Healthy On-The-Go Snacks

If you are trying to save some cash by not eating out as often, or you didn’t have time to prep some snacks at home, you can always turn to some good ol' dried fruit and nuts! First, let's talk about dried fruit.

Did You Know

  • Dried fruit and fresh fruit contain many of the same health benefits although they differ slightly in vitamin and mineral content.
  • Both dried and fresh fruit contain antioxidants and fiber
  • An example of 1 serving of fruit when fresh, is 1 apple. When dry, only a ¼ cup. Similar in calories, comparable sugar content and a reasonably close nutritional profile.

Dehydration Process
If you dry an apple in the sun, it's largely going to have the same amount of sugar in it, no question there! So because the water volume is now almost non-existent and the apple is obviously much smaller, you can now fit a few more dry chunks in your palm. But be CAREFUL: this is why the suggested serving of dried fruit is smaller than fresh produce, typically a quarter the serving.
In the case of apples, 1 serving of fruit is either a ¼ cup of dried apple, or 1 whole fresh apple.

Dried Fruit Still Has Minerals!
The evaporation of fruit during food processing will take some of the nutritional benefits out, this is for sure. This means that in the serving of dried apple (i.e., the 1/4 cup), the calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus is less as well. Yes, this makes fresh fruit a more nutritiously sound choice, but as an on-the-go snack, dried fruit will do just fine.

Slight Loss of Vitamins
Since temperature is key in the process of drying out the fruit, it is inevitable that some fruit will lose vitamins such as vitamin C, the B vitamins (thiamine and folate), and vitamin A, as they become unstable at higher temperatures.

Dried Fruit Samples

  • Figs cure constipation as they are a good source of fibre.
  • Dates for a healthy heart: Containing plant-based iron this dried fruit helps prevent anemia. Also, eating 100 mg of dates provides about 650 mg of potassium, which further lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Raisins for weight loss. These dry fruits promote satiety by regulating the hormones that cause hunger thereby cutting down on your caloric intake. Just be careful not to eat too many in a sitting, as they are high in sugar.
  • Apricots are rich in many plant antioxidants and protect against inflammation.
  • Goji berries are an awesome super food. Read more here

Dried fruit to avoid 

It's best to stay away from moist or glossy dried fruit, as it may indicate use of sulfur and preservatives to keep the food appealing in a package. Also avoid sugar-coated dried fruit as it will add to your sugar intake, and often refined sugar is used, which is never a good thing.

 

 

Dried Fruits Pair Great With... Nuts and Seeds!

  • Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.
  • Pistachios have many health benefits which include promoting a healthy heart, weight management, protection against diabetes and hypertension, and improved digestion.They are also packed with good fats, fibre, potassium and antioxidants.
  • Walnuts may help reduce not only the risk of prostate cancer, but breast cancer as well. They contain the plant-based omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is anti-inflammatory and may prevent the formation of pathological blood clots. For men, a health study claims that eating 75 grams walnuts per day boosts your sperm quality, motility and vitality. Eating just 4 walnuts a day supports healthful cholesterol levels.
  • Pumpkin Seeds offer a wide variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein and zinc, these seeds are are nutritional powerhouses containing plant compounds known as phytosterols. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s.

The Bottom Line

If you are running short on time, stuck in traffic, or on the go with too many errands and you don't have time for a proper meal, dried fruits and nuts are an excellent option; better than a bag of chips or crackers, or a coffee shop pastry, and your body will thank you! 

Just please be careful to portion them out in these instances and eat only a small amount at a time, as moderation is the golden rule for most things in life. :-)

Sources

http://www.thehealthsite.com/photo-gallery/diseases-conditions/dry-fruits-and-nuts-you-must-eat-everyday-b815/

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/dried-fruit-nutritious-fresh-fruit-7614.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=3

http://www.livestrong.com/article/231523-health-benefits-of-dried-fruit/

https://authoritynutrition.com/dried-fruit-good-or-bad/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/30/pumpkin-seed-benefits.aspx