Next time you're craving a Fruit Roll-Up...
Dried fruit snacks are pretty much the adult version of Fruit Roll-Ups and Gushers—and (shocking, I know) they're typically way healthier than those tongue-staining blue raspberry snacks of childhood.
“Dried fruit can help you meet your fiber needs—and it also provides a source of complex carbs,” says nutritionist Jessica Cording, RD, author of The Little Book of Game-Changers.
Dietitian Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet, agrees: “Like fresh fruit, dried fruit provides plenty of vitamins and minerals." It's just, you know, dried. (Some snacks are freeze-dried, some are dried in a dehydrator machine, and others are even dried in the sun.)
But, like anything, dried fruit isn’t perfect. “Since dried fruit is condensed and its water is removed, you typically eat more of it and may consume many more calories than you realize,” Gans says. The average portion size of dried fruit snacks is just about a quarter of a cup, which doesn't look like much because, well, it's not.
Going overboard isn't the only trap you can fall into with this stuff. Some companies add sugar and preservatives to make their dried fruit even sweeter and shelf-stable, Cording says. (People with sulfite sensitivities should look out for the preservative sulfur dioxide on ingredient lists.)
Though you can totally enjoy dried fruit snacks on their own, Cording recommends pairing them with protein and fat (like yogurt or nuts) to make them more satisfying—and to keep your blood sugar more stable.
The next time you get a hankering for the sweet fruit snacks of yesteryear, these healthy dried fruit snacks are nutritionist-approved and totally do the job (minus the blue tongue, of course).
Life's Grape Classic Vine-Dried Grapes
Life Grape's vine-dried grapes are essentially raisins, but without the added sugar that comes with many varieties. They're also non-GMO, sulfur-free, and preservative-free.
Cording loves them on top of salads, grain dishes, breads, and baked goods.
Per serving: 80 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 1 g protein