Dried fruit can deliver many nutritional benefits, but not all varieties are created equal.
I enjoy dried fruit. I add it to oatmeal and overnight oats, garden salads, energy balls, whole grain sides, and desserts. One of my favorite treats is bark made from melted dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, and chopped dried fruit.
Dried fruit is certainly delicious, but its healthfulness honestly depends on the kind you choose. Dried fruit has a reputation for being fattening or loaded with sugar, but the truth is it can be a healthy addition to your diet.
To limit sugar and carbs, simply watch your portion size. When fruit is dried, it shrinks considerably. That’s why a quarter cup of dried fruit (about the size of a golf ball) is considered one serving, equivalent to one cup of water-filled fresh fruit.
Also, there’s no one standard way to make dried fruit. Some fruits are simply dehydrated, with only fluid removed and nothing added. Others are soaked in added sugar and treated with artificial preservatives.
If you enjoy dried fruit, here’s what to look for—and what to avoid—to take advantage of its nutritional benefits without allowing unwanted add-ins.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.