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

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.

Are you beach body ready?

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 22, 2017

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


Do crash diets work?

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

Is there a different approach?

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

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

What’s the science on snacking?

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

Why do we overeat?

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

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

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

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

Have a happy and healthy summer!

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

Spring into a Healthier Lifestyle

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, April 06, 2017

Spring has well and truly sprung and the Easter holidays are very nearly upon us. This is a time of year when many of us - over the long, bank-holiday weekends - can take a well-earned break and enjoy the (hopefully!) improved weather. There really is no better season than the spring for laying new foundations for a healthier lifestyle for the months to come.

Outdoor Fun

The onset of brighter and warmer and longer days makes the great outdoors feel even more appealing than ever. Having the support of your friends and family is a very strong motivator for getting – and staying – active. But, let’s face it, getting active with a gaggle of buddies is just more fun! Exercise really doesn’t feel like exercise when it involves gathering together a fun-loving group – the more the merrier - and larking about outside. All you need to do is tailor your activities to suit the age and agility of your group and get stuck in. From horse-riding to hide and seek. From golf to geocaching. From tree-climbing to tennis. From surfing to sand-castle building. The only real rules? Have lots and lots of fun!

Our top three tips for alfresco exercise:

  1. Ring the Changes:

    Get together with your getting-active group – ahead of time - to brainstorm ideas for activities, to keep things fresh and fun.

  2. Get Scheduling:

    Synchronise calendars, set a date and a time and stick to it – no matter what the weather. A few spots of rain should definitely not stop play!

  3. Fuel the Fun:

    There’s nothing like exercising out-of-doors to work up an appetite! Why not check out our recipes pages for a whole host of yummy and portable, prune-related ideas?

Rainy Day Activities

And if the weather lets you down? Buzz on over to our Easter section where you’ll find a trio of Easter-themed projects to choose from. Kids of all ages will just love our colourful craft activities. There are printable templates and easy-to-follow instructions to create Baby Chick Easter Decorations, Bunny Rabbit Pen and Pencil Holders and Bunny Boxes. And if you find yourself with some spare time over the bank-holiday weekend? You could always rustle up a batch of sweeties – check out our recipe pages for inspiration – and present them, as gifts, in one of our Bunny Boxes.

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

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 02, 2017

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.

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

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, February 16, 2017

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

World Cancer Day

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

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

Cancer: The Stats

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

Doing our bit

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

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

The role of 5-a-day

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

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

Keeping active

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits of Exercise and Bone Strength

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, October 06, 2016

Osteoporosis is a global issue, affecting up to one in three women and one in five men. Genetic factors have a role to play in determining an individual’s likelihood of developing osteoporosis but lifestyle factors also have an influence. Simple steps can be taken – like a routine of weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening exercise - to help improve bone-health.


But how prevalent is osteoporosis?

The condition causes bones to weaken so that they break more easily. According to the IOF, up to one in three women and one in five men (aged 50+) will suffer an osteoporotic fracture. These fractures can prove painful, cause long-term disability or even be life-threatening.

Can anything be done, to help prevent osteoporosis?

Although genetic factors do have a role to play in determining an individual’s likelihood of developing osteoporosis, lifestyle factors can also have an influence. And fortunately there are some simple steps that can be taken, to improve bone-health no matter what your gender, life-stage or bone-health status. These steps include:

  • A routine of weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening exercise
  • A balanced diet, rich in nutrients like calcium, protein and vitamin D
  • Cutting out the cigarettes and limiting alcohol consumption

The role of exercise

Building and maintaining bone health is essential for both genders and at all life-stages. And exercise really is an excellent starting point, to build and maintain bone and muscle strength. Adults who get insufficient exercise lose bone density more quickly than their fit-as-a-fiddle counterparts. And sedentary older people are far more likely to suffer fractures. According to the IOF, this is because bones respond and strengthen when they are 'stressed' and the best way to achieve this? By getting plenty of weight bearing exercise.

What is weight-bearing exercise?

Weight-bearing exercise – the kind that’s good for your bones – is any form of exercise that requires you to work against gravity. Swimming and cycling, for example, would not be weight-bearing but good examples of weight-bearing activities include:

  • Weight training
  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Tennis
  • Dancing

So, what are you waiting for? Your bones - not to mention the rest of your body - will thank you for a good-old workout.

And why are Sunsweet involved with the campaign?

Plenty of fruit and veg, as part of a nutritious diet, simple things that are bound to have a positive impact on overall health. And bone health is no exception. Did you know that prunes can be an ally when it comes to bone health management? Research suggests that the nutrients in them – things like vitamin K and manganese – can help to maintain normal bones. Yet more reasons to stock up on these tiny – and scrummy – nutritional power-houses!

More info:

If you’d like to find out more about bone health, please do take a look at the Prunes and Bone Health section of our website. Or visit our dedicated Bone Health library where you can download informative and yet simple-to-read whitepapers including the following:

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 by Sunsweet - Thursday, September 15, 2016

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.

Positive steps towards maintaining a healthy weight

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, August 18, 2016

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

Comfort Eating

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

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

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

Removing Temptation

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

How can Prunes Help with Weight Loss?

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

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

Be Prepared!

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

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

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

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

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, July 21, 2016

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.

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

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, May 05, 2016

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.