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

The part prunes play in maintaining a healthy weight

Posted by Sunsweet - Monday, October 23, 2017

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


Manage your stress levels

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

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

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

Love your prunes!

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

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

The study of 100 people tested whether - over a 3-month period - eating the fruit boosted weight loss. The findings were that the prune eaters experienced greater satiety – they felt fuller – and greater weight loss than the control group. Dr Jo Harrold, who led the research, said: "Prunes may be beneficial to dieters by tackling hunger and satisfying appetite; a major challenge when you are trying to maintain weight loss." Yet another reason to fall in love with the humble prune!

Don’t skip meals!

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

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

Are you beach body ready?

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 22, 2017

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


Do crash diets work?

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

Is there a different approach?

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

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

What’s the science on snacking?

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

Why do we overeat?

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

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

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

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

Have a happy and healthy summer!

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

Positive steps towards maintaining a healthy weight

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, August 18, 2016

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

Comfort Eating

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

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

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

Removing Temptation

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

How can Prunes Help with Weight Loss?

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

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

Be Prepared!

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

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

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

A step closer to healthier Snacking.

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, July 07, 2016

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.

Light Prune Focaccia

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, November 12, 2015

Our Light Prune Focaccia combines the wonderfully aromatic flavours of rosemary sprigs, sea salt and cherry tomatoes with sweet, versatile and super- scrumptious prunes. Made with gluten-free flour, our Light Prune Focaccia is a great option for anybody who is avoiding gluten. But it's also a great option for anybody who simply loves fresh, home-made bread. Our Focaccia is the perfect, Italian-style accompaniment to a range of healthy soups and salads. Delicious!

Ingredients

7 g dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
40 ml olive oil
350 g gluten-free flour
3 sprigs of rosemary, 2 of them chopped
100 g California prunes
12 cherry tomatoes
Coarse sea salt

Other:
Ovenproof pan 26 cm

Instructions

  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 250 ml lukewarm water. Add 30 ml of olive oil. Mix flour with salt, chopped rosemary and prunes. Add the dissolved yeast and stir until smooth. Pour dough into a bowl and let rise for about 1 hour until it has doubled.
  2. Knead the dough again and form a shape that fits into the pan. Using your knuckle, make indentations in the dough, then prick with fork. Brush the pan with some of the olive oil and place the dough inside. Press cherry tomatoes into the dough. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary.
  3. Place into the preheated oven at 180° C (convection oven 160° C) and bake for 35 minutes. Cut the focaccia into pieces and serve.

Tip: Focaccia goes particularly well with rocket pesto.