Our primary focus as parents is to get our children eating the good stuff – encouraging them to eat enough fruit and vegetables to thrive and grow into happy and healthy adults. But packing a fresh piece of fruit for a road trip, hike, or even just heading off to school is not always a great idea. When you’re on the go, fresh fruit can quickly become a sticky, soggy, smelly mess.
All is not lost, though. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t require refrigeration and is nutritious and easily transportable, grab some dried fruit, one of the healthiest snacks possible when you need loads of nutrients in a small package.
Dried fruits are a powerhouse of nutrition, as they are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, and dietary fibre. But what about all that sugar? Well, there’s no denying that dried fruit contains sugar, but it’s densely packed because the water has been removed. As a result, dried fruit contains no more sugar than the piece of fruit it is derived from. Like everything in life, you just need to eat it in moderation.
Dried fruit has, quite rightly, had a bad rap in the past, with dubious ingredients such as sodium bisulfite preservative, locust bean gum and dried corn syrup. But, just like humans, dried fruit has evolved and is now being produced by companies that are more knowledgeable and self-aware, creating products packed with pure ingredients. Nowadays, what you see is what you get!
That’s why dried fruit has become so popular with so many people, from athletes who want to keep their energy levels high through to kids who want to enjoy a healthy snack at school. Moreover, thirty grams of dried fruit is considered to be one of your ‘five a day’, and an excellent healthy alternative to heavily processed snack foods like crisps and pretzels, which are high in refined carbohydrates and are almost devoid of nutrients.
So now that you know the many benefits of dried fruit, be sure to incorporate it into your diet. Yes, these foods contain sugar, but they’re healthier than ice cream, confectionery or milk chocolate, and are perfect for a boost in the morning, after exercise or between meals.
TNF Apple and Strawberry Fruit Bars, for example, consist of 89% apple puree and 11% strawberry puree. Indeed, with the apple puree made from apples grown in the Nelson region of New Zealand, TNF bars are not made from concentrate, but from whole apple pulp, meaning that there is more fibre than a fruit snack that uses fruit juice concentrate.
The apple base is then blended with another real fruit pulp (strawberry, raspberry, apricot), poured into trays and slowly air-dried at 65o – 75o C. This preserves the natural taste and texture of the fruit, allowing the fibre and nutrients to be retained.
Fruits are nutritious in any form, but none are so convenient as dried fruits – they’re ready when you are!