What’s your opinion on dried fruits vs. fresh fruits?  Which dried fruits do you recommend?

I think dried fruit is a good snack!  It’s more “shelf-stable” than fresh fruit, more easily transportable, and also provides good nutritional value.  However, there are a few things to look out for:

Check out the dark color of Trader Joe’s dried apricots — no sulfur here! (traderjoes.com)

1) Buy unsulfured dried fruits without additional ingredients.  For example, dried unsulfured apricots are brown, not orange.  The sulfur preservative keeps apricots orange, but the only purpose for that is to increase their eye appeal for the shopper.  Brown apricots taste just as good!  Banana chips sound healthy but are often fried, oily, and salty.  And some dried fruits have added sugar, which is totally unnecessary, because fruit is plenty sweet on its own!

2) Watch your portion sizes, as it can be deceiving.  When fruit is dried, the water is extracted out and the nutrition value increases (in most cases) because the nutrients are more concentrated–however, so are the calories and sugar.  For example, 1 cup dried apricot halves is 313 calories compared to 1 cup fresh apricot halves is 74 calories.  See below for a side-by-side comparison of the top nutrients.

Measure:  1 cup halves Dried Apricots Fresh Apricots
Calories 313 74
Fat 1g 1g
Protein 4g 2g
Sugar 69g 14g
Dietary Fiber 38% DV 12% DV
Vitamin A 94% DV 60% DV
Vitamin C 2% DV 26% DV
Vitamin E 28% DV 7% DV
Copper 22% DV 6% DV
Potassium 43% DV 11% DV
Niacin 17% DV 5% DV
Iron 19% DV 3% DV
Magnesium 10% DV 4% DV
Manganese 15% DV 6% DV


Make sure you look at the recommended portion size for guidance or use the palm of your hand as a good indicator of the amount of dried fruits and nuts that make an appropriate serving.

I think truly natural dried fruit is A-OK , and always gets thumbs up from kids when they make my all-natural snack mix, page 75 in Appetite for Life: semi-sweet chocolate chips, unsulfured apricots or other dried fruit, sunflower or pumpkin seeds and dry whole-grain cereal: perfect to be packed in a baggie in the amount of the snacker’s hand.

– Stacey Antine, MS RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA

What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy?  Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected].  Stacey will answer those questions here weekly.

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