsicles.

Ingredients

10 SUNSWEET prunes
4 tablespoons hot water
2 cups 2% plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, puree SUNSWEET prunes and hot water until smooth. Add in yogurt, honey, vanilla and pulse until combined.
  2. Spoon mixture evenly into 6 popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  3. Optional: Add a layer of granola in the middle of each popsicle.

Our Spicy Cranberry Prune Mocktail is a delicious drink with a real sense of occasion!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, April 19, 2018

The flavours of ginger and lime combine to add zing to this delicious mocktail. The whole family are sure to love this non-alcoholic Spicy Cranberry Prune Mocktail. It’s a delicious drink with a real sense of occasion. Serve over ice, in your prettiest glasses, and let the good times roll!

Ingredients

100 g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
200-250 g crushed ice
200 ml Sunsweet prune juice
200 ml cranberry juice
4-8 teaspoons lime juice
200-300 ml ginger lemonade
(alternative: mix ginger ale either with 1-2 tbsp. ginger juice or 1 tablespoon grated ginger)

For decoration:
1 piece (approx. 3-4 cm) ginger root

In addition:
4 long drink glasses
4 long thick straws

Instructions

  1. Divide raspberries and crushed ice into 4 portions in long drink glasses. Mix prune juice, cranberry and lime juice, and pour them into glasses. Fill with ginger lemonade. Stick straws in the glasses. If desired, wash ginger, cut it into 4-8 slanting thin slices and add as decoration. Serve immediately.

Cocktail variant: add 20-40 ml gin.

Make friends with technology

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, April 19, 2018

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.

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

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 15, 2018

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

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

So, is five-a-day still enough?

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

Variety – the spice of a healthy life

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

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

Seasonable Treats

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

Grow your own!

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

And finally...

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

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

Can you boost your chances of avoiding winter bugs?

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 01, 2018

This year, is it possible to avoid all those dreaded winter bugs? Maybe by getting back to basics - with plenty of hearty and nourishing food, lots of exercise and good, old-fashioned rest and relaxation, you might just be able to give you and your family a fighting chance!

So what do you reckon? Do you think it’ll be possible this year for you and your family to avoid all those dreaded winter bugs? We’re not going to make any promises but maybe by getting back to basics with plenty of hearty and nourishing food, lots of exercise - ideally out of doors – and good, old-fashioned rest and relaxation, you might just be able to give you and yours a fighting chance!

At this time of year, it can be tempting to set your sights high when it comes to lifestyle changes. New Year’s Resolutions can be a bit of fun. But – even if you take them seriously - they can be notoriously tricky to stick to. And who wants to kick off the New Year feeling as though they have let themselves down? A broader set of intentions around diet, exercise and emotional wellbeing may prove to be more beneficial, in the long run.

Fuelling your body with nutritious home-cooking

Life is busy. After a long day, and despite the best of intentions, it can be hard to find the motivation to eat well. It’s all too easy to grab something that’s convenient - but low in nutrition - and wind up with even lower energy levels. But that’s where just a little bit of forward planning can really come into its own. Investing a couple of hours of your time to batch cook and then freeze a range of soups and stews, for example, is an excellent way to create “ready-meals” that pack a nutritious punch. And if you have a few temptingly tasty one-pot recipes up-your-sleeve, you can prep dinner, pop it in the oven and then wrap up warm and buzz out for a quick walk while it’s cooking!

Snack wisely

Snacking is a part of modern life but it’s worthwhile remembering that not all snacks are created equal! When you’re famished, there’s nothing quicker than grabbing a handful of prunes to munch on. And did you know that prunes are a source of vitamin B6, which helps to support a healthy immune system?

Getting out into the fresh air

The weather outside may, indeed, be frightful but exercising outside is so delightful. Trust us! There’s something about bundling up and heading off for a walk on a wintry day that really helps to lift the spirits. And there’s a scientific basis for that; a combination of fresh air and the increased oxygen levels that follow exercise helps to release serotonin, the feel-good chemical.

Learning how to relax

Stress can be as bad for your body as it is for your head. But in these super-busy times, stress can feel almost inevitable. And so it’s worthwhile having a few tried and trusted techniques to hand, for when the pressure starts to mount. The evidence may be anecdotal but a link between heightened stress levels and a depleted immune system seems logical. So practice mindfulness, walk with a friend, enjoy a soak in the bath, cook a delicious meal for you and a loved one – whatever helps you to relax!

So this year, resolve to have a healthy, happy and active winter. 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.

Our Fruit Cake with Dried Prunes is perfect for unexpected visitors

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, February 08, 2018

Home-baking, you really can’t beat it. Our Fruit Cake with Dried Prunes is a super-versatile bake. Studded with walnuts and cranberries and flavoured with honey and ginger, it’s delicious eaten warm, straight from the oven, as a teatime treat. But it’s scrummy toasted and buttered – as an extra-special breakfast - too.

Ingredients

250 g Sunsweet prunes
4 tablespoons water (or rum)
500 g flour
2 small packets instant dry yeast
100 g butter, softened
2 medium eggs
80 g sugar
2 tablespoons honey
4 level teaspoons ginger spice mix
125 ml milk (room temperature)
50 g walnuts
80 g whole dried cranberries
2 tablespoons flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160° C . Puree prunes with water.
  2. Mix flour and yeast. Add butter, eggs, sugar, honey, ginger, milk and prune puree. Mix all together with a hand mixer until dough is smooth. Cover dough and let rise at warm room temperature for about 45 min.
  3. Chop the walnuts and mix with prunes, cranberries and flour. Stir dough on floured surface, flatten and spread the plum mix on it. Fold the dough with prune and the mix well, make sure that the fruits are covered with the dough. Shape dough oblong shape and put into a well greased square baking pan (12” long). Let rise again for 45min.
  4. Bake the fruit cake for approx. 45-50 minutes

A hearty winter one-pot, just perfect for cooler days.

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, November 22, 2017

You can never have too many mid-week wonders, one-pot meals up your sleeve and our Spiced Braised Beef with Chickpeas, Prunes and Kale is one such wonder! This versatile dish is sure to become a firm family favourite but spruced up with a few sophisticated sides, it makes a tasty dinner party dish, too!

Ingredients

900g beef stew meat, 1 1/2" cubes
2 1/2 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
120ml red wine
1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
240ml water
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp garam masala
1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained
100g SUNSWEET prunes, halved
1 bunch lacinato kale, thinly sliced, thick stems removed
1 tsp red wine vinegar
800g cooked Israeli couscous, for serving

Instructions

  1. Season meat with 1 tsp salt and pepper and place in large, deep sauce pan or Dutch oven. Scatter butter, carrots and garlic on top; drizzle with olive oil. Turn heat to medium-high, cook without stirring for 12–15 minutes to sear the meat.
  2. Pour in wine, raise heat to high; cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, water, bay leaves, cinnamon, garam masala and remaining 1/2 tsp salt; bring to a boil. Lower to gentle simmer, cover and let cook, stirring occasionally for 35 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, stir in chickpeas. Cover and simmer for 1 5 minutes. Uncover, remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Stir in prunes, kale and vinegar. Simmer until meat is tender when pierced with a fork, 10–15 minutes.
  5. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving, allowing flavors to meld. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with couscous.

On Darker Days, Shine a Light on Emotional Wellbeing

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It’s always important to be mindful of your mental health but never more so than when the days get shorter and gloomier. During the winter months, it can be hard to overcome the temptation to grind to a halt, physically. And inactivity, for a prolonged period of time, can throw everything off kilter: from our mood, to the digestion of our food and everything in-between.


Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – also known colloquially as the winter blues – is a recognised condition. A key symptom of SAD is a low mood that worsens as winter progresses but other symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Feelings of lethargy
  • Craving stodgy food and thus gaining weight

It’s always worthwhile seeking medical advice if you feel like you’re struggling to cope with day-to-day activities. But lifestyle adjustments – although sometimes difficult to implement when your energy levels are low – can help with the management of symptoms, too. It’s important to get as much sunlight as possible, for example, and to take positive steps toward managing your stress levels.

The impact of stress on digestion

Stress can be as bad for your body as it is for your head and can exacerbate a range of symptoms including poor appetite and tummy troubles. Digestion is a super-sensitive process, all too easily compromised by the stresses and strains of contemporary living. It’s the body’s way of breaking down food, a normal bodily function about which most of us never give a moment’s thought. But when the digestive system gets out of step, the entire body can feel its unwelcome effects. It can cause emotional issues, like anxiety, and physical issues, like bloating, reflux, constipation and diarrhoea. In these super-busy times, stress can feel almost inevitable. It’s worthwhile having a few tried and trusted techniques to hand, for when the pressure starts to mount. Practice mindfulness, walk with a friend, enjoy a soak in the bath, cook a delicious and healthy meal for you and a loved one to enjoy – whatever helps you to relax!

Lifestyle tweaks

After a long day, it can be hard to find the energy to eat well. But grabbing something convenient that’s low in nutrition may leave you with even lower energy levels – a vicious circle. Why not see if, with a little advance-planning, you can break that cycle? Rustle up some soups and stews in batches so that you can simply warm them up. Compile a list of a few temptingly tasty one-pot recipes. That way, you can prep dinner, pop it in the oven and then wrap up warm and buzz out for a quick walk while it’s cooking. The combination of fresh air and the increased oxygen levels that follow exercise helps to release serotonin, the feel-good chemical. Now that’s what we call a win-win!

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.

Healthy Hacks for Winter Snacks

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, November 09, 2017

No matter what your age or life-stage, life is busy. And snacking is just an everyday part of our busy, contemporary lives. Although many of us will eat more snacks over the course of a day than we realise, there’s nothing inherently wrong with snacking. Of course, overeating – no matter what food you plump for - is likely to result in weight gain. But there’s evidence to suggest that nutritious snacks can – and indeed should – form part of a healthy balanced diet.


Choosing healthy snacks can help to manage hunger, in the short-term, and reduce the likelihood of bingeing at mealtimes. Nourishing and warming snacks can give our bodies a much-needed boost on dark and cold days. In cold and flu season, immune-system boosting nutrition is more important than ever. And for children – who tend to shoot up suddenly - it’s important to fuel growth spurts with nutritious food choices. Children have smaller stomachs than adults, though, meaning that they feel fuller quicker and so snacking can be a good way to meet those extra nutritional needs. The trick is to choose snacks that can kick hunger into touch while, at the same time, being nutritionally beneficial and keeping calorie counts low.

So how can that be done?

When hunger strikes, it’s all too easy to grab whatever is to hand. And if it’s chocolate bars and packets of crisps that are to hand, it can be extremely difficult to resist temptation. But foodstuffs that are high in sugar, saturated fat and salt can - over time - lead to health problems like heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.

Fruit has an important role to play in healthy snacking. And dried fruit like prunes – with their lengthy shelf-life - can offer a tasty, convenient and healthy choice.

Portion control is important when making between-meals choices, try to limit snacks to about 100 calories. Enjoyed straight from the pack, four Sunsweet prunes make a deliciously sweet treat.

When choosing drinks, try to consider their health benefits, too. Hot chocolate is a lovely, warming treat but warm fruit-juice based drinks can be just as satisfying and pack a nutritious punch, too. We have a lovely selection on our website.

For perfectly portable, flavour-packed treats that the whole family will love, why not hop over to YouTube and check out our video for a step-by-step guide to making Energy Balls?

And did you know?

Prunes have a low Glycaemic Index (GI) of 29, which means that their sugar is released relatively slowly on digestion, helping to avoid the "rush-and-slump" that can be associated with other snacks.

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.

The part prunes play in maintaining a healthy weight

Posted by Sunsweet - Monday, October 23, 2017

Obesity is a growing issue, now, with both adults and kids being heavier than ever. Sobering stats from the Health and Social Care Information Centre have been reported on the NHS website: almost a quarter of adults are obese and more than 60% are either overweight or obese. The results of being overweight aren’t just aesthetic, excess weight has been linked to a greater propensity for illnesses like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But it’s never too late to take positive steps around weight management.


Manage your stress levels

Studies show that stress has an adverse impact on our food preferences: when the going gets tough, we tend to make unhealthy food choices. When we’re stressed, we also sleep less, exercise less and drink more alcohol. All of which are bad news from a weight-management and general health point-of-view.

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

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

Love your prunes!

Prunes are sweet, tasty and versatile – whether eaten straight from the pack or as a flavourful addition to a favourite recipe. But did you know that eating them might help with weight loss, too?

A study at Liverpool University discovered that eating 140-170g prunes daily - as part of a weight control diet - may contribute towards weight loss. That’s because prunes are a fruit and thus lower in energy density than some other snacks making them a convenient and healthy choice.

The study of 100 people tested whether - over a 3-month period - eating the fruit boosted weight loss. The findings were that the prune eaters experienced greater satiety – they felt fuller – and greater weight loss than the control group. 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." Yet another reason to fall in love with the humble prune!

Don’t skip meals!

When you’re trying to control your weight, skipping meals – like breakfast - can be all too tempting. Don’t! Skipping meals can lead to reduced energy, making physical activity feel like a challenge too far. And allowing yourself to get too hungry can lead to overeating, at your next meal. Get your day off to a good start and make friends with brekkie.

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.