With high fructose corn syrup, high levels of sugar, and gosh knows what else filling the snack shelves in the grocery store, it seems practically impossible for snacking to be healthy. Somehow I don’t picture a doctor ever telling me, “You know, you should add more fruit roll ups to your diet.” (As much as I might wish that he would.) The problem is that I’m a snacker. Pretzels, chips, peanuts, cookies – you name it and I’ll snack on it. Fortunately, there are foods out there that are perfect for snacking and are actually healthy for you. One such food is the humble California Raisin.
If you didn’t know, raisins are basically dried (sun-dried or dehydrated) grapes. Using different grapes will produce different types of raisins. Because they are essentially a dried fruit, raisins naturally offer many health benefits. Just a 1/4 cup of California Raisins equals a serving of fruit for adults. Fat-free and cholesterol-free, raisins also contain fiber, potassium and are high in antioxidants. Studies have shown other health benefits ranging from decreased LDL cholesterol levels to benefits to colon function.
There are a lot of factors beyond just nutrition that make California Raisins ideal for snacking. First, they are perfect for holding in your hand – they’re small (but not too small) and won’t melt in your hand. Second, they give you a nice little burst of energy, since they are high in fructose and glucose. Raisins are also very high in the flavor area. One little raisin gives you a whole lot of flavor.
We used some California Raisins to make an amazing snack-mix for a Saturday night hang-out session. Using California Raisins, a bunch of spices, popcorn, and other goodies, we snacked on the California Raisins Five-Spice Popcorn Snack Mix for several hours. I was surprised at home much the raisins brought to the table for this mix. The mix itself is a little spicy (with five-spices and cayenne pepper, it was kind of expected.) But if you made sure to include a raisin in every bite of mix, it brought an amazing “meatiness” and fullness to each bite. While you might not be sure how you feel about the mix when you first taste it, you’ll realize that you’ve been subconsciously eating it for 30 minutes without realizing it. (Yes, that actually happened to me.)
I’ll be honest that while (I’m told) I ate raisins with a passion as a child, I don’t even recall intentionally eating a raisin within the last decade. Yes – I was even one of those people who would pick out the raisins from their oatmeal cookies. But I can honestly say, after re-visiting the California Raisins, I don’t feel the need to de-raisin my cookies anymore. The California Raisins provides a flavorful, convenient, and healthy snack in a tiny bite-sized package.
For more information about California raisins, additional recipes, and healthy eating tips please visit www.LoveYourRaisins.com. The recipe for the California Raisins Five-Spice Popcorn Snack Mix that we made is below. If you would like to make this for your family, you can enter the WCatDD California Raisin Giveaway! (Giveaway info is after the recipe.)
California Raisins Five-Spice Popcorn Snack Mix
1 bag (97% fat-free) microwave popcorn, popped
1/4 cup sesame sticks
1/2 teaspoon each: garlic powder and onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1/2 cup crisp chow mein noodles
Olive oil cooking spray
1 cup California Raisins
1. Stir together all ingredients except raisins in a large bowl.
2. Spray mixture liberally with cooking spray and toss with your hands, repeating until popcorn is well coated with spices; stir in raisins.
Recipe Tip: Add additional ingredients to taste. We suggest honey roasted peanuts, minced crystallized ginger or even semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Recipe and photo courtesy of California Raisins – www.LoveYourRaisin.com.
What’s Cooking at DD California Raisin Giveaway!
One winner will receive all of the ingredients needed to make their own California Raisins Five-Spice Popcorn Snack Mix.
This giveaway is now closed
Disclaimer: This post consists of my (and/or fellow tester) opinions only. Your experiences may be different. No compensation was given for this review/giveaway. I did receive free raisin products and ingredients to make the mix from the manufacturer or their representing PR agency to use and test for the purposes of this review. This did not affect the outcome of this review.