Waking Up With Sunsweet.

Hello friends!  Here with a fun food post for you today on one of my favorite topics (and meals) – BREAKFAST.  While dinner always feels like a stressful hassle, breakfast still holds all the hope and promise of a new day.  It also involves hot coffee!

Breakfast is a really important meal in our house, because we are all up and out the door really early these days.  For me personally, I feel like breakfast and eating right is especially important while pregnant.  It’s the best way to curb my (continued) morning nausea, and it helps set the tone of my day toward being healthy and mindful.  The kids both have school most days, so I’m also always looking to get a big dose of hearty nutrition into their bellies before they head out the door.  Hungry kids = grumpy kids.

Last fall I was lucky enough to spend 24 hours in San Francisco with the team from Sunsweet, learning all the details of the many dried fruits they produce – most notably, prunes!  I know prunes aren’t glamorous, but man are they nutritious.  And ever since then I’ve been making a conscious effort to make some swaps in our house so that everyone in our family is getting a daily dose of prunes in their diet.  I always knew that prunes had digestive benefits, but beyond that I had no idea just how important they are for bone health.

Research suggests that eating 5-6 prunes each day may help to prevent bone loss.  Also, compared to other dried fruits, prunes are lower in sugar and have a low glycemic index of only 29.  This means they are digested and absorbed slowly by the body, which helps to sustain energy over a longer period of time compared to foods with a higher glycemic index.

One of the best ways I’ve found to add prunes to our daily meals is with breakfast!  Here are some of our favorite go-to breakfasts these days:

Breakfast Smoothie

Smoothies are not a new trend by any means, but they are a great way to pack a lot of nutrition into a quick meal.  So often I see smoothie recipes that are sweetened with dates, and that’s been a go-to sweetener for me for many years as well.  Dates are super delicious, but you know what else is too?  Prunes!

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Here is a delicious breakfast smoothie combo that we make often:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 scoops protein powder (of your choice!)
  • 5 whole Sunsweet Amaz!n prunes
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 2-3 cups almond or coconut milk

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Also, can we talk about how Graham basically became a brunette overnight?  SOB.  Prunes are a really yummy and also very subtle way to sweeten a smoothie.  Another alternative is using prune juice as the smoothie liquid instead of milk, but I personally prefer the whole fruits for texture and fiber!

Hearty Oatmeal

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No surprise here, as I’ve written for years about oatmeal being a staple breakfast in this house.  You all know my fondness for my rice cooker, and we set it up with steel cut oats almost every night.  I always joke that Cullen’s body is made up of 80% oatmeal!  For many years, we’ve always topped our oatmeal with raisins for sweetness, but after learning about the benefits of prunes I decided to swap them out.  These days I use the Sunsweet diced Amaz!n prunes sprinkled on top of the oatmeal, and they are a perfect substitute for higher-sugar raisins.  Cullen actually prefers them now!  Some of our favorite oatmeal toppings include:

  • chia and hemp seeds
  • diced Amaz!n prunes
  • pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • scoop of sunbutter

Now that the kids are in school for longer days – especially Cullen in Kindergarten – I really try to focus on getting them hearty, filling breakfasts in the morning.  I know if they are eating a bowl of cereal or toast they are going to be starving by 10am.  My other oatmeal trick is to sometimes sneak an egg or two in – I crack and stir it in in the last few minutes, and heat until it cooks completely through.  The kids can’t tell at all, and I like the protein and fat boost to round out the meal!

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Naturally Sweetened Baked Goods

We don’t do a ton of baking in our house because I have zero self-control.  If I bake it, I will eat it, that’s a given.  So when I do bake, I try to be really mindful of how much sugar, etc. we are using, knowing darn well that I will likely eat at least twelve of anything that comes out of our oven.  We do occasionally like to make breakfast breads or treats, especially during this rainy and gloomy season.  And a lot of our favorite recipes  include things like dried cranberries or golden raisins as the sweet component.  An even swap of diced Sunsweet prunes for other fruits provides that same sweetness without all the extra sugar.

Here are some of our favorite breakfast baked goods that would all be super tasty with some diced prunes swapped in for the other dried fruits:

Also, did I mention that I recently discovered that our favorite Sunsweet prunes are available in a giant bag at COSTCO now?  Major score  — this is a pantry staple for us now!

So that’s what we are eating with the sunrise these days! What is your reason for eating right? Share with me using #IEatRightBecause and #Sweepstakes for a chance at prizes from Sunsweet now through 3/31/18.  Thanks to Sunsweet for the delicious prunes and breakfast inspiration!

I’ll be back next week with another pregnancy update, and a fun post about my transition to taking over our family business!  Have a great weekend!

Thanks to Sunsweet for the continued partnership this year!