Hot Topics     Home and Family     Health Guide    

Make mealtime easy



Simple ingredients are key

Make mealtime easy

Maintaining healthy habits and managing schedules for the entire family is often easier said than done. When you’re strapped for time, look for food and ingredients with versatility that allow you to balance nutrition with flavor.

Plan Ahead by Meal Prepping
Start by looking at recipes that highlight ingredients you have on hand. Meal prepping allows you to plan for a week of healthier choices and think creatively about using the same bulk ingredients in multiple ways – stretching your grocery budget while eliminating food waste.

Add Something Whole 
Adding fruit is a smart wellness strategy, but some options are better for you than others. One example without any added sugar is Sun-Maid Raisins – a whole-fruit, nutrient-dense option with 0 grams of added sugar per 1/4-cup serving. Easily added to savory and sweet dishes and snacks, raisins are reliably delicious.


“Raisins do a lot of favors for your body and help keep a body strong,” said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, president and CEO, Produce for Better Health Foundation. “The whole fruit contains fiber, vitamins and minerals, and they aid in digestion, too. Raisins also add flavor and can act as a better-for-you ingredient. Whole fruits like raisins are a fabulous addition to breakfast cereal, yogurt, salads, fancy party trays and trail mixes, and they are a convenient on-the-go snack that travels well.”

Swap Recipe Ingredients
Substituting ingredients for more nutrition and less sugar can transform your favorite dishes into healthier versions. Using lean protein in place of a higher fat alternative or switching traditional pasta for zucchini or squash noodles are two popular options for main dishes. You can also make better-for-you baked goods by replacing oil with an equal amount of applesauce in muffins and quick breads or half as much applesauce as oil in a recipe for a cake or cookies.

Practice Smart Snacking
Choosing snacks that are nutrient-dense and fulfilling can give your body the energy it needs between meals. As a result, you’ll be less tempted to nibble on empty calories or sit down for a meal feeling overly hungry, which makes it harder to practice portion control. Portable snacks like dried fruit and trail mix are good for an on-the-go pick-me-up.

Clean Out the Kitchen
Kids and grownups alike tend to gravitate toward what’s simple, tasty and accessible. As you get into routines, use a critical eye to take a look at the choices in your cupboards, pantry and fridge and see where you can make some changes. While an occasional treat is perfectly fine, filling your kitchen with healthy amounts of tasty and nutritious ingredients and snacks makes it easier to form healthier habits that will stick.

Find more inspiration for easy and tasty ways to improve your family’s nutrition at sunmaid.com.

Deliciously Good Dried Fruit

Traditional dried fruits like apricots, dates, figs, prunes and raisins are filled with nutrients and natural goodness. 

They are naturally low in sodium and have no saturated fat. Dried fruits also contribute to your daily intake of potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure.

Phytonutrients found in dried fruits help suppress the growth of oral bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease.

Not only do dried fruits help your digestive system by providing soluble and insoluble fiber, they also contain fructans that are considered prebiotics, which are believed to improve gut health.

Naturally fat- and cholesterol-free, a 1-ounce serving of dried fruit contains less than 100 calories.

Eating certain whole fruits, including raisins and other dried fruits, is also associated with a lower risk for Type 2 diabetes.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Simple tips for mindful eating

    How to incorporate foods your family loves

    Mindful eating doesn’t have to be restrictive and you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. read more »
  • Safe entertaining tips in a COVID-19 world

    Precautions to protect your physical health and your guests

    After an extended period without social contact, it’s only natural to crave some interaction, and there’s evidence that doing so can be advantageous for your mental health. However, taking precautions to protect your physical health, along with your guests’, can make for a more enjoyable event. read more »
  • Keeping pets safe in the garden

    hazards that can impact the well-being of your furry friends

    If you have pets that enjoy spending time outdoors, it’s important to make sure your yard is a safe place for them to be. read more »
  • How to raise kind and caring children

    3 tips from experts

    At some point, many parents will likely find themselves encouraging their children to “be kind” or “be friendly.” read more »
  • Safety tips for a safe 4th of July

    Celebrate safely and use extreme caution with fireworks and family gatherings

    The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) reminds New Yorkers to keep safe while celebrating Independence Day. As we celebrate this annual tradition with festivities ranging from fireworks, picnics, parades, family gatherings and barbecues, let’s also remember basic safety tips that apply to everyone. read more »
  • Weeklong FAIR Film Festival 2022

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) Hosts a Film Screening Plus Q&A

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) will kick off the FAIR Film Festival 2022 with an in-person screening of the documentary film I Am A Victor plus a selection of short films on Sunday, June 12 at 1:00pm EDT at Caveat on the lower east side in Manhattan. read more »
  • Keep kids learning during summer

    3 Fun, Easy Ways

    With school out, summertime brings long, carefree days of play and fun. With a little thought and a few supplies, summer is a perfect opportunity to revitalize their innate love of learning that may be a bit squashed after a year of academic pressures, tests and schedules. read more »
  • Take steps to support literacy

    8 ways to inspire children to read

    Reading is a foundation for learning, yet a vast gap exists in access to books for low-income neighborhoods. read more »
  • Sweeten up summer with a frozen, fruity snack

    Try these easy to make ice pops

    Heading to the freezer for a fruity ice pop can transport you from your own backyard to a tropical island, and the experience can be even more rewarding when the tasty treat is homemade. read more »
  • Clean. Drain. Dry. Every Time!

    Help keep invasive species out of our waters

    One of the most effective ways we can all help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species is by following proper procedures for cleaning, draining, and drying watercraft and equipment every time you leave the water. read more »