Prune it for kids – healthy, natural, quality snacking

With childhood obesity on the rise and excessive sugar intake amongst UK children being targeted by Public Health England (PHE) to help address this by encouraging parents to “Look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max” to help their children eat more healthily, the Prune It for Kids campaign from California prunes could not be more timely.

Hala El-Shafie.

The new initiative, designed to help parents appreciate the widespread health and nutritional benefits of a diet which includes California prunes, is fronted by two of California prunes’ Brand Ambassadors – TV chef, author and founder of Simply Good Food TV, Peter Sidwell (himself a father of two young children) and Hala El-Shafie, Consultant Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian and member of the British Dietetic Association, renowned for her nutritional expertise on a number of high profile TV programmes, including ITV1’s Sugar Free Farm, BBC1’s flagship show Eat Well for Less, Channel 4’s How to Lose Weight Well.

Prune It for Kids was officially launched at a recent consumer media event, held at the Good Housekeeping Institute in London and featuring longstanding California prunes Brand Ambassador, celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager. Attending journalists and bloggers watched Rosemary and Peter cooking together to produce a selection of delicious new Prune It for Kids recipes, while a nutritional / health commentary was provided by Hala El-Shafie.

Prune It for Kids messaging includes showing parents how California prunes can be used to create an appetizing, natural – as opposed to processed or packaged – snack, well in line with the 100 kcal recommendations put forward by Public Health England.

“Eating natural, unprocessed foods, which offer sound nutritional benefits, AND which can easily be incorporated to help reduce excessive added sugar and fat in the diet is a more important lesson to teach to children than counting calories” commented Hala El-Shafie.

California prunes represent a useful healthy snack for children and eating between 5 and 9 California prunes (a handful, depending on the California prune size) equates to less than 100 kcal, or a 30g portion is only 65 kcal, way below the PHE cutoff of 100 kcal. California prunes can also be added to a variety of tasty recipes to successfully replace some of the added sugar and fat, thus helping to fight the war on childhood obesity.

California prunes represent a real nutritional powerhouse, as they are packed with fibre, a great source of vitamin K and a source of manganese, two nutrients that support the maintenance of normal bones, which is a key consideration for growing children. A 30g serving represents one of the recommended 5-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables.

California prunes continues to invest heavily in scientific research to underpin the credible health appeal of California prunes, which are the ONLY natural whole fruit to achieve an authorised health claim in Europe. Eating 100g (roughly 8-12 prunes) daily contributes to normal bowel function. Moving consumers towards a more natural, nutritional route to work towards normal bowel health as part of a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to seeking out alternative methods to deal with constipation problems, is an important additional campaign message.

Commenting on the initiative, Esther Ritson-Elliott, European Marketing Director for the California Prune Board, says: “We absolutely welcome any advice, that encourages parents to be more mindful of their children’s eating habits and which acknowledges the need to reduce the amount of added sugar and fat that children are consuming.

Our Prune It campaign was first launched in 2016 to provide guidance on how California prunes can be successfully used to naturally reduce the fat and added sugar content of a variety of recipes (and therefore reducing the calories) – with zero compromise on taste, while at the same time delivering essential nutrients and proven health benefits. The Prune It for Kids programme is a natural progression of this and we are hopeful that given the current PHE focus on healthy snacking, it will be well received. Peter has created some exciting recipes which children will love sampling and which are also simple to follow allowing young people to join their parents in the kitchen to begin honing their cooking skills. We have already undertaken a series of radio interviews with Peter Sidwell and Hala El-Shafie and were delighted with the response from this sector of the media, which allowed us to be heard by an audience with a weekly reach of 4.5 million.”