Whenever I think about creating recipes for you guys during the months of September through November, I’m constantly trying to make recipes that are nutrient dense (of course) and SIMPLE! So many of us are busy with getting back into the routine of fall and everything that comes along with it. Personally, I’m so busy with the cookbook launch that I ,too, have to get smart about making recipes super simple, portable, and nutrient dense. These Sesame Seed Prune Balls do all of the above as a convenient and portable snack and have added bonuses of supporting bone health and keeping our digestive system happy!
snack with benefits
Prunes always get a weird “grandpa” vibe and stigma around them, don’t they? Or maybe that’s the first demographic that comes to my mind because my 96-year-old grandpa living in North Dakota swears his longevity is due to daily walks and eating prunes each morning stewed in water (I swear!). Actually, people who eat prunes are ahead of the game with their overall inner health since they aid in healthy and happy digestion (i.e. prunes help tremendously with digestion and relieving constipation) and healthy bones! With World Osteoporosis Day arriving this month, it’s only fitting to show off the power of prunes with improving bone health (in addition to their digestive benefits since it’s Digestion Month on NS this September!). A clinical study published in Osteoporosis International discovered that eating 100 grams (two servings or about 10 to 12) of prunes a day for one year was associated with increased bone mineral density and improved indices of bone turnover in postmenopausal women. Another clinical trial published in the journal Osteoporosis International shows that postmenopausal women who ate 50 grams of prunes (5-6 prunes or roughly one serving) every day for six months were able to maintain their bone mineral density (BMD) when compared to a control group that did not eat prunes. You can learn more in the infographic at the bottom of this post!
When you think about these amounts, they’re not huge, i.e., they’re incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet by adding them to smoothies, chopped in salads, added to grain salads, pop em’ plain for a quick snack, or in these Sesame Seed Prune Balls. This recipe incorporates the best of the best when it comes to bone building nutrients like vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, copper, boron, and potassium. In fact, a 40-gram serving of prunes (4-5 prunes; about 100 calories) is an excellent source of Vitamin K, which helps improve calcium balance and promotes bone mineralization. The nutty sesame seeds are the perfect balance for the sweet sun-ripened flavor and rich fruity texture of prunes in these poppable balls. Added bonus – prunes are a great way to sneak in nutrient density in raw desserts or recipes because they bind everything together without extra ingredients. They can also be a great replacement for eggs in most baking recipes for vegan lifestyles and can substitute unhealthy fats or sugars in baked goods without losing flavor.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup tahini
- 1 cup prunes
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt, adjust to taste
- Garnish: Sesame seeds for coating, about 1/4 cup on the side
- Optional for added healthy fats: ⅔ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- Using a food processor grind all the ingredients into a thick paste that sticks together when pressed between two fingers.
- Place sesame seeds in a small bowl on the side. Use about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball using your hands. Next, roll each ball into the sesame seeds.
- Place on a plate lined with parchment paper and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes to chill and firm.
- Can be stored in an airtight glass container for up to 1 week.
What are your favorite ways to incorporate prunes into your diet? Any funny stories or other grandpas out there that swear by eating prunes for health? Comment below so I can do a recipe inspired by them or make the real deal except NS approved! Let me know what you think about these Sesame Seed Prune Balls in the comments, rate the recipe if you try it (it helps me improve them for you), and if you make it at home share it on Instagram with #nutritionstripped so I can see!
Osteoporosis International Abstract
Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women
This post was in partnership with the California Dried Plum Board, but all opinions are my own. Partner posts help support the larger team behind NS, so thank you for supporting brands that support NS!