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

Get Healthy. Get Motivated. Get Sociable.

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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!

Dietary Fibre 101

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, February 20, 2020

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.

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

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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!

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

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, January 08, 2020

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.

Don't let stress play havoc with your health, this Christmas!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, December 12, 2019

Stress. An inevitable part of modern life, especially at Christmas? Or something that we can – and should – take steps to influence and improve? Slow down the pace, this Christmas, and - you never know – you might actually enjoy it! Check out our tips on reducing those health-impacting stresses to enjoy more precious time with family and friends.

Can you make this Christmas your happiest and healthiest yet?

There's a school of thought that stress is an inevitable aspect of contemporary life. And we all know that Christmas can be an emotionally challenging time; a heady combination of family ‘differences’, money worries, general fatigue and the slipping of healthy habits, , can play havoc with our stress levels.

Stress – a widespread issue

The World Health Organisation defines stress as “the reaction people may have when presented with demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope”. Most of us can relate, in some way, to those feelings, especially at Christmas. Expectations are sky-high but with so much going on, often the energy levels and resources, required to deliver on those expectations, can be low. So what can you do to help reduce stress in your life?

Stress-busting tips

Here are three things that you could try, today,:

  1. Try to figure out the source of your stress, if you can. It could be your place of work. It could be your home. The places where we spend most of our time are good places to start in tracking down that source.
  2. Where possible, identify the steps that you could take to effect positive changes. And then make those steps. Start with small changes, at first, especially if you're feeling vulnerable.
  3. Make sure that you have some stress-busting strategies at your fingertips. Listen to soothing music. Practice mindfulness. Chat to a friend. Go for a walk. Take a long, hot bath. These are all excellent methods of de-stressing and couldn't be more simple.

Stress and tummy troubles

Digestion is a super-sensitive process, all too easily compromised by the stresses and strains of contemporary living. Stress can exacerbate a range of symptoms – including poor appetite and tummy troubles. These vary from person to person, but when the digestive system gets out of step – for whatever reason - the entire body can feel its unwelcome effects like bloating, constipation and indigestion.

Prunes can help!

Prunes have long been associated with digestive health and now there are scientific findings to support this. Research suggests that prunes should be considered as “a first line therapy” to maintain a healthy bowel. The research found that when 100g of prunes were eaten on a daily basis, they helped to support normal bowel function.

Why not check out our Digestion 101, too, to discover more hints and tips on maintaining a healthy digestive system?

With our very best wishes for a healthy, happy and stress-free Christmas!

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.

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, in whatever way you and yours can this year. 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.

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.

No Time to work out?

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, January 22, 2019

You might not have time to go to the gym or do a fitness class, but that doesn't mean you cannot get fit. The trick is to try and bring fitness into your everyday life and disguise your exercise by doing things you enjoy. Do you like to dance, cycle, walk the dog or does vigorous housework de-stress you?   All these things are exercise – they get your heart pumping and burn calories.

So no more excuses, everyone can increase their fitness by incorporating these small changes.

Here are our top ten tips:

  1. Don't use the "I've no time to go to the gym" as an excuse. Never has home exercise been so accessible or affordable. If you have a games console already, invest in a Wii Fit or chose from one of the multitude of fitness DVD's available. Just 30 minutes 3 times a week would make a big difference to your fitness levels.
  2. Take public transport and leave the car at home. While it may mean timing your event more carefully, it saves fuel, money and is better for the environment. Also, get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
  3. Remember exercise does not have to mean sport. Housework, shopping or gardening can also count towards your daily exercise intake.
  4. When you encounter a stairs and an escalator side by side, chose the stairs. Yes it's easier to stand than walk but walking up stairs is a great mini workout to incorporate into your daily routine.
  5. When going to the cinema, shopping centre or any other place with a large car park, make a habit of parking furthest from the door. In the time spent looking for the "optimum" spot near the door, you will have already walked across the car park and had a little fresh air and exercise.
  6. Walk! It's free, healthy, weight bearing and can be done anywhere. You don't need special equipment other than sensible walking shoes or runners and can take place from right outside your front door.
  7. Don't waste your precious time going to an expensive gym on the edge of town. Find a local class near you by looking at the list of events in your local community centre or church hall.   As well as getting fit, you may even get to know some of your neighbours as you salsa, step or zumba together.
  8. Find a fitness buddy. Instead of catching up with friends over a coffee, tie those laces, put on those jackets and walk and talk.
  9. Forget the car for short journeys - make a habit of walking to your local shop, school or friend's house.
  10. Create more time. If you truly feel that you have no extra time for exercise, then create some!  Get up a half an hour earlier, or turn off your television in the evening for a half an hour or make a decision to go to bed a little later after your evening walk.

Summertime and the living is easy

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 14, 2018

Summer weekends are a brilliant opportunity for catching up and chilling out. There’s one very simple trick that you can have up your sleeve, to ensure that you have as much fun during your get-togethers as your guests: advance planning!


Keep your menu simple

A showstopper dish – like a marinated whole chicken or a side of salmon with a herby crust - can be put in the oven and left to its own devices. And then around an hour before your meat or fish is ready, pop some baby new potatoes into the oven, too. Keep the potatoes whole and unpeeled and toss them in oil, herbs - rosemary works well – and a little sea-salt. Simple and delicious.

Enlist help

Guests often ask if they can bring something to gatherings so don’t be too shy to answer, “yes, please!”. Give each guest a theme, for a salad, and leave them to it. A green salad, maybe, or something tomato-based or involving mixed beans. You could even ask them to bring a fruit salad, for pudding. And – if they’re stuck - you can always signpost them to our recipe pages, for inspiration!

Keep everyone moving

A great way to break the ice at summer events – especially when there are little people involved – is to ask each family to share their favourite outdoor game idea. Tag. Hide and Seek. Pretty much anything involving bubbles or balloons. The fun factor will be boosted instantly. You’ll all work up an appetite for that yummy, healthy meal. And the kids will have bonded well enough to continue the fun, after the food, while the adults enjoy a well-deserved rest.

When it comes to summer celebrations, prunes are something of an unsung hero. And yet they can add a fruity scrumptiousness to a range of dishes and drinks. For sweet and savoury nibbles, think prunes baked with chorizo or – even simpler – flavoured mixed nuts (most supermarkets stock an interesting selection) combined with chopped prunes. As part of a fruity marinade or BBQ sauce, prunes add a rich flavour that complements a range of meat and fish and livens up grilled veggie kebabs. Prunes make a zingy addition to salads – both savoury and sweet. The fruit is the perfect partner for choc-themed puds – prune brownies, anyone? And prune juice makes a fabulously flavourful base for a range of drinks from smoothies to mocktails, from fruity cocktails that are strictly for the grown-ups to refreshing frozen treats that the whole family will love.

Our recipe pages are full of ideas for you to follow or be inspired by. And our comprehensive guide to entertaining is packed full of tips to help your summer celebrations sparkle!

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.