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

  • Peppered Lamb Fillet with Balsamic Tomatoes

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    The weather outside may still be Oh so wintry. But don't worry! Wintry nights are the perfect excuse to stay at home, get cosy with the people you love and serve up something special. With its deliciously sweet and fruity sauce, our Peppered Lamb Fillets couldn't be more perfect. Bon appetit!

    Ingredients

    3 tbsp. black pepper 

    3 tbsp. coriander seeds

    4 lamb fillets

    7 tbsp. olive oil 

    2 cloves of garlic 

    2 sprigs of rosemary 

    7 tbsp. of honey 

    80 ml balsamic vinegar 

    100 g cherry tomatoes, halved 

    100 g California prunes, coarsely chopped 

    250 g polenta semolina

    ½ bunch of parsley 

    2 sprigs of sage 

    40 g Parmesan cheese (grated) 

    Salt 


    Instructions

    1. Finely chop pepper and coriander. Wash lamb fillets, pat dry and season with pepper and coriander. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil with crushed garlic and rosemary. Add the lamb fillets and fry on each side for 2 minutes. Then wrap the meat with garlic and rosemary in tinfoil and bake on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 160° C for 15 minutes (convection oven 140° C).
    2. Add honey and balsamic vinegar to a pan. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, add cherry tomatoes and prunes, then remove from heat.
    3. Bring 1 litre of water to a boil together with 1 teaspoon of salt and the remaining olive oil. Stir in polenta and leave to simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat. Finely chop parsley and sage and stir into the polenta semolina. Fold in Parmesan cheese.
    4. Take lamb out of the oven, let it rest for 2 minutes and cut into slices. Serve lamb with polenta and balsamic tomatoes.

    Tip: baby spinach salad works well as a side dish.


  • Suffering from ‘tummy trouble’ and a sluggish digestion? Prunes can help!

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    For whatever the reason, when the digestive system gets out of whack the entire body can start to feel its effects. Lethargy. Bloating. Sluggishness. And even some pretty acute pain. There's good news, though. A sluggish digestion doesn't have to be endured, as just 'one of those things'. There are lots of tips for you to try, here. And the even better news? They're easy!

    The discomfort and inconvenience of suffering from digestive problems, especially when you have previously been able to take a healthy digestive system for granted, can be tough to handle. There are lots of different factors that can affect digestion; from experiencing busy and stressful periods in your life, to hormonal changes triggered by pregnancy, to the natural and inevitable physical changes that go hand in hand with the aging process. Whatever the reason, if the digestive system has become chronically sluggish the entire body can wind up feeling below par, as a result.

    The aging process

    Digestion problems can crop up at any life stage and at any age. But according to the online medical resource, WebMD almost 40% of older adults have at least one digestive issue annually. Constipation is one of the more commonly-cited digestive complaints and with sufferers experiencing symptoms like the ones listed below, it really is no joke:

    • Reduced frequency of bowel movements
    • Sensations of sluggishness and bloatedness
    • Painful bowel movements
    • Increased risk of developing piles

    Common conditions

    Constipation can be caused by a whole host of factors including age-related changes in the digestive system, medication and the effects of undertaking reduced levels of physical activity and not drinking adequate fluids or eating enough fibre.

    Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – a condition that can be responsible for causing unpleasant and even painful symptoms like heartburn - is pretty common, too. The condition can be exacerbated by eating rich foods, by eating late at night and by generally eating too much because being overweight can be a trigger for the onset of the condition's symptoms.

    As you age, it's important to schedule regular health checks with your doctor to discuss any symptoms that might worry you. And, of course, any sudden changes in your body should always be thoroughly investigated by your GP. As with many issues, though, preventing digestive problems – before they become chronic - is far preferable to having to treat those issues medically.

    Now for the good news!

    And there's some good news. Because simple and common-sense steps like maintaining a healthy weight by eating well – choosing a diet with plenty of fibre and fluids, for example - and exercising regularly are excellent starting points. Having a good understanding of the digestive basics – like opting for gut-friendly foods - can go a long way towards nipping potential problems in the bud, too. Here are our top 3 digestion-boosting tips for you to try. And they really couldn't be more simple. You can check out a more comprehensive list of easy, digestion-boosting tips, here. And there's even a whistle-stop tour of the digestive system, too!

    • Mindfulness at mealtimes: sit up at the table, switch off your phone and savour your food.
    • Drink plenty: water, herbal tea and fruit juices are all good choices. Avoid ice-cold drinks at mealtimes, though, they can make digestion sluggish.
    • Snack on prunes: they're sweet, super-tasty and a source of fibre and sorbitol.

    Here's to maintaining good digestive health, whatever your age!

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

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

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Super simple ways to significantly – and sustainably - boost your happiness levels and enhance your physical and emotional wellbeing, in the process. Read on for research-based evidence about accentuating the positive and getting grateful. Start small and – before you know it – you'll have a whole heap of happy!

    Start loving the Gratitude!

    The Spring can be a great time for an overhaul. A chance to rid ourselves – once and for all - of the old habits that no longer serve us and to embrace some healthy, new ones. Habits like acknowledging events - like Mother's Day and Easter - and commemorating them, in a way that feels meaningful to you. Habits like celebrating successes large and small. Habits like noticing the positives, however tiny they may be, and expressing gratitude for them. And there's research-based evidence about the value – from both an emotional and a physical point of view – for making these super-simple step changes to your everyday habits.

    The Science of Celebration

    The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), at the University of Berkeley, offers up some compelling reasons for all of us to get into the gratitude habit. Because according to Juliana Breines, writing on the organisation's website, happiness research – spanning some 20 years – has one key message for us all: give thanks.

    After analysing the results of countless scientific studies, the GGSC found that developing an attitude of gratitude can, amongst other things:

    • have a positive impact on our emotional wellbeing and on our relationships
    • reduce our likelihood of becoming depressed
    • increase our resilience when faced with life's many and inevitable challenges

    Grumbling and thinking negatively can, all too easily, become a habit. If you look at the messages that we're bombarded with - from the myriad 24/7 news channels, for example - the vibe is predominantly downbeat. But there's no need to panic. The GGSC have come up with four simple tips that should help you to cultivate a healthy sense of gratitude, no matter what life throws at you!

    Get Grateful: In 4 Simple Steps

    1. Count your blessings

      Remember that even on the very worst of days, something positive will have happened. Spend a few minutes jotting down these good things, however small or insignificant they may seem. According to a study by the Positive Psychology Center, at the University of Pennsylvania, “completing this exercise every day for one week led to increases in happiness that persisted for six months”. Impressive stuff!

    2. Mental subtraction

      Without stressing yourself out too much in the process … imagine that something you currently have is gone. Applied to possessions, to jobs and even to people, this simple trick alone might be just enough to make you appreciate those things and to stop taking them for granted!

    3. Savour

      In their book, “Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience”, Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff extol the virtues of a regular “Savoring Walk”. Walking for just 20 minutes, on your own, every week and paying hyper-close attention to the sights, smells and so on of your surroundings can – the authors found - have a positive effect on your happiness levels, a full week later.

    4. Say “Thank You”

      Really, could it get much more simple than that? And just imagine the warm glow that the recipients of your gratitude will experience, too. Now, that's what we call a win-win.

    Reasons to feel grateful – think prunes!

    And while we're feeling celebratory and expressing gratitude for the small things, let's hear it for the prunes!

    Prunes; A super-quick and fruity snack. A rich, indulgent note in an elaborate feast. And lots of things in-between. Convenient, natural and a wonderfully versatile addition to a range of dishes, both sweet and savoury - really do deserve a dollop of gratitude.

    So, we've acknowledged that prunes are delicious but did you know that they're actually pretty good for you, too? Follow the link to discover even more reasons for you to be grateful for Sunsweet prunes!

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

  • Vernal Pea Soup with Cream Cheese Dumplings

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    An elegant starter. A light and tasty lunch. A bowlful of springtime beauty. Our delicious Vernal Pea Soup with Cream Cheese Dumplings is actually surprisingly simple to make. And with less than 300 calories in each bowl, we are certain that it'll become a firm favourite in your family's recipe repertoire, too. Enjoy!

    Ingredients

    1 onion

    1 tsp. olive oil 

    400 g frozen peas

    300 g vegetable stock 

    200 ml kefir

    80 g California prunes 

    100 g cream cheese 

    4 sprigs of mint 

    Salt & pepper (coarse)


    Instructions

    1. Finely dice onion. Heat oil in a pan and sauté onions until translucent. Add peas and sauté for 1 minute. Deglaze with vegetable stock, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
    2. Remove pan from heat and finely blend with a hand blender. Pour the soup into a metal bowl, place it in cold water and allow soup to cool.
    3. Stir kefir into the cold soup. Season with salt and pepper. Finely chop prunes and mint and mix with cream cheese. Form small dumplings using 2 wet teaspoons and serve with the soup. Garnish with mint and pepper.

    Tip: serve with toasted baguette.


  • Exercise: the “miracle” cure. Tips on how to make it work for you!

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    They call it the ‘miracle cure’...it’s free, has immediate effect, it’s sociable, fun, suitable for all ages, good weather, bad weather, and, there’s now scientific evidence to prove it can help not only reduce your risk of succumbing to major illness but also help you lead a healthier and ever happier life. It's...exercise! Did that come as something of a surprise?

    “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” so says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.

    The many benefits of regular exercise

    And it's true that the positive arguments for regular exercise certainly cannot be overstated. People who exercise typically experience health benefits in the following areas, amongst many others, meaning that they can enjoy a healthier and even happier life:

    • Digestive health
    • Coronary heart disease and stroke
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Certain types of cancer
    • Osteoarthritis, hip fracture and falls (in older adults)
    • Depression
    • Dementia

    *Source: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/whybeactive.aspx

    How much should we be getting?

    Although daily activity is important, adults should generally be aiming for a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise over the course of a typical week. Over the winter though, when the days are short, the weather is lousy and – at Christmas, in particular – the demands on our time are dizzying, it can be all too easy to let healthy habits slide. But spring is the perfect time for a fresh start, to overhaul routines for healthy living, to shake off that sense of winter sluggishness – both mental and physical - and to step towards the summer with confidence, positivity and bags of energy. So what are you waiting for?

    5 tips to get you moving!

    1. Choose something that you really enjoy whether that's running or cycling or bopping around the house like a teenager!
    2. Team up with similarly enthusiastic people, you'll up the fun quotient and be much more likely to stick to the arrangements that you've made.
    3. Multi-task. We're all busy, these days, so bundling activities together might help to boost your motivation. Spend time with the kids, exercise the dog and get yourself hot and sweaty by organising a high-intensity kick-about in the park. Roll up your sleeves, pump up the stereo and spring clean the house. You get the idea!
    4. Make moving your body an integral part of your day-to-day life. If you need to make an extra special effort, you might find that you start to make excuses or that exercise slips off your priority list.
    5. And finally... Try not to make excuses. Yes, our lives are generally more sedentary these days. Yes, we are increasingly tied to our technology. But if you're not going to take responsibility for your own health, then who is?

    Fuel that workout!

    For a nutrient-packed and perfectly portable pre-workout snack, why not consider the not-so-humble prune? Naturally sweet, prunes have a low GI meaning that they release their energy relatively slowly to satisfy your sweetie-cravings without giving you the short-term energy rush and sugar-crash of so many other snacks. Prunes are scientifically-proven to help with digestion, a great way to help overcome sensations of inner sluggishness. You might be interested in our Digestion 101, too, to discover more about the health boosting properties of prunes.

    Have a 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.

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

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    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.

  • Chicken and Prune Quiche

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Wonderfully versatile and absolutely delicious, our Chicken and Prune Quiche makes a show-stopping starter, light lunch and is perfect for picnics. Sunsweet prunes lend both rich and fruity notes to this family classic. Served simply, with a generous helping of lightly-dressed seasonal salad leaves and herbs, this lovely recipe lets you serve up springtime on a plate!

    Ingredients

    150 g streaky bacon

    350 g chicken breast 

    200 g button mushrooms, sliced  

    ½ bunch of sage, chopped

    150 g California prunes

    ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped 

    6 eggs 

    200 ml coconut milk 

    Salt & pepper 


    Instructions

    1. Cut bacon into strips and fry in a non-stick pan, add chicken strips and sauté for 5 minutes while turning. Add mushrooms, sage, prunes, and parsley and sauté 2 minutes longer.
    2. Whisk eggs and coconut milk in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Thinly brush baking pan with oil, spread the chicken mixture evenly into the dish and cover with the egg mixture. Place dish in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes at 180° C (fan assisted oven 160° C).
    4. Allow quiche to cool and serve with a green salad.

  • A Beginner's Guide to...Breakfast

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Skipping breakfast. It's the obvious way to cut back on calories, isn't it? Well, think again. Skipping a meal can lead to less energy, reduced levels of physical activity and – ultimately – weight gain. Read on and let our Beginner's Guide to Breakfast help you – and your family - to get every day off to a Sunsweet start!

    Breakfast – what's the big deal?

    America's National Weight Control Registry investigates weight loss programmes on a statistically significant scale. And registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick observed, from the Registry's findings, that “more than 70 percent of people who have lost weight and kept it off include eating breakfast among their daily habits”. Evidence published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who ate breakfast, in a clinical trial, used more energy through physical activity than those who skipped the meal.

    But can skipping meals be a way to aid weight loss?

    Skipping meals, any meal, is not a good idea because it can result in tiredness - making you less likely to have the energy for physical activity, feeling over-hungry and make you more likely to choose unhealthy snacks to fill up on. If we're honest with ourselves, we innately know that to maintain a healthy weight, you need to balance the number of calories you consume through food, with the number of calories you burn off through exercise. It's pretty straightforward, really!

    Prunes; a welcome boost towards your five-a-day

    Our diet has an enormous impact on both our physical and our emotional wellbeing and a common-sense attitude towards healthy eating is crucial. Breakfast is an excellent opportunity to squeeze in a few extra portions of fruit and veg and this can give the boost towards five-a-day that many of us so desperately need!

    Sweet and super-tasty, prunes are high in fibre, virtually fat-free, contain only naturally occurring sugars and are an excellent source of many nutrients making a valuable contribution towards a healthy, balanced diet. When time is short and you have no real choice but to eat your breakfast on the run, prunes – enjoyed straight from the pack – offer a convenient, and yet healthy, option. And, when time is on your side, prunes can really come into their own at breakfast-time.

    Wow the family at breakfast-time – with prunes!

    • A handful of prunes – roughly chopped – make a deliciously fruity addition to your family's favourite breakfast cereals. They'll help to up your nutrient quota, early doors, and be a great start towards your five-a-day goal.
    • Pureeing the fruit and spreading it on warm toast makes for a simple, satisfying and super-tasty start to the day.
    • Whizzed together with your choice from a selection of fresh fruits, yogurts, juices and dairy or non-dairy milks, prunes can bring a wonderful depth of flavour to smoothies.

    You can find more delicious Breakfast recipe inspiration by searching under the Breakfast category on our recipe page.

    Now doesn't that sound worth leaping out of bed for?

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

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

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Poor body image; it can be a barrier to both happiness and health, so why not play to your strengths and bag yourself a whole load of body confidence .... just in time for summer. And we'll let you into a little secret: it's as much about your mind as it is about your body!

    Embracing diversity – even in the toy world

    After decades of criticism about promoting a body shape that is, without drastic surgery, unattainable to most, Mattel have finally given into pressure and released a range of Barbie dolls that more accurately represent the bodies of real women. The new range includes different body types - tall, curvy and petite – and a broader mix of skin tones, hair colours and textures. The changes are long overdue. An opinion piece in Time magazine commented that there have been times when the lack of body diversity in the Barbie range has seemed, at best, outdated and, at worst, downright offensive. And how people feel about their bodies matters.

    Body image matters

    The way that we feel about the size and shape and overall appearance of our bodies can have an impact, either positively or negatively, on our overall confidence levels. Low confidence, about any aspect of ourselves, can affect our self-esteem making it more difficult for us to try new things. Even if those new things could ultimately end up with us feeling better about our bodies! Things like trying out a selection of healthy, new recipes or giving a fun, high energy exercise class a go.

    So poor body image can be a barrier to both happiness and health but, conversely, a report from gov.uk found that having a positive body image is associated with:

    • Making healthy choices, eating and exercising well
    • Treating your body with respect
    • Being self-protective, e.g: avoiding websites/ magazines that promote idealised beauty

    But how exactly can that be achieved?

    The positive psychology movement

    Martin Seligman is a mover and shaker in the field of positive psychology. He has an impressive body of work that focuses on the promotion of good mental health to live a life that is as meaningful as possible. By focusing on our personal strengths, according to Seligman, we can help to boost our esteem thus making it easier for us to make healthy lifestyle choices – including trying those all-important new things! He suggests thinking about what makes you feel excited, what makes you feel invigorated rather than exhausted, what makes you feel joyful and enthusiastic and focusing on those.

    Playing to your strengths

    So, with summer just around the corner, here are our top three tips for getting yourself a whole load of body confidence. And guess what? It's as much about your mind as it is about your body!

    1. Ignore, if at all possible, societal pressure about body conformity: without personal stylists, flattering lighting and heavy-handed airbrushing, even the cover girls wouldn't look like cover girls!
    2. Embrace your uniqueness, celebrate it, aim to be you at your very best and remember that if you feel good, you'll exude confidence and there's nothing more attractive than that!
    3. Eat well so that you're bursting with energy and, that way, you'll feel more inclined to exercise. And do you know what? You'll glow!

    Good luck!

    PS: Don't forget to check out our fab healthy recipe collection. And be inspired to try something new.

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

  • Chocolate Mousse with Plums

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    No kids allowed! Our decadent chocolate mousses – flavoured with Cointreau-marinated prunes and fresh orange – are strictly for the grown-ups. Perfect for those moments when only the sweetest of treats will do, these delicious little mousse delights are deceptively simple to make. Served in pretty glasses, our Chocolate Mousses with Plums, are special enough for the most elegant of dinner parties.

    Ingredients

    175g Sunsweet pitted prunes, chopped 

    4 tablespoons Cointreau 

    150g dark chocolate 

    5 egg whites 

    2 egg yolks 

    1 orange rind, grated 

    25g sugar 


    Instructions

    1. Allow the prunes to marinate for an hour in Cointreau.
    2. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan.
    3. Beat the egg whites until stiff, add sugar and continue to beat until you have a meringue texture
    4. Add the melted chocolate, orange zest and egg yolks, add the meringue gently
    5. Divide the prunes in 6 glasses and pour the chocolate mousse.
    6. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

  • The not-so-skinny on sugar

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Sugar. It's something that we should all be attempting to cut back on. But does that mean that we have to cut back on fruit, too – like prunes – that make a sweet and tasty contribution towards our 5-a-day? What does the science say, are all sugars created equal?

    The introduction of a sugar tax

    World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines recommend that we eat around 25 grams of sugar each day - about 6 teaspoons. But consumption in most countries exceeds this. Currently, Western European adults consume an average of 101 grams of sugar per day ….. that’s about 25 teaspoons!

    In a Euromonitor study, Germany was ranked the second-most sugar-loving nation in the world with people eating 103 grams on average. In Ireland, which ranks fourth on the list, sugar intake falls just short of 97 grams, the UK comes in seventh at 93 grams and the Italians consume 57 grams per day.

    With rising obesity levels on a European and global level being blamed on an over-reliance on energy-dense foods, several countries have called for the introduction of measures to help curb the intake of sugary foods; health warnings, sales taxes, banning junk foods in schools, restrictions on advertising to children and reduced portion sizes among others.

    Variations on a sugar tax have already been introduced in Denmark, France, Finland, Hungary, Mexico and India. As recently as March 2016, the British Chancellor, George Osborne, made the decision to introduce a tax on sugary drinks. Moves like these have been welcomed by those with a keen professional interest in the topic. Chris Askew, for example, chief executive of Diabetes UK said: “We have been campaigning for this... as we are all consuming too much sugar."

    But what's so bad about sugar?

    Sugary foods and drink products that are high in refined sugars may be calorie-rich, nutrient-poor and contribute towards health issues like tooth decay and weight gain. According to advice from WHO, being overweight can lead to:

    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis)

    So what about the naturally-occurring sugars in fruit, like prunes?

    Well, prunes are simply dried plums. One plum becomes one prune, just with the water removed, so that the calorie content remains the same. They contain the same natural fructose, glucose and minimal sucrose sugar content as their fresh counterparts. Having only low levels of sucrose is a bonus because sucrose is the fruit sugar that bacteria utilise to produce harmful acids and dental plaque. Additionally, you often see sorbitol as an active anti-plaque ingredient in chewing gum. But, of course, the sorbitol that prunes contain occurs naturally!

    Prunes are whole fruit so can contribute towards achieving your 5-a-day, as well as boosting your daily fibre intake. They can make a really useful addition to a healthy, balanced diet. And recent research indicates that prunes do not negatively effect weight. Because, as with all fruit, prunes appear to help with satiety - feelings of fullness - which is an important factor in controlling overeating and making healthy choices.

    Common Perceptions: True or False

    • Prunes are full of sugar: False 
    • Prunes contain no added sugar. During the plum-prune drying process, sucrose is hydrolysed to glucose and fructose so prunes contain minimal sucrose: True
    • Prunes are harmful to teeth because dried fruit sticks to the teeth and increases the risk of caries (tooth decay): False 
    • Prunes contain significant sorbitol which is non cariogenic: True

    Sugar-Free Month

    So, what do you think, could you take the challenge to limit your intake to just naturally occurring sugars for a month? We'd love to hear how you get on. Good luck!

    And why not take a moment to discover more of the nutritional facts about Sunsweet prunes, 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.

  • Danish Wholegrain Sandwich

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    There are sandwiches and then there are sandwiches. Celebrate all-things hygge and rustle up our Danish Wholegrain Sandwich. Topped with soft cheese, avocado and smoked salmon it makes a hearty breakfast, a substantial lunch or a super-duper snack. And Sunsweet prunes add a flavourful twist!

    Ingredients

    100 g California prunes 

    ½ bunch of dill 

    100 g cream cheese 

    50 g yoghurt 

    3 tbsp. Dijon mustard 

    1 tbsp. honey 

    2 avocados 

    200 g cherry tomatoes 

    300 g smoked salmon 

    6 lettuce slices of Danish wholegrain bread  

    100 g sprouts 


    Instructions

    1. Finely chop prunes and dill and stir with cream cheese, yoghurt, mustard, and honey. Halve avocados, remove pit and slice the flesh. Cut tomatoes in half. Cut the salmon into wide strips.
    2. Toast bread and spread prune mixture. Top with lettuce and remaining ingredients. Garnish with sprouts and serve.

  • There's lots to love about yoga!

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Whether you're a man or a woman, a child or a pensioner, whether you're looking for a strenuous workout or a more relaxing - even spiritual - practice, there's a style of yoga to suit you. And don't worry, uber-bendiness and hippy-print harem pants are optional. But the health benefits that you'll experience aren't. From boosting digestion to alleviating chronic conditions, there's lots to love about yoga!

    International Yoga Day

    The first UN International Yoga Day took place in 2015, in recognition of:

    • The holistic benefits of the practice and its compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations
    • How crucial it is for us all to make healthy lifestyle choices and to develop habits that support our physical and emotional wellbeing

    Will you be inspired by this year's event – on the 21st June – to give yoga a go?

    History

    The idea of an International Yoga Day was first mooted by the United Nations after a compelling proposal from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his proposal, Modi stated that, “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action ... a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

    The Health Benefits of Yoga

    The World Health Organization has implored member states to take steps to address the growing inactivity of individual citizens – an unhealthy trend that is a key risk factor in diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit committed to clinical practice, education and research - the potential health benefits of yoga include:

    • Stress reduction, a better night's sleep, improved mood and an enhanced sense of well-being
    • Improved fitness, balance, flexibility and strength
    • Management of chronic conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure

    Something for Everyone

    Whatever your age or ability level, there's a yoga style and approach that is just right for you. From active kids who need an opportunity to wind down, after a hectic day juggling school, homework and after-school activities. To elderly people and those who are less mobile and would appreciate the mind, body and spirit benefits of a gentle armchair practice.

    Here are a few of the more popular styles:

    • Hatha yoga is a foundation of all yoga styles and can be a good choice if you're looking to improve flexibility. It’s controlled breathing can help improve oxygenation of the body and alleviate stress.
    • Iyengar yoga: Using Props - belts, blocks and pillow-like bolsters – that assist with correct alignment, it is gentle and can work well for those with an injury or a chronic condition.
    • Ashtanga yoga can offer a new challenge for those who already have a decent level of fitness.
    • Bikram Toya: Bikram yoga is the favourite of anyone who loves to sweat! The poses are done in a heated room to facilitate the release of toxins and designed to provide a challenging, invigorating, rejuvenating yoga experience.

    Whatever style you choose, an initial one-to-one session with an experienced teacher can be really worthwhile, to assess your unique needs and to get you off to the best possible start.

    Find yourself a nearby class, get yourself signed up for a course and enjoy the sensations of lightness, ease and relaxation that will surely follow. Bliss!

    PS If you're feeling inspired about getting your body moving, why not download our Healthy Living Guide? Good luck!

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

  • Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

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

    The Surprising Prevalence of IBS

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

    (*) International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder

    What is IBS and what causes it?

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

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

    Prunes and Normal Bowel Function

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

    Managing the Symptoms of IBS-C

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Purple Power Smoothie

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Smoothies are a summer essential. And the very best ones are tasty and satisfying while packing a nutritional punch. In our Purple Power Smoothie, prune juice, blueberries, yoghurt and just a little honey are combined to make a vibrantly coloured and flavourful thirst-quencher. This recipe is sure to become a firm family favourite!

    Ingredients

    1 cup SUNSWEET Prune Juice 

    1 cup frozen blueberries   

    1/2 cup fat-free plain yoghurt  

    1 tablespoon honey  

    2 ice-cubes

    Instructions

    Blend all ingredients together until smooth, adding more ice cubes if you prefer a thicker smoothie.

    Makes one large serving


  • A step closer to healthier Snacking.

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Snacking. It really is an everyday part of modern life. But, watch-out, not all snacks are created equal! So, how can you make healthy choices around the whole snacking issue and yet avoid being caught out by the convenient but calorific-loaded and nutrient-light options when the munchies strike?

    The important role of healthy snacks in the diet

    Overeating of any kind is likely to lead to weight gain, in the long term. And unhealthy snacks – like crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks – should certainly be limited to being just a very occasional treat. But there is compelling scientific evidence that nutritious snacks can – and indeed should – form part of a healthy balanced diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, choosing healthy snacks can help to both manage hunger, in the short-term, and reduce the likelihood of bingeing when it comes to mealtimes. But the trick is to choose snacks that can kick hunger into touch while, at the same time, be nutritionally beneficial and keep calorie counts low.

    Kids' stuff

    The evidence to support the positive role of snacking is even more compelling when it comes to kids. Childhood is a time when young bodies are growing rapidly, and any parent will confirm, kids shoot up fast. But children have smaller stomachs than adults meaning that they usually feel fuller quicker. According to a 2009 study by the WHO, snacking can be a good way for children to meet their extra nutritional needs and to support normal development. Why not give our Prune Energy Balls recipe a go? They're tasty,  healthy, easily-made and can last up to a week!

    Trends in snacking

    In today’s on-the-run society the temptation of the quick-fix convenient snack, often in the form of the nutritional bar, may appear to be just what a hungry tummy ordered. Clever advertising may suggest health values, however, nutritionists agree that not all nutritional bars are created equal! Many are high in refined sugar and can have as much saturated fat as a regular confectionary bar.

    A recent Mintel report on snacking suggests that there is a growing preference for healthy food choices. And young people - the Millennial generation of 21 to 38 year olds, for example – were likely to snack for function and focus, with 39% snacking to get an energy boost. And California prunes tick lots of these boxes.

    • Sweet (Prunes contain only naturally occurring sugars, with no added sugar.)
    • Super-tasty
    • Packed with nutrients 
    • 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.

    It makes dietary sense to have a repertoire of easily prepared snacks up your sleeve, ideally ones that can be made advance, are suitable for the whole family and can be enjoyed whenever you're on the run. Think school lunch boxes, pre or post-exercise pick-me-ups, an office 'deskfast'. Check out our Prune Energy Balls - tasty, satisfying and nutritious.

    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.

  • Crunchy Asparagus Salad with Mozzarella

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Every family should have a dish like this – that makes the most of scrummy, super fresh and seasonal veggies - in their recipe repertoire. Our Crunchy Asparagus Salad with Mozzarella makes for a fresh and tasty lunch or supper dish. It also makes a stunning and substantial side-dish that's just perfect for BBQs.

    Ingredients

    500 g green asparagus 

    60 g sundried tomatoes (without oil) 

    30 g pine nuts 

    1 bunch of basil 

    300 g baby spinach 

    150 g California prunes 

    4 tbsp. lemon juice

    8 tbsp. olive oil 

    1 tbsp. vinegar

    Salt & pepper 

    Fennel seeds, toasted and chopped 

    300 g mini buffalo mozzarella 

    Pine nuts for garnishing

    Instructions

    1. Peel lower third of asparagus and remove ends. Then cut diagonally into 4 cm long pieces. Cube dried tomatoes. Coarsely chop pine nuts. Cut basil into strips and slice prunes. Clean and wash spinach.
    2. Blanch asparagus for about 4 minutes in salted water. Stir lemon juice and oil with vinegar, salt, pepper and fennel until smooth. Add asparagus, dried tomatoes and prunes and allow to soak through.
    3. Cut mozzarella into halves. Add spinach and basil to the asparagus and serve with mozzarella. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

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

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Summer is the perfect time for relaxed informal get-togethers’ with family and friends to enjoy each other's company and share some food. And the entertaining highlight of many a long and lazy summer's day? The good old BBQ grill! Read on for hints and tips and how to wow them all with the ultimate Spicy Prune BBQ Sauce recipe. 

    King of the Grill!

    What is it about this time of the year that sees so many men take up position as King of the Grill? Is it a throwback to the ancient days of the hunter-gatherer? Is it the ritual of lighting the fire, the thrill of an ever-so-slight risk of danger? The joy of being outdoors? Of hanging out with the rest of the menfolk? Of showcasing culinary prowess away from the limitations of the kitchen… and the obligations of the washing-up? Perhaps it’s destined to remain one of life’s unsolved little mysteries!

    Whoever ends up doing the cooking, there’s so much more to BBQ food than processed burgers and well-sizzled sausages. This year, why not wow your friends and family with BBQ fare that’s tasty, easy-to-prepare and super-nutritious, too?

    Keeping things healthy

    BBQing is such a wonderful way to combine two of life's great pleasures: enjoying the great outdoors and eating good food with family and friends. And, with just a little bit of forward planning, healthy lifestyle choices and eating habits don't have to fall by the wayside the moment the grill is fired-up.

    Choose:

    • Leaner cuts of meat – chicken, steak, chops.
    • Fish – salmon, monkfish, prawns, tuna, even a whole stuffed fish like mackerel.
    • Colourful veggie kebabs – peppers, red and white onions, mushrooms, courgette, cherry tomatoes, tofu.
    • Baked spuds – as long as you go easy on the butter! – are super-filling and low in fat.

    Ditch the white bread-rolls and serve an appetising selection of fresh salads, instead. Chopped fresh and dried fruits, nuts and seeds are a great way to add texture and crunch. And when it comes to dressings, choose fruity chutneys and relishes rather than relying on those calorie-laden sour-cream and mayo options.

    Our easy to prepare Spicy Prune Barbeque Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to meat, fish and veggie grills.

    Ingredients

    Ingredients for approx. 625 ml:

    Prep time: approx. 30 min



    150g Sunsweet prunes 

    1 Onion (diced)

    2 Garlic cloves (chopped)

    1 tbsp. Oil

    2 tbsp. Tomato paste

    500 ml Ketchup

    3 tbsp. Whiskey

    5 tbsp. Worcester sauce

    2 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar

    3 tbsp. Brown sugar

    1 tsp. Salt

    ½ - 1 tsp. Chili powder

    1 tsp. Smoked paprika powder

    Black pepper


    Instructions

    1. Cut the prunes into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan and fry onion on medium heat until glassy.
    2. Add garlic, prunes and tomato paste and sautée lightly. Add Ketchup, Whiskey, Worcester sauce and Apple Cider Vinegar. Stir in sugar, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika and pepper.
    3. Bring sauce to a boil and let simmer for 15 min, stir occasionally. Pour into clean jars and seal when cooled. The sauce can be stored for 4 weeks.

    *Sunsweet tips: Did you know that prune juice can be used to tenderise meat? The fruity flavour complements both poultry and red meats. Soak kebab skewers in water first, to stop them from spontaneously combusting.

    Looking for desert and finger food recipe ideas? Check out our Free 16 page Recipe Booklet.

    Keeping upset tums at bay

    The very best BBQs are remembered for all the right reasons, so don’t let the fun and frivolity get in the way of food safety. According to the UK government's food safety agency, cases of food poisoning practically double during the summer months. And the main reasons for this rise are undercooked meat and bacterial cross-contamination amongst foodstuffs. Yeugh! So, this year, please make sure that you check out safefood.eu for some timely hints and tips on keeping things safe.

    Have fun and eat (and stay) healthy!

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

  • Prune Energy Balls

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Our modern lives are busy and our fridges aren't always stocked with nutritionally-optimal snacks. That's where store cupboard items like nuts, seeds and dried fruits come into play.  So it makes dietary sense to have a repertoire of easily prepared snacks up your sleeve like our Prune Energy Balls. They’re healthy, tasty, easily-made and can last up to a week. Think school lunch boxes, pre or post-exercise pick-me-ups, an office 'deskfast'. 

    Ingredients

    125g Sunsweet Prunes

    80g almonds / walnuts / mix

    60g Chia seeds

    15g cocoa powder

    15g cup smooth nut butter

    Coconut oil, to blend

    Desiccated coconut, for rolling (optional)

    Makes about 20 balls

    Instructions

    1. Place the nuts in a food processor and blitz for a moment. Add prunes and further blitz until a soft dough begins to form.  Add other ingredients, except the coconut oil and desiccated coconut, and blend until smooth. Add a small amount of coconut oil, a few drops at a time, until the mixture is sticky, and holds its shape.
    2. Take a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into a ball and continue until all the mixture is used. Roll the balls in the desiccated coconut, to coat (optional).
    *Sunsweet tip: place in the Prune Energy Balls in the freezer for about 45 minutes to set. Stored in an air-tight container in the fridge they will keep for up to a week.
  • Don’t let your travels upset your tum!

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    With holiday season well under way, we’ve all heard our fair share of anecdotes about travellers’ tummy troubles. Each of them more “TMI” than the last. But did you know that, by following just a few simple steps, it’s possible to dramatically improve the chances of you – and your family - maintaining good digestive health while travelling?

    Concerns about food safety issues and the likelihood of subsequent, unpleasant illness. The digestive system getting out of synch. And a relaxed family holiday, memorable for all the right reasons. Are these three things something of a paradox, perhaps, a contradiction in terms? Because a survey by CondéNet and the California Dried Plum Board, found that digestive health problems were far from uncommon amongst holiday-makers.

    • More than 75% experienced occasional digestive problems while traveling
    • 42% suffered from constipation

    What causes ‘travelers’ tummy’?

    When travelling, it’s important to be sensible and aware about food safety and health. But you need to balance this caution; becoming paranoid about every morsel could just as easily spoil your holiday!

    Simple precautions include:

    • Checking if the local tap water is safe to drink. If in doubt, opt for bottled water.
    • Holding-off on ice cubes (salads, deserts and drinks) if you think the local water could be an issue.
    • Sticking to cooked food that has been freshly cooked and served piping hot.
    • Choosing the more popular cafes and restaurants; locals are likely to avoid the duds!
    • Using wipes and antibacterial gels - they can be really useful for keeping the family’s hands clean, when you’re on the go.

    If you’re unlucky, don’t panic. Take in plenty of fluids. Chamomile and raspberry leaf tea are natural remedies that you can try, to gently relieve diarrhea. And crystallized ginger is said to help alleviate nausea.

    And what about the opposite side of the coin, Constipation?

    Letting healthy eating habits slip, while on the road. Grabbing convenience food and snacks that are far from optimum, nutritionally. Not getting enough sleep. Not getting enough to drink. Struggling to get used to dramatic changes in temperature. Finding it stressful, the whole experience of being away from home. Getting used to unfamiliar ingredients and new flavours. There are a whole host of reasons why the fine-tuning of the digestive system may end up a little out-of-whack.

    "The disruption of one's normal routine/schedule is inevitable when one travels. But eating poorly is controllable by the individual. People really need to look at their food choices either while traveling or at home. They don't realize that there are simple preventative solutions which may help alleviate bouts of digestive discomfort that can occur on the road," says Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

    Where possible, include plenty of fresh fruit and veg in your holiday diet. But make sure that you pack some non-perishable dried fruit, too – like Sunsweet prunes. Prunes are known to help maintain good digestive health. And the whole family will love their super-sweet flavour.

    Good digestive health – it’s what we do!

    At Sunsweet, we’re passionate about good digestive health and we’re more than delighted to share our expert insights. Check out our top four tips for good digestive health and Simple Health Tips for People on the Go.

    And – for even more comprehensive info - why not download our Healthy Living Guide ?

    Bon Voyage!

    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.

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