Assisted by Nicholls State University Dietetic Interns
Sweeten up your favorite dishes with more fiber and nutrition by adding dried fruits. Dried fruits include not only raisins and dates, but also mango, pineapples, berries, and more. Dried fruit have an extended shelf life well past the average fresh fruit. They are perfect to keep on hand to add that extra pack of punch to any kitchen creation. No doubt that it has become popular to add dates to smoothies instead of sugar, but if you are looking for other ways to add a serving of fruit with dried fruit, they can also be added to baking, breakfast, salads, and your favorite snacks.
Baking with Dried Fruit
Bread is probably the most versatile item to bake with dried fruits. You can add raisins, dried cranberries, figs, apricots, and apples to any bread recipe to make it your own.
Granola is typically made with healthy whole grains, nuts, and brown sugar. However, adding dried fruits to the granola can add the right amount of sweetness without the extra added sugars.
Scones are a buttery, crumbly, and flaky treat that can be filled with dried cranberries, cherries, strawberries, or a mixture.
Cookies can be dressed up with dried fruit. Adding dried apples, cranberries, and apricots will boast a fall flavor to a traditional cookie.
Muffins are a popular breakfast food item that can be personalized with dried fruit. Dried cranberries, apples, blueberries, bananas, or cherries can be added to your muffin mix to make the perfect breakfast.
Incorporating dried fruits into breakfast foods is a good way to pack a punch of minerals, protein, fiber, and vitamins to start the day. There are several different ways to include dried fruits into breakfast to make a nutritious and delicious meal.
Oatmeal is a classic breakfast food that has lots of nutrition packed in already. However, to mix it up try adding raisins, dates, craisins, or even dried blueberries! These toppings will bring a new and exciting flavor to the dish while also adding lots of fiber and other nutrients. Adding honey and/or cinnamon to top it off is sure to create a crowd-pleaser.
Granola bars are a simple and quick breakfast alternative. Using freeze-dried strawberries and dried banana chips puts a fun twist on the typical granola bar.
Dried fruits are a great, energy-dense option for sweetening up salads. It shares many nutritional benefits that whole fruits do; such as key vitamins and minerals. But did you know dried fruit contains more antioxidants and fiber than whole fruits per ounce? You can really get creative with using all types of dried fruits to salad — no rules apply!
Here are a few ideas for adding dried fruit to a salad:
- Dried cranberries to a chicken salad
- Dried fig and walnut salad with apples and goat cheese
- Raisins or dried blueberries in a broccoli salad
- Quinoa and spinach salad with dried apricots
- Kale salad with almonds, dates, and parmesan cheese
Grab a Snack
Everyone loves a quick and easy snack that will be both nutritious and satisfying. The most convenient aspect of dried fruit is that it is a snack that takes little preparation and is an easy grab-and-go option.
Homemade Dried Fruit: Did you know that you can make your own dried fruit? If your fruit is going bad you can slice them up and pop them into the oven for a delicious snack.
Trail Mix: You can make homemade trail mix that includes items such as your favorite mix of dried fruit, nuts, cereal, and popcorn. Perfect item for busy moms and families to pack for sports events, road trips, and afterschool snacks.
Homemade Energy Bites: Combining nut butter, oats, and dried fruit can be a great way to create an energy bite.