Today we’re going to talk about some of my new favorite snacks. I’ve been adventurous lately and trying new things at the grocery store, which is keeping me from the dreaded food rut. I needed something new to add to my arsenal of snacks to get me through today, and these Mediterranean staples have been helping me get by. Please welcome raisin, fig, prune, and date from the dried fruit family.
Dried fruits have been around since the BC era, and people love eating them because they are easy to transport, don’t drip/rot/bruise/, and have amazing health benefits. Despite their sweetness, studies have shown dried fruits don’t have a negative effect on people’s blood sugar levels, because the amount of fiber in each delicious bite slows down the amount the sugar being released. (Source) Plus, fiber keeps you fuller longer, which means less mindless snacking throughout the afternoon. We’ve all heard the seductive call of the vending machine, right?And for someone like me (who has embarrassing oral hygiene) the sticky properties of dried fruits aren’t actually going to give you cavities. In fact, dried fruits can actually increase the health of your mouth. Recent studies show that “Bioactive compounds found in raisins and dried plums appear to have antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.” Looks like an extra handful for me! (Source)
My favorites are raisins. They aren’t as sexy as pomegranates or blueberries, but raisins are actually antioxidant rich and have a long shelf life. They are extremely economical and are a great addition to cereals, homemade GORP, oatmeal, and granola. They are known to lower bad cholesterol and your chance of getting heart disease. I’m personally a fan of the Golden Raisin because they are a bit juicier.
I’ve also been test driving (test chewing?) some dates. I’ve used them before in cooking—they are one of the few ingredients needed to make a mean raw chocolate mousse—but hadn’t eaten them much on their own. Just three gives me the sugar fix I need with healthy doses of B-Vitamins and iron. Apparently, they are great for inebriated folks, so smuggle some into your purse or backpack before your night out.
But before you go shopping crazy, there are some caveats to the dried food world. Fruits like cranberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and even mangoes can be found in a delicious, dried variety. However, companies generally add sweeteners as well. Even more tasty is papaya and pineapples, but those are almost always candied. These are totally okay every now and then, but aren’t healthy in the long run. Instead just buy these fruits in their natural form, which are just as amazing.
Peel Away ❤