Volume 22 • August 2012  
 
 
 
 
There’s nothing more important than knowing that your family is both happy, and healthy. Unfortunately, today’s busy and increasingly sedentary lifestyle, coupled with the prevalence of foods high in sugar, fat, and calories, has more families than ever faced with health concerns from the foods they eat.
 
The good news is that these health concerns can be reduced by making even small changes in activity— and a healthier diet. What’s more, contrary to popular belief, nutritious foods needn’t be bland or boring, or take long to prepare. With just a few simple steps you can deliver great-tasting, yet healthy meals your family will love. Here are a couple of simple tips to get you started:
 
 
 
Eliminate the 5:00 o’clock “what’s for dinner?” rush. A little bit of planning goes a long way; the few minutes it takes to create a weekly meal plan ultimately will save you both time and money.
 
Get your family involved. Including your family in the process is the first step towards success. Family members of all ages can be enlisted to select recipes or request favorite dishes, make grocery lists, shop, and even help prepare meals—kids love to cook!
 
Develop a routine. Sit down and plan meals for a week in advance while simultaneously creating a shopping list. Consider a rotating schedule, such as meatless Mondays, leftovers each Wednesday, or (healthy) pizza every Friday. Designate one day a week to try new healthy recipes.
 
Plan for leftovers. Cook once and eat twice (or more). Double recipes for stews, chilies, and pasta to ensure leftovers for another night or lunch the next day. Leftover meats or chicken along with plain starches like rice, pasta, or potatoes make great starter ingredients for quick-fix new meals.
 
Most foods can fit into a healthy diet occasionally, but those that offer little more than sugar, fat, or excess calories are best left off the shopping list or substituted with healthier options.
 
Curb beverages with added sugar. Soft drinks are the number one contributor of added sugar to the American diet. Encourage water consumption (water bottles can help) and stock the fridge with low-fat or non-fat milk and 100% or reduced-calorie fruit juices.
 
Switch out chips high in fat and sodium for light popcorn, whole grain crackers, pretzels or reduced-fat tortilla chips and salsa. Let kids help prepare low-fat ranch dip and plates of crunchy vegetables and watch them disappear. Keep fresh fruit in easy reach.
 
Satisfy the family’s sweet tooth with less added sugar by serving fresh or dried fruit like apricots, dates and prunes or try baking your own desserts with less sugar, and stocking the freezer with 100% fruit popsicles. Or, whip up a batch of sugar-free pudding made with 1% milk and top it with light whipped topping for a lo-cal treat.
 
INGRIEDIENTS
2 cups (about 12 ounces) diced cooked turkey or chicken
3/4 cup (about 5 ounces) Sunsweet® Pitted Prunes, quartered
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tsp sweet-hot mustard
3 whole-wheat pita breads, halved
2 lettuce leaves
 
INSTRUCTIONS
In medium bowl, combine turkey, dried plums, celery, yogurt, green onions and mustard until thoroughly mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days. To serve, place 1 lettuce leaf and spoon 1/2 cup turkey mixture into each pita pocket.
Makes: 6 servings
Source: California Dried Plum Board
 
INGRIEDIENTS
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 green apple, peeled, cored and
thinly sliced
2 Tbsp butter
1 (14 to 16 oz) ball refrigerated pizza dough
or 3 small prepared pizza crusts
8 oz brie, sliced
1/2 cup Sunsweet Plum Amazins
Chopped fresh thyme
 
INSTRUCTIONS
Sauté onion and apple in butter over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until very soft; stirring occasionally. Preheat oven to 450°F. Roll pizza dough into 3 thin crusts, about 1/4 inch thick. Place on 2 parchment covered baking sheets and top with equal amounts of dried plums, cheese, and onion mixture. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Cut into small wedges and sprinkle with thyme.
Makes 8 appetizer servings.
Tip: Tucking the dried plums under the cheese help to keep them moist.
 
Eating healthy snacks on the go can be a challenge sometimes. But it’s a lot easier when the healthy snacks are delicious and can easily be tossed into backpacks, purses or lunch boxes. Try our Sunsweet Ones, delicious, succulent individually wrapped prunes or our perfectly sized 60 calorie packs of Prunes.
 
 
Click here for coupons to save on Sunsweet prunes, juices, and specialty fruits!
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