National Raisin Week: Celebrating Nature's Candy!by Michelle Karam
If ever there was a fruit that I didn’t mind eating in it’s humiliated form, it would have to be grapes. Golden brown, sweet and chewy raisins are truly a unique thing. And being that this week is National Raisin Week... I think it’s only fair that we place the spotlight on these wonderful little gems!
As we all know, raisins are the dried form of grapes, either green or black. I say that these little fruits are gems because their health value is not to be compared with many other in its category - nature’s candy.
Health Benefits of Raisins
Vitamins: First of all raisins are filled to the brim with Vitamin A, which is excellent for your eyes. It protects the eyes - especially in adults, it protects against age-related eye weakness - and it helps to keep them strong! They also have Folate, Vitamin C & K which is great for blood circulation.
Fiber: Got a little one that’s constipated? Give him or her a handful of sweet raisins; it'll help relieve them in no time! Regular intake of raisins will help in maintaining a healthy and regular gastrointestinal tract... In other words, you’ll poop easily.
Energy: Looking for a good source of natural energy? Forget those crazy sugar filled drinks. Your body easily absorbs the sugars from raisins and it will give a boost in no time - energy that will last too!
Healthy Bones: Raisins are especially beneficial for little ones as they are growing as they are full of calcium. Calcium is wonderful for bones and teeth health. Women who have early signs of osteoporosis or are postmenopausal should also consume them as the calcium and boron aid in prevention.
As if all of that alone wasn’t enough, these tiny wrinkly treats have Zinc, Copper, Fluoride, Potassium, Niacin, Riboflavin and Magnesium in them! Hello! Antioxidants, healthy nervous systems - brain food!!! Cholesterol fighters, prevention of water retention - SUPER RAISIN SNACKS!
Here are some of my families favorite raisin snacks:
We all know her - she's that sweet looking lady in the red bonnet holding a basket full of green grapes with a big yellow sun behind her. The Sun-Maid lady. I know that there are other brands out there, but I'm pretty loyal to Sun-maid. Their little red boxes are instantly recognizable and I throw one of them in my kids' lunch box at least a few times a week. A single one covers at least one fruit serving for the day, and while I know that it’s recommended to get them to eat between 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies a day - yeah, you try that realistically! This helps a bunch!
LOVE THIS in our house! Absolutely the best for French toast any day! It’s filled with raisins and cinnamon (my fave combo!) and the kids don’t even realize that they’re eating raisins because it’s super sweet! Try letting them sit in the egg and milk mixture for a few minutes to really get it soft and then pan fry in a bit of butter, top with powdered sugar or syrup. YUM!!!
Vanilla Yogurt Raisins
We go on picnics or to the park quite often with the kids on the weekends and they just love it when I make Yogurt Raisin & Grape Kebobs. I alternate a few of the Yogurt Raisins with green and red grapes. You could do this with just about any fruit I suppose, but it adds a little bit more sweetness, the natural way and gives them extra vitamins!
Let’s not forget the all important CHOCOLATE COVERED RAISINS! I can eat a handful of those just about any time! They make an excellent topping for ice cream! Chop them up and they are chocolatey, chewy and sweet!
So, the next time your kids come and ask you for a handful of M&M’s, hand them a box of raisins instead!