Raisin Your Nutrition

– A blog about the energy benefits of raisins –


Celebrate Your Freedom!

June 09, 2014 by

Wow, I can’t believe that our time together is already over! Thanks to Sun-Maid raisins for giving me the opportunity to share with you the latest in sports nutrition for running. I’m hoping that I helped you stay “on track” and that raisins have become part of your fueling routine!

With the 4th of July around the corner, I thought I’d share some interesting historical facts about raisins along with tips for making your BBQ or picnic celebration healthy! With the following menus, you can stick with your training plan AND have fun!

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit The Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum in Willow Grove, PA that’s owned and operated by the Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association (DVHAA). Here is where I learned that after WWII the American and British transport aircraft brought in supplies to the western half of the city of Berlin during the Berlin Blockade in 1948/1949. The pilots of these planes were nicknamed Raisin Bombers (German Rosinenbomber) because they dropped raisins (along with sweets and candy) on little parachutes out of the plane to the Berlin children standing along the edges of the airfields. How cool is that?

During the war, raisins also made a significant nutritional contribution because of their natural sweetness. Sun-Maid published a series of wartime recipe books showing how to save on sugar by using raisins as a substitute in various dishes. Sun-Maid raisins were also used back then and now to sustain troops in the field because of their energy, portability, and long shelf life.

This year, take a moment to reflect on our country’s history, and celebrate its many freedom’s with Sun-Maid raisins! Try the following tips and recipes. Remember to bring plenty of water to go along with your meal. Happy 4th everyone!


Appetizers: Deviled eggs, ants on the log, veggies and yogurt dip make for some fun finger food appetizers.

For the grill: Choose lean protein: chicken breast, turkey breast, 95% lean ground beef, marinated flank steak, shrimp or fish. For a non-meat protein option grill veggie burgers or soy hot dogs.

Grilled vegetables are a delicious and nutritious way to add veggies to your plate. An easy way to prepare them is to skewer veggies such as summer squash, zucchini, mushrooms. Skewer alone or combine with meat, chicken or shrimp.

Condiments: Nutritious add- ons to your burger or chicken sandwich include lettuce, onions, tomatoes, salsa, veggies. Limit creamy dressings, mayonnaise and sauces that add fat calories to your meal.

Sides: Opt for fresh vegetable and fruit options. Use olive oil, vinegar, low-fat mayonnaise, low-fat sour cream, and yogurt to dress salads and pasta.

Desserts: It’s a celebration! Set a limit on how much you’re going to have and savor every bite.


Ants on a log
Cool turkey pitas *
Broccoli pasta toss *
Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies *

Deviled eggs
Grilled chicken and pineapple on skewers
California Coleslaw *
Peach Raisin Cobbler *


California Coleslaw
California Coleslaw

  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions


  • 1/3 cup low fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-calorie mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill weed
  • salt and pepper

COMBINE all salad ingredients.
COMBINE all dressing ingredients and BLEND well.
POUR dressing over salad.
ADD salt and pepper to taste.
TOSS and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrients per serving (1 cup): Calories 110; Protein 3g; Fat 2g (Sat. Fat 0g);Carbohydrate 22g; Dietary Fiber 3g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 95mg.

Broccoli Pasta Toss
Broccoli Pasta Toss
Raisins give this pasta salad a delightful twist. Full of flavor and texture, this salad is packed with Vitamin C and health-promoting antioxidants.


  • 1 cup small broccoli florets
  • 1-1/4 cups cooked shell pasta
  • 1/2 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper


  • 1/3 cup reduced-calorie mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper

COMBINE all salad ingredients.
COMBINE all dressing ingredients and BLEND well.
POUR dressing over salad.
ADD salt and pepper to taste.
TOSS and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrients per Serving (approx. 1 cup): Calories 200; Protein 3g; Fat 7g (Sat. Fat 1.5g); Carbohydrate 30g; Dietary Fiber 2g; Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 170mg

Cool Turkey Pitas
Coll Turkey Pitas

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced red apple
  • 1/3 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
  • 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt or reduced-calorie mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 small lettuce leaves
  • 3 pita breads (6 inch), halved

COMBINE turkey, celery, apple, raisins and yogurt in a medium bowl.
SEASON with salt and pepper to taste.
PLACE 1 lettuce leaf in each pita half.
FILL pitas with turkey mixture, dividing evenly.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrients per serving: Calories 210; Protein 17g; Fat 3g (Sat. Fat 1g); Carbohydrate 27g; Dietary Fiber 2g; Cholesterol 35mg; Sodium 210mg

Classic Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
Classic Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
Raisin oatmeal cookies are one of the most popular cookies in America. This all-time favorite is easy to make and is a fun activity to do with kids.

Preparation time: About 10 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes


  • 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

HEAT oven to 350 F.
BEAT butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.
COMBINE flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
ADD to butter mixture and mix well.
STIR in oats, raisins and nuts, if using. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
BAKE 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets.
COOL on wire racks.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Peach Raisin Cobbler
Peach Raisin Cobbler
Bring on the delicious taste of summer with this seasonal deep dish dessert.


  • 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 cups peeled peach slices, fresh, frozen or canned
  • 1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

HEAT oven to 350º F.
GREASE a 9-inch square pan.
In a large bowl, COMBINE 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and salt; mix well.
BLEND in milk and butter.
POUR batter into greased pan.
COMBINE peaches, raisins, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; toss and coat evenly.
SPOON peach mixture evenly over batter.
BAKE for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.
SERVE warm or at room temperature with ice cream, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

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About The Author
Suzanne Nelson

Dr. Nelson recently joined the staff of Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania as a nutrition and wellness advisor and sports nutritionist. Previously, she was the Director of Sports Performance Nutrition in the athletic department at the University of California, Berkeley. While in California, she was the team nutritionist for the San Francisco 49ers and provided nutrition consultation to the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors. In addition, Dr. Nelson has advised elite amateur athletes at the national, world, and Olympic level. She is a nationally known speaker in sports nutrition and is the author/editor of several books and numerous scientific journal articles. Dr. Nelson is the Nutrition and Health Advisor for Sun-Maid.

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