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

  • Simply-prepared, hearty and healthy – stews are the stars of autumn!

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Hearty stews are one of the highlights of autumn and our tasty Beef Stew with Prunes offers a fruity twist on the more classic stew flavours. Warming, nutritious and downright delicious, our hearty stew is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Why not make a double batch and freeze in single-serve portions?

    Ingredients

    2 tbs ground nut oil

    600g boneless beef, cut into large chunks, ask your butcher to prepare

    2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped

    2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed and diced

    600 ml beef stock

    400g tin of chopped tomatoes

    2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

    12 ready-to-eat Prunes, halved

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 325f / 170c / gas 3
    2. Place a large, oven-proof, casserole pot over a medium heat, add the oil, and when hot quickly sear all the beef pieces, stirring and turning to brown each side. When browned, remove the beef from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep to one side.
    3. Add the onion and carrots to the pan, add a splash of the stock then cover and leave to sautee in the stock over the medium heat – about 5-7 minutes (check every few minutes to ensure they are not burning and stir as necessary). Turn the heat to high, then add the tomatoes, stirring well, then leave to simmer for a minute.
    4. Next add half the parsley and the rest of the stock, give it a stir, and add the beef back. Bring to the boil, then cover and pop into the hot oven. After 45 minutes, add the prunes, then return to the oven for another 45 minutes.
    5. Sprinkle with the remainder of the fresh parsley, and serve. This dish can really work with a crunchy green salad. The salad does not need a dressing as the juice from the stew is so filled with flavour.

  • The part prunes play in maintaining a healthy weight

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    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.

  • Healthy Hacks for Winter Snacks

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

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


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

    So how can that be done?

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

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

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

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

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

    And did you know?

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

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

  • On Darker Days, Shine a Light on Emotional Wellbeing

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

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


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

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

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

    The impact of stress on digestion

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

    Lifestyle tweaks

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

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

  • A warm and comforting brekkie with the feel-good factor, no fat-laden breakfast butties, here!

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Our warm poached prunes with yogurt make a wonderfully comforting and satisfying morning dish – just perfect as part of a relaxed, weekend brunch. The whole family will love this sweet and creamy dish. And it makes a lovely sweet-treat to complete a mid-week dinner, too – delicious!

    Ingredients

    8 ready-to-eat Prunes

    100ml Prune juice

    1 cup of strong tea (I love Redbush tea)

    Zest of an orange

    ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

    ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

    200g natural yoghurt

    Instructions

    1. Place all of the ingredients, except for the yoghurt, in a heavy-based pan, place over a high heat, and bring to the boil.
    2. Reduce the heat, cover, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to cool.
    3. Divide the yoghurt between two bowls. Scoop out the prunes with a slotted spoon and place half on top of each helping of yoghurt.
    4. Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of the fragrant liquid, and eat immediately.

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

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

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

    Ingredients

    900g beef stew meat, 1 1/2" cubes

    2 1/2 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning

    1/2 tsp ground black pepper

    1 Tbsp unsalted butter

    2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces

    2 garlic cloves, smashed

    1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    120ml red wine

    1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes

    240ml water

    2 bay leaves

    1 cinnamon stick

    1 tsp garam masala

    1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained

    100g SUNSWEET prunes, halved

    1 bunch lacinato kale, thinly sliced, thick stems removed

    1 tsp red wine vinegar

    800g cooked Israeli couscous, for serving

    Instructions

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

  • Have a healthy, happy and home-made Christmas!

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Could this be the year that you make Christmas your own and make lots of magical family memories along the way? Try to remember that there’s no such thing as an identikit, one-size-fits-all Christmas. What's perfect for you and your family, is perfect for you and your family. Forget about trying to recreate the fashionable festive tableaux that are splashed across social media. Forget about blowing your budget on overly-commercial gifts with little meaning that will be discarded by Boxing Day. Forget everything you’ve ever told yourself about not being creative and get making!

    The real meaning of Christmas

    There’s something about a home-made gift, whatever the time of year, but particularly at Christmas. When all of our lives are so busy, a unique and personal gift that’s taken time and effort to make feels heartfelt. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about? So, set aside a weekend in December, decide who you’ll be making gifts for, search the internet for inspiration, get the whole family involved and have fun! Quick tips for fabulous home-made gifts.

    Foodie treats are always a popular choice, at Christmastime. Make sure that you check the recipe, first, but many gifts can be enjoyed by the recipient long into January and beyond. For example, our Spicy Prune BBQ Sauce keeps for up to four weeks. And many preserves will last for up to a year. It’d be a nice touch to add an "enjoy before date" to your handwritten labels.

    Take a look at our recipe pages for some scrummy sweet ideas. Who wouldn’t love a Dark Chocolate Bar with Prunes and Almonds or Chocolate Covered Nut-Stuffed Prunes? Pack the edible goodies into pretty gift bags or boxes and don’t forget the gift-tag! Personalised, hand-made labels make a lovely finishing touch.

    Pinecones are the ultimate starting point for a whole host of Christmas crafting projects. Add googly eyes, brown felt triangles for ears and mini red pompoms to create – you guessed it – super-cute Rudolphs. Pop cones into mini plant-pots – fixing them securely with modelling clay – to create tiny trees, all ready for decorating. The possibilities are endless!

    Maybe you have somebody on your list who is either short on time (a new mum, perhaps) or doesn’t get much company (an elderly neighbour, perhaps, who lives alone). A voucher for a home-made meal – to be redeemed in the New Year – can make a thoughtful gift. You could use our recipe pages as inspiration, to draw up a menu for the lucky recipient.

    Enjoy your fabulously crafty weekend. But don’t forget to make an extra batch or two. It’s the chef’s privilege, after all.

    With very best wishes – from all of us - for a very healthy, happy and home-made Christmas!

    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.

  • Try Something New This Christmas!

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    This year, at Christmas time, why not try something new? Like putting yourself first. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup! It may be a cliché but it’s no less true because of that. And who knows? If you take a little time out to reflect on what really matters to you - and your family – at Christmastime, you might just make this Christmas your best ever!

    Everybody’s priorities are different. A formal feast with fabulous friends is festive heaven for some people. While others prefer a quieter more intimate affair. And, for some, children about the place makes anything elaborate or overly structured just one stress too far.

    Decide what’s important to you: is it having a houseful of friends, relaxing with close family or something in between? If you’re honest about what constitutes your perfect Christmas, you’ll give yourself the best chance of getting it!

    Letting off steam, on the big day

    Don’t overlook the restorative properties of physical activity, even in the midst of all the festivities. With a bit of strategic delegation, you’ll be able to keep even the youngest members of the household occupied while ticking an item or two off your task list. Draw up a list of what needs to be done - from peeling the sprouts to bagging up the wrapping-paper for recycling – and make sure that everyone gets stuck in. There could even be a fun league table with prizes to be won, for “The Most Cheerful Helper” perhaps or “The Speediest Table Clearer”. Have fun together and make sure you’re not shouldering the Christmas workload alone.

    Stress and tummy trouble

    Digestion is a sensitive process that can be compromised by stress. And – with the best will in the world – Christmas can be stressful! When the digestive system gets out of synch, the whole body can feel its unwelcome effects with symptoms like bloating, constipation and indigestion. But the great news is that prunes can help. They’ve long been associated, anecdotally, with digestive health. But new research suggests that prunes should be considered “a first line therapy” because - when 100g of prunes are eaten on a daily basis - they can help to support normal bowel function. Our Digestion 101 is packed with hints and tips for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

    Cultivating an attitude of gratitude

    Christmas is a great opportunity for counting your blessings. We know, it can be hard! But research by the University of Berkeley found that being grateful has lots of potential health benefits. It can:

    • 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

    So take a look at your home and your loved ones, in all their messy, imperfect and beautiful glory, raise a glass and give thanks. Happy Christmas!

    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.

  • Decanted into pretty jars, the perfect Christmas gift

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Our Prune Biscotti with White Chocolate are sure to be appreciated by foodie friends. However they take their coffee, these Biscotti will be the perfect accompaniment and – drizzled attractively with white chocolate - they make a really pretty gift! Best eaten within 4 weeks, they can be stored in a sealed container for up to 8 weeks. But we’re pretty sure they won’t last that long!

    Ingredients

    280 g flour

    1 tsp. baking powder

    1 pinch salt

    160 g sugar

    90 g butter (molten)

    2 eggs

    1½ tsp. bourbon vanilla sugar

    100 g Sunsweet prunes, finely chopped

    60 g almonds, ground

    1 egg white (large)

    80 g white chocolate

    80 g mixed nuts, coarsely chopped

    Instructions

    1. Sieve flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and mix well. Combine sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla sugar and chopped prunes in another large bowl and mix. Add flour mix and stir well with a wooden spoon. Add almonds.
    2. Divide dough into halves. Flour hands and shape 2 logs, each approx. 10 cm long. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place logs on it. Space logs well apart.
    3. Beat egg white in a cup until frothy. Paint the logs with the egg white.
    4. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 °C (not suitable for convection ovens) for 35 minutes on the centre rack. Remove baking sheet from the oven and let logs cool completely. Melt chocolate. Coarsely chop nuts.
    5. Remove logs from baking sheet and cut diagonally into slices using a serrated knife. Place slices on the baking sheet (with parchment paper) and bake for another 12 minutes. Turn slices and bake for 8 more minutes. Remove to a rack and cool. Decorate with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Wait until chocolate has solidified and wrap as a gift.

  • Bakes with a yummy Christmassy flavour.

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    These cinnamon-infused prune bakes will fill the house with the wonderfully evocative aroma of Christmas. They can be enjoyed with a cuppa or a glass of milk at any time of the day. But how wonderful it would be to wake up to a tray of these, warm from the oven, on Christmas morning?

    Ingredients

    For the yeast dough:

    70 g butter

    180 ml low-fat milk

    350 g wheat flour

    1 package of dry yeast

    40 g sugar

    60 g walnuts

    40 g sugar

    20 g vanilla sugar

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1 medium egg white

    40 g soft butter

    280 g Sunsweet prunes

    Icing sugar

    Instructions

    1. Melt the butter and add milk. Mix flour and dry yeast in a bowl. Add the butter/milk mix and knead into smooth dough with a dough hook. Cover the dough and allow to rise for approx. 30 minutes in a warm spot.
    2. Finely chop the walnuts and mix with sugar, vanilla sugar and cinnamon. Work in egg white.
    3. Divide dough into four portions. Roll out each portion to a narrow rectangle of about 12 x 24 cm. Apply each rectangle with a quarter of the butter and the walnut mixture. Cut the rectangles in approx. 4 cm wide strips. Wrap one prune into each strip.
    4. Put the rolls on a backing tray covered with parchment paper. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180° C (Gas: 2-3, Convection: 160° C) for 15-20 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with icing sugar.

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

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Our New Prune Juice Pack Makeover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch out for the new cartons in your local supermarket.

    Mmm...Prune Juice Recipes

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

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

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

    Nutritional Benefits of Prune Juice

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

    Now you can add helping the environment to the list! 

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

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

    We think that’s worth raising a glass to!

  • Prunes the fat and sugar for healthier baking

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Benefits of using prunes in cooking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Posted Tue, Jun 08, 21 by Sunsweet

    Any exercise, as long as it is not to the extreme, will increase intestinal contractions and improve your digestive health. Getting your outside moving tends to get things moving inside too.

    But not all exercises were created equal and some are better for your digestive health than others. Regular moderate intensity physical activity – such as walking, cycling or participating in sports – has significant benefits for health. It can, for instance reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and depression. Even simple changes to the way you go about your daily life such as taking the stairs instead of the lift can help you and your digestive system to move more.

    Exercises considered good for digestion

    All exercise is good for your internal and external fitness, and according to the World Health Organisation, adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise every week. Depending on an individual's relative level of fitness, examples of moderate physical activity could include: brisk walking, dancing or doing the housework. Some exercises in particular are considered more beneficial for your digestive health. So if you are trying to improve your inner as well as external fitness, make sure to include some of the following into your weekly regime:

    Aerobic Activities

    As aerobic exercise increases the blood flow to all the organs of our body it also increases the blood flow to the digestive tract. The increased blood supply to these areas results in greater intestinal contractions, which in turn releases more digestive enzymes. This makes it easier for food waste to move through the colon and out of the body.

    Post dinner walk

    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, include at least a 30 minute walk after lunch or dinner. Your digestion will thank you for it.

    Yoga – standing and inverted poses

    If you think of yoga like a massage for your insides you can imagine how good your body feels after you put it through some simple positions. Quite apart from its proven stress boosting benefits, certain standing poses and inverted yoga poses in particular are good for digestion. If you don't have a class near you or cannot commit time wise, buy a beginners DVD or download an app to get started.

    With all exercise be mindful of the fact that digestion does take quite a bit of energy and therefore make sure to allow adequate time after meals before starting exercise. Remember also to always listen to your body's signals, in particular when embarking on a new exercise regime. Your body is a highly tuned machine – if something is not working well – it will let you know!  If you find that one type of exercise doesn't suit you or your digestion, you might consider a different type of exercise such as cycling or swimming until your digestive health is in better shape, and then try it again.

    Note: This information is not intended as a substitute for consulting with your Doctor.
  • A treat for the tum and the eyes. Our Fruity Pilaf with Prunes and Chicken Skewers is deceptively simple to make, too!

    Posted Wed, Jun 02, 21 by Sunsweet

    Coming up with ideas for mid-week meals can be tricky and that’s where dishes like our Fruity Pilaf with Prunes and Chicken Skewers really come into their own. Quick to make, pretty to look at and super tasty, it’s sure to be loved by the whole family!

    Ingredients

    Ingredients (for 4):

    For the Chicken Skewers:

    You will need 4 metal skewers, at least 8 inches long

    2 large free-range chicken breasts, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces

    100ml natural yoghurt

    1 tbsp turmeric

    ½ tsp chilli powder

    Juice of 1 lemon

    For the Rice Pilaf:

    Large knob butter

    1 medium onion, peeled, trimmed and finely chopped

    1 tsp ground coriander

    1 tsp ground cumin

    1 tsp cumin seeds

    120g fast cook brown basmati rice

    500ml warmed chicken stock

    6 ready-to-eat Prunes, roughly chopped

    Large handful shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

    2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

    2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

    Salt & pepper, to taste

    Instructions

    1. First prepare the chicken skewers. Mix together the yoghurt, turmeric, chilli powder and lemon juice.
    2. Skewer ¼ of the chicken pieces onto each skewer, then place in a wide dish and cover with the marinade. Leave to one side while you prepare the rice.
    3. In a large heavy-based pan, melt the butter over the low heat, add the onion, stir well, and leave to sautee until soft – about 5 minutes. Add the ground coriander, ground cumin and cumin seeds, and stir well for a moment to avoid sticking.
    4. Add the rice, mix thoroughly with the onion mixture, and leave for half a minute before adding the stock.
    5. Stir well, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid (otherwise place a sheet of foil over the top of the pot and secure the lid down on this – this will give you a snug-fitting lid).
    6. Leave to cook over the heat for 10 minutes, check to see if it needs more liquid, if it does add water, and then give it a further 5 minutes to sit, covered.
    7. While the rice is cooking, turn your grill up to high, place the chicken skewers underneath, discarding any excess marinade.
    8. Turn the skewers every 2 minutes or so, so that each side of the chicken cubes are evenly cooked through. When cooked, remove from the grill and set to one side.
    9. Remove the lid from the rice, and quickly fluff up the rice with a fork.
    10. Wait a moment for the steam to escape, then add the prunes, pistachio nuts and fresh herbs, and mix through well.
    11. Spoon the rice into a large, wide serving bowl and place the chicken skewers on top. Eat immediately. Serve with a crisp green salad.

  • Creamy Vanilla Prune Popsicle

    Posted Tue, Jun 01, 21 by Sunsweet

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

    Ingredients

    10 SUNSWEET prunes

    4 tablespoons hot water

    2 cups 2% plain yogurt

    1 tablespoon honey

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


    Instructions

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


  • Heavenly Prune Yogurt Tiramisu

    Posted Thu, May 20, 21 by Sunsweet

    Why is it that so many desert recipes mean kissing goodbye to your resolve to eat more healthily? Well, give a big ‘hello’ our Heavenly Prune Yogurt Tiramisu! Sure to become a firm favourite with the whole family, this super delicious desert is proof positive that watching your calorie intake doesn’t have to mean eliminating treats. Enjoy!

    Ingredients

    1 vanilla pod 

    150 g California prunes  

    250 g low fat yoghurt

    200 g cream cheese 

    7 tbsp. agave syrup 

    100 ml espresso, brewed 

    6 tbsp. rum (optional) 

    200 g sponge fingers (finger shaped sponge biscuits) 

    Unsweetened cocoa powder for sprinkling

    Chocolate shavings and mint for garnishing

    Other: springform pan, approx. 35 x 23.5 cm

    Instructions

    1. Cut vanilla pod in half and scrape out seeds. Cut prunes into chunks and mix with yoghurt, cream cheese, agave syrup, vanilla seeds and 5 tablespoons espresso until smooth. Combine the remaining espresso with rum.
    2. Place half of the sponge fingers into the springform pan and generously soak with the espresso-rum mixture. Then spread half of the yoghurt cream on top, place remaining biscuits onto the cream, and sprinkle with remaining espresso. Spread remaining cream on biscuits and smooth. Refrigerate tiramisu for at least 4 hours to soak through.
    3. Then generously sprinkle cocoa powder on top of the tiramisu and serve garnished with chocolate shavings and mint.
  • Get Healthy. Get Motivated. Get Sociable.

    Posted Thu, May 13, 21 by Sunsweet

    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!

  • Prunes - the Smart Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle

    Posted Thu, May 06, 21 by Sunsweet

    Having a healthier lifestyle does not have to involve going to extremes. Start with clearly defined goals, get support for healthier habits and you’ll soon be on the path to success. We’ve put together some helpful tips to get you started if you’re trying to get more exercise or maintain a healthy weight. 

    Set “SMART” Goals

    Are the goals you are setting for yourself Specific, Measurable and Achievable? Are they Relevant to your life and Time-bound – have you set a deadline to reach them? There is an art to goal setting: if you make it too easy then you’re not pushing yourself enough; too unrealistic and you’ll give up! Some examples of SMART goals might be:
    • Exercising for 30 minutes three times a week, for example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
    • Trying one new recipe every weekend.
    • Making sure to eat your five a day every day for a week.

    Find an exercise you enjoy

    If you prefer the great outdoors to noisy gyms then make walking or running outside a regular part of your life. Find friends to go with you or join a local walking or running group. Having a friend to hold you accountable can encourage you to show up when you’d prefer to stay home! Joining an exercise class can also be a fun way to stay fit – there are so many to choose from - circuits, boxercise, or even tap-dancing. Find a time and location that fits into your existing schedule and make it part of your weekly routine. Don’t forget to use the gift of technology and log your exercises using an app – they’ll help you feel great for those small successes and keep your motivation going!

    Top tip: turn your walk or run into more fun with an audiobook!

    Just add prunes!

    Prunes are delicious straight from the pack as a sweet treat, but their versatility makes them a great addition to a range of savoury and sweet recipes. Whip up a batch of Prune Energy Balls to have on hand for after the gym or when you feel the call of the vending machine. Why not also boost the start of your day with a smoothie made with prunes or a chilled glass of prune juice?

    If you’re trying to cut down on added fat, making prune purée may help! Try it as an alternative to butter, replacing it by gram equivalent, and see if you taste the extra succulent sweetness! Making it is easy - all you need are prunes, hot water and a food processor. Even better, it keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month! So why not try baking with prunes and see what difference it could make to your sweet treats?

    Experiment with recipes you already use or find inspiration by viewing our own dishes. Prunes sweet, fruity flavour contrasts beautifully with spices, citrus flavours and cheeses – for example check out our Asian Fish Curry or Feta, Lentil and Spelt Salad with Orange Dressing dishes. You can even use prunes to make marinade for your favourite meat, fish or tofu dishes. For more confident cooks who prefer doing their own thing rather than following recipes, we’ve put together this flavour pairing guide too. Use it as a starting point to create your own recipes with whatever ingredients you have to hand!

    Even if you don’t have much time to cook during the week you can easily add prunes to your diet by stirring chopped prunes into your porridge or cereal each morning. Along with their naturally sweet flavour, they’re packed with fibre and vital nutrients. Just four prunes provide you with 11% of your recommended daily value of fibre, and 20% of your daily Vitamin K . It’s a great way to start your day as you mean to continue – healthily!

    The science of satiety and weight loss

    Satiety is the feeling of fullness we get after eating. In a study at the University of Liverpool, eating prunes was found to help with weight loss by keeping people feeling fuller for longer. The research involved over 100 people (both men and women) being tested over a 3-month period, and eating the fruit as part of a weight loss diet. Greater weight loss was found in those who ate the prunes than the control group during the last four weeks of the study. After week eight the people eating prunes felt fuller for longer! 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."

    So here’s a SMART goal to get you started to a healthier lifestyle: walk to your nearest supermarket today, pop a packet of Sunsweet prunes in your shopping basket and try one of our delicious recipes this week! 

  • Can you boost your chances of avoiding winter bugs?

    Posted Thu, Nov 26, 20 by Sunsweet

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

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

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

    Fuelling your body with nutritious home-cooking

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

    Snack wisely

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

    Getting out into the fresh air

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

    Learning how to relax

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

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

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

  • We very much fancy a slice of this Dense Chocolate Cake

    Posted Fri, Nov 20, 20 by Sunsweet

    Our Dense Chocolate Cake is wonderfully moist, super chocolatey and surprisingly simple to make. But there’s something that’s even more surprising. Our cake is a gluten-free bake and each delicious slice contains fewer than 400 calories. And it smells amazing while baking!

    Ingredients

    200 g dark chocolate

    100 g butter, cubed

    1 vanilla pod

    5 eggs

    1 pinch of salt

    100 g sugar

    150 g California prunes

    3 tbsp. cocoa powder

    Confectioner's sugar for dusting


    Other:

    Cake springform baking tin24 cm

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 160° C (convection oven 140° C). Line spring form with baking paper. Chop chocolate. Cut butter into cubes. Place both into a bowl and melt over hot water. Cut vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds.
    2. Separate eggs and beat the egg whites, salt and sugar until stiff. Remove chocolate from water, allow to slightly cool, and then stir in the egg yolks. Stir in prunes, vanilla seeds, and cocoa powder, carefully fold in egg white.
    3. Pour the cake mixture into the springform baking tin and bake for 40 minutes.  Allow the cake to cool and serve dusted with confectioner's sugar.

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