White sugar is not healthy, we know that. Not only is it bad for our teeth and can make us overweight, but it also raises our cholesterol and increases the risk for getting cancer. Plus, it’s highly addictive… Sigh! If you love sweets it is not easy to eliminate white sugar and to cut down on other varieties of it.
For example, I find it very hard to limit fruit sugars. During summer I adore having heaps of fresh strawberries for lunch and another peak fruit experience I long for is when the dark, juicy cherries arrive on the market. In August, I eagerly await the succulent plums, and when fig season is at its peak in Southern Europe, I’m right off to Fruit Paradise…
During winter and spring I mainly eat apples and citrus fruits (if sourced in Europe). That’s also the time when I indulge in dried fruit. Dried figs, mango, dates, apricots, pineapple – you name it. They’re so chewy, sweet, tasty, and you can make lots of great desserts with them: banana bread and energy balls, only to mention two. When it comes to quality, I choose organic and always check on the packaging that no sugar or preservatives have been added.
Dried fruit may have lost some vitamins in the process of drying, but they are still great sources of fibres, minerals and enzymes. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of what they contain (bold for a stronger presence):
Vitamin A, C, calcium, potassium and iron
Antioxidants, iron and potassium
High in vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and foliate.
Vitamins A, C and E. They also contain omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, good for healthy skin and the immune system.
Vitamins A, B1, C, and K. Iron, potassium and a mineral called boron, which is good
for your bones.
Snacking on dried fruit definitely is better than reaching for chocolate, crisps or (overly) salted peanuts. However, since they’re rich in fruit sugar you still need to watch out on the amount you consume.
For outdoor sports enthusiasts dried fruit is perfect to bring along in your backpack: it’s lightweight, high quality energy and a healthy and delicious little treat easily accessible.