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

You’ve got a friend in me!

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, June 22, 2021

30th July is the International Day of Friendship. And true friendship is, of course, a cause for celebration. But the pressures of busy, modern lives are leaving many of us feeling disconnected and out-of-touch with our friends or even socially isolated and downright lonely.


A report by the charities Relate and Relationships Scotland claims that loneliness is on the rise. The report, entitled “You're Not Alone - The Quality of the UK's Social Relationships”, found that almost seven million people did not have a close friend. And it is perhaps not surprising then that 45% of UK adults reported feeling lonely at least some of the time.

Relate’s chief executive, Chris Sherwood, said: "It's very concerning that so many people feel they don't have a single friend they can rely on. Making friends and keeping them isn't always easy: it can take time and effort that we don't always have to spare. Life can take over as we juggle careers with family life and it might seem as if our social media friend count is high but what is the quality of those friendships really like? Social relationships are essential to our health and wellbeing. We mustn't take them for granted."

With research suggesting that loneliness and social isolation are potentially as much of a health threat as obesity, it’s an important issue to address. In fact, Richard Lang - chair of preventative medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio - reckons that people need to attend to loneliness in “the same way they would their diet, exercise, or how much sleep they get.”

But what can be done?

Families that play together stay together. And, on the International Day of Friendship which is this Sunday, July 30th, the same can be said of friends.

If you enjoy the company of somebody that you already know and there’s an activity that you like doing together on a fairly regular basis – whether it’s walking or visiting garden centres or participating in ParkRuns– then lucky you. You’re already on to a winner. Commit to getting active together out-of-doors, get lots of dates into your respective diaries and make sure that you honour your commitment to each other, whatever the weather. At the end of the day, if we waited for the weather conditions to be just right, we would never do anything. Bundle up, get out there and have fun!

But if likeminded people seem a little thin on the ground, in your existing network, then cast your net wider. Whatever your interest, there’s bound to be a club or an association nearby. Be brave, step outside your comfort zone and put yourself out there. Think Zumba classes, the Ramblers’ Association, your local golf club. You’ll expand your social circle in no time, we promise!

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.

Tackling Tummy Troubles while Travelling

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tummy troubles are no joke, especially when you’re travelling and especially when you have small kids in tow. But are digestive complaints - like constipation – just “one of those things” when the family is on the move or are there some simple steps that you can take to nip any potential problems in the bud?


For many of us, holidays can mean:

  1. Taking our eye off the healthy eating ball with far more treats in our diet than we’re used to (and with far less fibre).
  2. Getting dehydrated. As the sun comes up, temperatures rise making everyone a little hotter – and a little thirstier - than they’re used to. And as the sun goes down, exotic cocktails can be a temptation for the grown-ups in the group. It’s really important to keep fluid levels topped up but – sorry! – alcoholic drinks don’t count.
  3. Relaxing by the pool rather than swimming the length and breadth of it. All that sunshine can make physical exercise feel like way too much effort.

And that little trio can combine to upset the bodily functions that most of us are usually lucky enough to be able to take for granted, resulting in a sluggish digestion.

Digestion is a complex physical process and when the digestive system gets out of synch, the whole body can feel its effects. Digestive troubles are far from uncommon amongst holiday-makers. That’s according to a survey by CondéNet and the California Dried Plum Board. More than 75% experienced occasional digestive problems while traveling and 42% suffered from constipation.

A sluggish digestion can quickly start to cause physical discomfort and even anxiety. So what can be done? We’ve pulled together our top tips for keeping things moving while you’re on the move.

Choose Well

Make healthy food choices - wherever possible – and make sure you drink lots. Water and diluted fruit juices are both excellent choices as they can quench your thirst and contribute towards good nutrition.

Keep Moving

Make sure that you factor in some daily exercise when your routine changes. Even while you’re travelling, it’s usually possible to move around from time to time. And something as simple as a brief stroll or a quick stretch really can work wonders.

Plan Ahead

Stock up on a selection of healthy, on-the-go snacks to take with you. Prunes, for example, are proven to promote healthy digestion. You can take the fruit with you, wherever you go. And the best news? Prunes are absolutely delicious!

Chill Out

Although it's not usually stress itself that causes health problems – like digestive issues - but how you handle that stress, it’s still important to find ways to unwind that work for you. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

Good digestive health – it’s what we do!

At Sunsweet, we’re passionate about good digestive health. Why not check out our top four tips for good digestive health and Simple Health Tips for People on the Go.

And if you’re looking for more comprehensive info, you can 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.

Our Chorizo, Prawn and Prune skewers are a snazzy dish, just perfect for parties!

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, June 16, 2021

When it comes to summer BBQ dishes, it can be nice to ring the changes. Our Chorizo, Prawn and Prune skewers are really easy to make but will add a touch of sophistication to your table. The skewers are perfect as an appetiser but – with a selection of salads – they’re substantial enough to serve as a main, too!

Ingredients

1 sweet potato (approx. 250 g)
Salt
175 g cream cheese
1 tbsp. Tahini
2-3 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ - ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
8 big prawns (for example tiger prawns, approx. 200 g)
2 tbsp. olive oil
100 g soft chorizo (Spanish sausage with peppers)
12 g Sunsweet prunes
Additional: 4 wooden skewers

Instructions

  1. Peel and cube the sweet potato for the dip. Boil in 100 ml water and a pinch of salt for 10 minutes until soft. Puree the sweet potato pieces in the water it is boiled in. Let puree cool.
  2. lix sweet potato puree with cream cheese, tahini and 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Season the dip with salt, cayenne and lemon juice if needed. Refrigerate.
  3. Put the wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning on the grill. Peel prawns except for the tail. Cut lengthways and remove the intestines. Wash prawns, blot dry and coat in olive oil. Cut chorizo into 8 pieces. Thread 2 prawns, chorizo pieces and 3 prunes alternately onto each skewer. Grill on a hot BBQ for 4-6 minutes. Serve with sweet potato dip.

Bean Salad

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Summer-time. The living should be easy. For people with IBS Constipation, that may not be the case. Produced with IBS Network UK, our booklet, ‘Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Constipation’ has lots of dietary tips and recipes. Like our super-flexible Bean Salad recipe. Use your favourite salad leaves, as a base. Top with a can of mixed beans. And then add chopped veggies for a multi-coloured, multi-textured meal. Easy!

Ingredients

Mixed salad leaves 
Tin mixed beans, washed
Tomato, chopped
Cucumber, chopped
Avocado, peeled pitted and diced
Carrot, grated
Feta cheese if desired
Dressing: vinegars, herbs, spices
Seeds: linseed (flax), sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, chia
Optional side: Sweet potato jacket, wholegrain rice, quinoa, couscous, wholemeal bread

Instructions

  1. Make up your own salad using any variety of what is listed and other preferred options. The beans and seeds add a great deal of fibre so go carefully at first with smaller portions to get used to your own tolerance levels.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the leaves, beans, tomato, cucumber, avocado, grated carrot and feta.
  3. Add the dressing of your choice and sprinkle seeds on top.

Exercising your right to healthy digestion

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, June 08, 2021

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 by Sunsweet - Wednesday, June 02, 2021

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 by Sunsweet - Tuesday, June 01, 2021

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.

Flavourful Quinoa Prune Tabbouleh

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Our Flavourful Quinoa Prune Tabbouleh may have the humble spud running scared! Beautiful to look at. Extremely versatile. And full of flavour as its name suggests. It’s a super tasty light lunch or a side dish to liven up the very dullest of suppers; a wonderful recipe to have in your repertoire. What's not to love?!

Ingredients

300 g quinoa
2 red onions 
250 g cherry tomatoes 
1 cucumber 
100 g California prunes 
1 avocado
2 bunches of flat-leaf parsley 
1 bunch of mint 
10 tbsp. olive oil 
8 tbsp. lemon juice 
1 tsp. cumin 
Salt & pepper 

Instructions

  1. Wash quinoa thoroughly under running water for 2 minutes and then drain. Place in a saucepan with 600 ml of water, add salt and bring to the boil. Simmer over low heat for approximately 15 minutes until quinoa grains break open and swell. Quinoa is al dente even when cooked. Fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, then serve.
  2. Peel onions and cut into strips, dice tomatoes and halve cucumber, remove seeds and slice. Dice prunes and avocado. Wash and chop parsley and mint. Stir olive oil together with lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper until smooth. Add quinoa and other ingredients. Let rest for about 20 minutes and serve.

Heavenly Prune Yogurt Tiramisu

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, May 20, 2021

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 by Sunsweet - Thursday, May 13, 2021

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!