Before I was a dietitian, prunes only brought thoughts of my grandmother in her retirement home. Now, in my mind, prunes have many more redeeming factors including a delicious taste, fiber and antioxidants.
I don’t know if y’all have noticed the change in labeling for prunes. Back in 2000 a new movement was made to change the name to “dried plums.” I guess manufacturers assumed that a new name would help get younger folks to accept the fruit. I am not sure if it actually worked. In my mind no matter what it is called it still looks like a prune when you eat it. I think a social stigma still exists that keeps younger generations from pulling out their snack baggies full of prunes at the lunch table.
In a clinical setting, prunes make me think of keeping your GI tract moving. I have always assumed that it was the dietary fiber that helped prevent constipation. In fact, each dried prune only has 0.6g fiber. For a female to meet her recommended 25g of fiber each day, she would have to eat 42 prunes!! Let’s hope nobody tries to do that because prunes don’t just have fiber, they also have a natural laxative called dihydrophenylisatin.
In moderation, prunes can be wonderful snacks that can be beneficial for GI health. Below are a few of the prune products I found in my local grocery store. On the Sunsweet website I noticed that they have come out with 60 calorie packs of prunes. That would be a yummy sweet treat to pack with a lunch!
What is a food that you love that people might find strange?
Here is a recipe I came up with for Oatmeal Prune cookies. The nutmeg in this recipe gives these cookies a very Christmas time flavor. They would be perfect paired with a small glass of light egg nog. If you are not much for the “Fall” flavor of these cookies you can always omit the nutmeg and increase the cinnamon a bit. Enjoy!
Oatmeal Prune Cookies
½ cup Smart Balance Light, softened
2 tbsp canola oil
¼ cup low fat buttermilk
½ white sugar
½ cup Splenda
½ cup Splenda Brown Sugar Mix, packed, plus extra for dipping
½ cup egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 cups quick cooking oats
½ cup diced prunes
½ cup golden raisins
In a large bowl, cream together the Smart Balance, oil, buttermilk and sugars. Slowly add egg substitute and blend well. Stir in vanilla.
Sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, just until mixed. Slowly stir in oatmeal. Gently mix in the prunes and raisins.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put silicone baking mats on cookie sheets. Using a tablespoon, scoop out servings of dough and put them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Gently flatten each cookie with a fork dipped in the brown sugar.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are toasted brown. Allow cookies to cool 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.