A New Habit for a New Year-Make Prunes Part of Each Day

Written by: Andrea Miller MHSc, RD

DISCLAIMER: This post was developed in sponsored partnership with the California Dried Plum Board; however, as always, all opinions are genuine.

Happy New Year! I hope the holidays brought you peace, rest, and happy memories with friends and family.  As we ease into a New Year, many of us begin by making resolutions to improve our health. I love this idea and often set annual health and nutrition goals for myself. One of my favourite nutrition goals and one I encourage for my clients, is to add a new and healthy food to their daily routine. This year, I am going to make that new food California prunes. Eating just one daily serving of 5-6 California prunes supports bone health, heart health and digestive health.

Dried plums, commonly referred to as prunes, have a unique nutrient and dietary profile and have been found to have beneficial effects on bone. Prunes are rich in nutrients vital for bone health, including vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and boron, along with antioxidants that may help shield bones from oxidative damage. Maintaining bone health is vital to long term health and ensuring our diet is rich in bone building nutrients is an important part of long-term bone health.

Traditionally known only for their digestive effects, I now encourage people to think of prunes as offering a much wider range of health benefits – consider them “The Whole Package”, when setting nutrition goals!  Prunes are low in glycemic index and can promote satiety, between meals, making them a perfect snack option. The fibre in prunes has been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. California prunes are naturally sweet and one serving (5-6 prunes) has only 100 calories! Other things that I love about California prunes include their portability and versatility. They are the perfect ‘go anywhere’ snack.

I frequently encourage my clients to ‘think outside of the box’ when they are trying new foods.  This helps create new flavours and it keeps food interesting. Prunes are no exception to this- they are uniquely versatile and can be used in sweet and savory meals and snacks.  Prunes can be added to salads, blended into smoothies, or simmered into a rich BBQ sauce. They are an easy addition to homemade muffins and sweet breads, as well as a delicious flavour boost to your favourite trail mix.

So many of my clients come to me looking to optimize their nutrition and reduce their risk for chronic diseases, including osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer. One of the main ways I encourage people to improve the overall quality of their diet is to increase their intake and variety of fruit and vegetables.  Adding one serving of California prunes, to your daily routine is the perfect way to up your nutrition game and enjoy a great start to a healthy 2018!

Check out the recipes below and this link,  for more information and to incorporate prunes into your day.

California Prune Energy Balls– the perfect mid-day snack

INGREDIENTS

¾ cup (175 mL) almonds and walnuts mix

1 cup (250 mL) California prunes

¼ cup ( 50 mL) chia seeds

2 Tbsp. (30 mL) cocoa powder

2 Tbsp. (30 mL) smooth nut butter

coconut oil, to blend

1/3 cup (75 mL) desiccated coconut

DIRECTIONS

1. Place nuts in bowl of a food processor with knife blade and blitz for 10 seconds.

  1. Add California prunes, chia, cocoa and nut butter and blend well until smooth.
  2. Add a small amount of coconut oil, a few drops at a time, until the mixture is sticky, and holds its shape when you roll a small amount between your fingers.
  3. Take a tablespoon (15mL) of the mixture and roll into a ball. Continue creating balls until mixture is all gone.
  4. Place coconut onto a small plate and roll balls in the coconut, to coat.
  5. Place balls in an air-tight container in the fridge. They will keep for up to a week.

Overnight Oats with California prunes: pre-prep before you go to bed- wake up to a delicious, healthy and satisfying breakfast

INGREDIENTS 1 ½ cups (375 mL) quick-cook oats

1 ½ cups (375 mL) California prunes, chopped

2 ½ cups (625 mL) Almond milk, or milk of your choice

TOPPINGS OF YOUR CHOICE · seeds · nuts · berries, etc

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place oats in a large bowl and pour almond milk over top. Mix together, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight.
  2. In the morning, place mixture in a large saucepan over low heat. Add California prunes and cook for 10 minutes, adding more almond milk, if needed.
  3. Once cooked divide porridge into bowls and top with your choice of toppings and the leftover chopped prunes.

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