Healthy Tips for Tu B'Shvat
The approaching festival of Tu Bishvat (Birthday for Trees) can be great fun for children since it is a Festival of Nature when dried fruits and different kinds of nuts are eaten, but it can also be dangerous. Schneider Children’s specialists have issued guidelines for safe and proper nutrition for the holiday.
Dr. Ron Berant, Director of the the Emergency Medicine Unit (ER) at Schneider Children’s, notes that children under the age of 5 should not be given nuts of any kind: walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds and so on and they should not be left within their reach. Dried fruits and round fruits should be sliced in half in order to prevent choking, and any pits removed from fruit given to toddlers and babies.
Dafna Ziv Busani, Head of the Nutrition and Dietary Unit at Schneider Children’s, recommends eating dried fruits. These contain less water than fresh fruit and therefore have a much higher sugar content. One serving of fruit (about 50 calories) is equivalent to one dried fig, 1 large or 2 small dates, 2 dried prunes, 3 dried apricots, a tablespoon of raisins, 4 slices of dried apple, and one slice of dried pineapple. It is better to select fruit dried without the addition of sugar or edible coloring. Dried fruit provides ready energy and can therefore be eaten before exercise (in proper quantities of course). They are rich in fiber and can promote proper bowel function especially among those who suffer from constipation. They are also rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Dried fruit can be added to yoghurt, granola, and vegetable salad. They can also serve as a tasty and sweet dessert and an enjoyable and healthy way to end the meal.
While walnuts and almonds are high in calories and fats, they contain many health benefits. They are rich in unsaturated fats and some have fatty acid with omega-3 in addition to minerals such as magnesium and calcium. All these improve our blood fat profile by reducing the level of cholesterol, and help prevent diabetes and heart disease. One serving (average of 45 calories) is equivalent to 4 walnut halves, 7 almonds, 8 cashews or peanuts. It is preferable to eat walnuts and almonds in their natural form without removing the shells and preferably unsalted.