Northeast Times

Dried fruit and oat cookies

While the bounty of sum­mer fruits has ended, dried fruits of­fer a healthy al­tern­at­ive and are a good choice when fresh fruits aren’t avail­able. Dried fruits are devoid of the wa­ter con­tent that is so char­ac­ter­ist­ic of fruits. Fruits are dried by draw­ing out the wa­ter con­tent, either by sun-dry­ing or us­ing spe­cial­ized ma­chines. Once in their dried phase, the fruits can be stored for a longer peri­od of time and con­tin­ue to provide ba­sic nu­tri­ents. Some of the most com­mon dried fruits are apricots, rais­ins, plums, dates, prunes, cran­ber­ries, blue­ber­ries and figs.

Dried fruits re­tain all the nu­tri­ents that are present in whole fruits. They’re full of vit­am­ins, min­er­als, fiber, iron, mag­nesi­um, cal­ci­um, phos­phor­us and sug­ar. The in­fu­sion of these nu­tri­ents helps in pro­mot­ing over­all health and keep­ing us free of dis­eases, as well as devoid of fa­tigue.

Dried fruits also are high in fiber, which lends to sev­er­al be­ne­fits. Fiber helps to draw wa­ter in­to the sys­tem, bring­ing about ef­fect­ive di­ges­tion. Along with im­prov­ing di­ges­tion, fiber also helps in cleans­ing the sys­tem by draw­ing out the lay­ers of waste and im­pur­it­ies, which auto­mat­ic­ally pre­vents the on­set of con­stip­a­tion and oth­er dis­eases as­so­ci­ated with blad­der prob­lems. This pro­motes great skin health, be­cause the flush­ing of tox­ins leads to healthy and clear skin that is free of all skin con­di­tions.

Dried fruits are in­fused with iron, which is an im­port­ant nu­tri­ent for the pro­mo­tion of health. Iron al­lows for the pro­duc­tion of hemo­globin. This nu­tri­ent will pro­mote the pro­duc­tion of white blood cells which are im­port­ant for fight­ing of dis­eases and pre­vent­ing con­di­tions like an­emia, oth­er blood dis­eases, fa­tigue and weak­ness in the body. Dried fruits are also packed with an­ti­ox­id­ants which pre­vent the on­set of free rad­ic­als, and have a high cal­ci­um con­tent, which pro­motes healthy bones and teeth as well as bet­ter eye­sight.

The con­sump­tion of dried fruits, in meas­ured amounts, also helps with weight loss. The fiber in the dried fruit makes you feel full for a longer peri­od of time, mak­ing it the per­fect snack. Dried fruits also are one of the best op­tions to choose be­fore ex­er­cise in place of carbs, be­cause they provide for steady bursts of en­ergy and help to sus­tain a heavy workout.

The next time you’re in need of a healthy snack, try this healthy, fiber-filled re­cipe for fruit and oat cook­ies!

Fruit and Oat Cook­ies

1/3 cup coconut oil or ve­get­able oil

3 large ba­na­nas

1/4 cup agave syr­up or honey

1 tea­spoon vanilla ex­tract

1/4 tea­spoon salt

1-1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup oat bran

1-1/2 cups mixed dried fruits, chopped

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Pre­heat oven to 350 F.

2. In a large bowl, mash ba­na­nas un­til smooth. Mix oil in­to the mashed ba­na­nas. Add the syr­up or honey, vanilla and salt. 

3. Stir in rolled oats, oat bran, dried fruits and nuts. Drop by roun­ded ta­ble­spoon­fuls onto greased cook­ie sheets. Flat­ten slightly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, ro­tat­ing cook­ie sheets for even brown­ing. Cool on wire rack. Store in tightly closed con­tain­er in re­fri­ger­at­or. ••

An­gela Shelf Medear­is is an award-win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, culin­ary his­tor­i­an and au­thor of sev­en cook­books. Her new cook­book is “The Kit­chen Diva’s Dia­bet­ic Cook­book.” Her Web site is www.di­vapro.com 

  To see how-to videos, re­cipes and much, much more, Like An­gela Shelf Medear­is, The Kit­chen Diva! on Face­book and go to Hulu.com

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