This year, Sunsweet is a Nutrition Supporter of World Osteoporosis Day on October 20th, to help promote nutrition for better bone health. Click here for more bone healthy lifestyle tips, recipes and more.
When you’re looking for a snack, it’s worth thinking about foods that can help support healthy bones. An estimated 54 million U.S. adults over the age of 50 are affected by osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that increases a person’s risk of fracture and breaks. And this isn’t just for mealtimes: There are plenty of on-the-go snacks that will keep your legs (and feet and arms and ribs) ready to be on-the-go too. In honor of World Osteoporosis Day, October 20, here are six bone-healthy snacks:
Mom was right that dairy makes strong bones, but not all dairy products are created equal. Even more than milk, yogurt is one to keep on your grocery list for the long haul. Research shows that eating more than four servings of yogurt each week is linked to greater bone-mineral density and protection against hip fractures—milk and cheese consumption just didn’t measure up in the same way But not even all yogurt is created the same. Look for a brand that is low in fat and sugar but high in vitamin D. And remember: While Greek yogurt is having a serious moment, it tends to contain a little less D than other types. Compare nutrition labels to find the right one for you.
Don’t turn your nose up quite yet: This salty snack will give you serious incentive to pucker up. Not only do sardines promote bone—just one can give you 25 percent of your daily intake of vitamin A, D, and E. They also have a great deal of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA which are found to lower cholesterol levels and boost heart health. To boot, sardines are rich in protein, so you’ll also feel more full than you would if you loaded up on a less-dense snack.
Love a good brunch? Good for you (and your bones). Eggs are one of the best sources of vitamin D, vitamin B12, and sulphur—all critical vitamins for bone health. When it comes to deciding whether or not to buy regular or Cage Free/Free Range, there’s even more incentive to opt for the latter. When raised humanely, eggs have more bone-building Omega-3 oils than eggs that come from chickens who can’t move move around in their cages. So boil, fry, scramble, or enjoy them over easy, but definitely get your fill of this superfood.
Dark, leafy greens
Everyone knows that it’s important it is to fill your plate up with veggies for every meal, but it’s not only because they’re low in calories and high in nutrients—surprisingly, they’re also jam-packed with calcium and vitamin D. You don’t need to be sitting down to dinner to take full advantage of the bone-boosting veggies. Grab a bag of dried kale chips, a jar of pickled okra, or a crunchy bell pepper to get your greens on the go.
Soybeans may have gotten a bad rep over the past decade or so, but there are as many studies that show they can prevent cancer as those which state soy promotes cancer. Thanks to high levels of calcium, magnesium and boron, soybeans can also significantly reduce your risk of a bone fracture by 35–37 percent, especially if you’re postmenopausal. Additionally, new research suggests that the plant-based chemicals in soy called isoflavones actually strengthen your bones. So go ahead and enjoy that edamame appetizer—just stick to the recommended serving suggestion of three cups a week!
One Florida State University study deemed prunes to be “the most effective fruit in both preventing and reversing bone loss.” And while figs, dates, strawberries and raisins can also work wonders for your bones, prunes offer the best boost. How many should you be eating on a daily basis? In their most recent work, the authors of the FSU study recommend aiming for 5 to 6.
Remember, bone health isn’t just important for the elderly! You might be young and hip now, but remember how those hips will feel after carrying your body for a half century. So whether you’re cooking at home or headed out to your favorite restaurant, incorporate these foods that nourish and strengthen your bones. Your body will thank you now and in the long run.
Still hungry for more? Here are some stellar snack recipes to keep bones healthy:
3-Ingredient Prune Cookies
These cookies naturally satisfy your sweet tooth and are packed with fiber, protein and good fats. Makes 12 cookies.
- 16 Sunsweet prunes
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) In a food processor, pulse Sunsweet prunes and hot water until smooth. Pulse in oats and walnuts until a sticky dough forms.
3) Roll dough into 12 balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4) Bake for 15 minutes. Immediately after removing from the oven, tap each of them down with a glass to form a cookie shape and let cool.
Nutrition (2 cookies): 140 calories, 4.5g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 10g sugar, 3g protein, 4% vitamin A, 2% calcium, 0% vitamin C, 6% iron
Peanut Butter & Prune Jam Sandwich
This is a healthy take on the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- 1 tablespoon prune jam (recipe below)
- 1/2 tablespoon natural peanut butter
- 1 slice sprouted whole grain bread, halved
1) Make prune jam (recipe below).
2) Spread peanut butter and jam onto bread halves, put halves together and cut in half again to make 2 mini-sandwich squares.
Nutrition (2 mini-sandwich squares): 160 calories, 4.5g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 125mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, 6g protein, 2% vitamin A, 0% calcium, 0% vitamin C, 6% iron
Prune Chia Jam
- 16 Sunsweet prunes
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
1) In a food processor, pulse Sunsweet prunes, water, vanilla and salt until semi-smooth. Optional: Stir in chia seeds.
2) Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Makes 12 tablespoons.
Nutrition (1 tablespoon jam): 30 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 20mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 5g sugar, 0g protein, 2% vitamin A, 0% calcium, 0% vitamin C, 0% iron
Prune Protein Plate
This prune protein plate is a well-balanced snack that packs a protein punch.
- 3 Sunsweet prunes, halved
- 3 brown rice crackers
- 1/2 ounce brie cheese
- 14 pistachios (with or without shell)
Place all the ingredients on a pretty plate to enjoy as stacked sandwiches or piece by piece.
Nutrition (1 plate): 180 calories, 8g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 15mg cholesterol, 105mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 12g sugar, 6g protein, 6% vitamin A, 4% calcium, 2% vitamin C, 4% iron
Creamy Vanilla Prune Popsicle
These frozen treats are delicious and contain the bone strengthening duo: prunes + yogurt. Makes 6 popsicles.
- 10 Sunsweet prunes
- 4 tablespoons hot water
- 2 cups 2% plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1) In a food processor, puree Sunsweet prunes and hot water until smooth. Add in yogurt, honey, vanilla and pulse until combined.
2) Spoon mixture evenly into 6 popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.
Optional: Add a layer of granola in the middle of each popsicle.
Nutrition (1 pop): 100 calories, 1.5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 25mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 12g sugar, 7g protein, 4% vitamin A, 6% calcium, 0% vitamin C, 0% iron
This parfait is a naturally sweet & creamy treat. Plus it contains the bone strengthening duo: prunes + yogurt.
- 1/2 cup 2 percent plain Greek yogurt
- 3 Sunsweet prunes, quartered
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
1) Put yogurt into a small dish and top with Sunsweet prunes and coconut.
2) Drizzle with honey.
Nutrition (1 parfait): 180 calories, 5g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 18g sugar, 10g protein, 6% vitamin A, 8% calcium, 0% vitamin C, 2% iron
Written by Jenn Sinrich for Sunsweet
In partnership with Sunsweet
Sunsweet Growers Inc., based in Yuba City, Calif is owned by our 270 grower members, and the worldwide leader in prunes. Try Sunsweet Amaz!n Prunes, Individually Wrapped Ones, Diced Prunes or even PlumSweet Dark Chocolate Prunes, all delicious snacking choices that fit today’s need for convenient foods that support a healthy lifestyle. This year, Sunsweet is a Nutrition Supporter of World Osteoporosis Day on October 20th, to help promote nutrition for better bone health. For additional information and access to bone healthy lifestyle tips, recipes and more, please visit: http://sunsweetworldosteoporosisday.com/#Wanderlust. Help spread the word about better bone health and get involved.