Fruit is nature's dessert! That includes dried fruit. It is an important part of a balanced diet and is portable, for snacks on the go. It has a great shelf-life, so you can always have dried fruit on hand. Dried fruit has more fiber and disease-preventing phenols than fresh fruit per ounce. Fiber and diets rich in plant phenols can fight heart disease, obesity, diabetes and some types of cancer.
The portion size of dried fruit is smaller than fresh fruit because it is dehydrated. A serving of dried fruit is 2 Tbsp. It could be easy to eat more than you intend if you are not mindful of your portions. Fruits have a natural sweetness, but some have added sugars. Look for the dried fruits without added sugars, when possible.
Common dried fruit choices
There are so many great dried fruits to choose from: blueberries, mangos, bananas, apples, strawberries, dates and pineapple, apricots, cherries, kiwi… the most common are dried grapes and cranberries, known as raisins and craisins.
Include dried fruit with these ideas to add color, flavor and boost the nutrition:
- Mix dried fruit with roasted nuts for a great snack.
- Add dried fruits to salads
- Include small boxed dried fruit into lunches.
- Add dried fruit to oatmeal or other cooked hot cereals.
- Substitute dried fruit for chocolate in cookies.
- Add dried fruit to homemade muffins.
- Make a trail mix with dried cereal, roasted nuts and dried fruit.
- Add dried fruit to bread dough.
- Add to a sandwich for variety.
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