Couple sitting and eating prunes after a work out

Fueling Summer Activities with the Goodness of California Prunes 

By: Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN, CSSD, LDN 

As summer approaches and the weather heats up, many of us ramp up our activities – hiking, biking, swimming at the beach, pool or lake, camping, glamping, and traveling by car, bus, train or plane. And none of these activities are complete without a tasty snack or cool-down beverage to enjoy! 

With the warmer temperatures, there are some must-dos to hydrate and fuel your body for outdoor activities. Certainly, we need to optimize our fluid intake. Although water is great, why not get creative with what you put in your blender or water bottle?  

To efficiently hydrate and replace losses, especially after an intense sweat session, it’s more than fluid your body needs – it also needs electrolytes. Most people think of sodium here, but potassium and magnesium are also key to hydration. Adding in an unexpected ingredient like California Prunes to smoothies or juices is a great way to not only provide the micros your body needs (electrolytes and other vitamins and minerals) but also the carbohydrates for energy to fuel your summer activities.  

Hydrate & Chill 

A great way to hydrate and cool off at the same time is with a homemade slushie. Combine prune juice and frozen mixed berries in a blender until smooth for a tasty beverage that provides your body with carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K and plant nutrients for better hydration, decreased inflammation, and gut and bone health benefits. 

three glasses of Tropical Prune Juice Smoothie

Other cool-down options for hydration: 

  • Smoothies made with your choice of milk, yogurt, prunes and berries (or other fruit). Try this Tropical Smoothie or Pink Super Smoothie for a delicious treat. 
  • Ice pops made with berries, cherries, prunes and pomegranate juice. Blend, pour into molds and freeze. Or make a batch of these Creamy Prune Caramel Mocha Pops for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. 

a bowl full of Chocolate Energy Balls surrounded by additional chocolate energy balls and prunes

Snacks to Pack 

If you are spending a day camping, or at the beach, a baseball tournament or sight-seeing, think about what’s in your bag. Foods must be portable, nonperishable and delicious. The goal is to have foods with staying power to provide energy through your activities. Think trail mixes, energy bites or homemade granola bars. 

Pop a few of these tasty Chocolate Energy Balls or Healthier Pumpkin Muffins into your bag to provide your body with carbohydrates, protein and fat to keep energy levels up and hunger at bay throughout the day. Plus, the bite-sized snacks can help to prevent digestive distress during exercise. Volume matters, and less can be more.  

a cast iron skillet full of Naturally Sweetened Baked Beans Recipe with California Prune BBQ Sauce

Meals to Fuel Up 

Whether you’re fueling up ahead of a long hike or replenishing after a day of fun in the sun, make sure to add some powerhouse produce to your plate. Fruits and vegetables not only helps to replace fluids and carbohydrates, they also can help to decrease inflammation. Pair with your favorite protein for a complete meal.

A few delicious examples: 

  • A salad with greens, edamame, feta, red pepper, chopped prunes and almonds can be a tasty treat to help your body replete, with varied flavors and textures. 
  • Get grilling for taste thrilling! Prune and veggie kebabs are perfect for the grill and pair well with chicken, shrimp or steak. 
  • Naturally sweeten your baked beans with prune puree for a must-have cookout staple. 

Sure, fresh produce is especially good in the summer, but remember that dried fruits provide a wealth of health benefits with haste, great taste and no waste! Prunes pack well, without the need for a cooler, and are a nutrient-dense whole food that provides fuel for all your summer activities.