Dried Fig Nutrition + Fig Nutrients for Everyday: #4FigsADay

Bag of Orchard Choice Figlets and gym bag

by Lorelle Del Matto, MS, RDN, CD

What do you know about fig nutrients? By eating just 4 figs a day, you benefit from dried fig nutrition. Learn more and get ideas for using Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid California Dried Figs. Your healthy eating goal for 2022 just got a whole lot easier.

Orchard Choice Mission Fig packaging next to a plate of four figs for easy dried fig nutrition next to a computer and notepad with a pen: a simple snack provided

Fig Nutrients: Adding #4FigsADay to your daily eating plan checks a lot of boxes:

  • Power your day with nutrient-rich meals  
  • Snack smart – with nutritious grab-and-go foods
  • Avoid an afternoon slump
  • Cut back on “added” sugars

Depriving yourself of favorite foods to meet nutrition goals isn’t fun, and can be hard to stick to, while a positive approach of adding enjoyable, good-for-you foods can make healthy eating easy and sustainable. Read to the end to see ideas for mini meals that use four figs in them (and don’t need a recipe). 

Dried fig nutrition in a bag of Orchard Choice Figlets and gym bag

How Might Dried Fig Nutrition Help You Achieve Your 2022 Nutrition Goals?

WEIGHT LOSS & SATIETY

Research by the International Food and Information Council shows that weight loss remains the top reason people adopt a new eating plan (1). If calorie counting is your thing, you’ll love the fact that 4 figs have only 100 calories. Fiber-rich meals and snacks may help with weight loss by promoting satiety, helping one feel full, especially if some protein and a little healthy fat are included (2). Four figs (or 5 figlets), a 40-gram serving, supplies a robust 14% of the Daily Value (DV) for dietary fiber (2,3).  

FEEL BETTER

The #2 ranked motivation to adopt a new eating plan is a tie between “protect long-term health” and “feel better and have more energy” (1). Figs can help with both—let’s talk about long-term health first. Getting adequate nutrients is a first step in protecting your health, and fig nutrients contribute several essential nutrients. Four figs contain all four “nutrients of concern” identified by the US Dietary Guidelines 2020-2025 for special attention as inadequate intake has been identified across the general population (4). Here’s a look at the dried fig nutrition in four figs:

  • potassium (7% DV)
  • calcium (4% DV)
  • iron (4% DV)
  • dietary fiber (14% DV)

In addition to satiety, mentioned above, dietary fiber contributes to health by helping food move through the digestive tract and may play a role in preventing diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer (5).  Over 90% of Americans don’t meet recommendations for dietary fiber.  Enjoying fiber-rich foods like figs every day can help achieve the target of 14 grams/1000 calories consumed or about 25 grams for adult women and 38 grams for men (6).

STAY ENERGIZED

How can figs help you to stay energized and prevent an afternoon slump? Eating at regular intervals can help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep your energy consistent throughout the day (2,3). Start strong. Fuel up early with sliced figs on toasted sprouted grain bread with your favorite nut butter. It doesn’t just taste delicious – you get dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates, healthful fats and protein. Another option is sliced figs on a toasted bagel with melted cheese or another favorite spread.

Fig Nutrients in Mini Meals

Skipping meals can leave you depleted later. Snacking is a part of life – over half of Americans snack at least once each day (1). Plan healthful snacks to avoid running to the vending machine or grabbing a caffeine fix which can give you a quick burst of vitality but bring you crashing down later (2,3). Enjoy the naturally occurring sugars in figs and fig nutrients, such as being bundled with complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber for sustained, slow-release energy.

In contrast, simple carbohydrates and added sugars in “table sugar,” syrups, sugary drinks, candies, desserts, and ultra-processed foods tend to raise blood sugar quickly for a spurt of energy but leave you depleted and hungry soon after. Plus, these sugary foods are often “empty-calorie” foods with few other nutrients.

Dried fig nutrition example for breakfast: a plate of toast with nut butter and figs

Toast + Nut Butter + Four Figs

A plate of bagel with cream cheese and fruit

Bagel + Cream Cheese + Four Figs

A bowl of soup and plate of salad

Make time for a satisfying lunch. Here’s a simple meal of soup and salad. You don’t need a recipe – just mix fresh greens with sliced figs and other nutritious add-ins such as nuts, avocado, diced turkey, and cheese. Add your favorite vinegar and oil dressing and toss.

On-the-Go: Pack a Snack

Hunger doesn’t just strike at home. Pack California Dried Figs for an on-the-go snack to get fig nutrients on-the-go. Stash a resealable bag or tub of figs or Figlets in your purse, gym bag or car for a quick nosh. 

Gym bag with bag of Sun-Maid Golden Figs

Everyone deserves a break for happy hour, whether that means you imbibe or go for zero-proof refreshers. Skewer figs with your favorite olives and a bit of cheese. Or toss sliced figs in a seasoning mix with the popular Mexican chile, citric acid spice blend, and nibble them along with a few other “bar” snacks.

happy hour nibbles with four figs a day

Mission Figs tossed in Tajin

These are just a few ideas for how to make #4FigsADay and dried fig nutrition part of your healthy 2022 lifestyle. We’d love to hear about yours. Snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig on Instagram and Facebook!

References

  1. 2021 Food and Health Survey, Food Insight. International Food and Information Council. https://foodinsight.org/2021-food-health-survey/
  2. Lunch and Snack Ideas to Counter the Afternoon Slump. Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO. Today’s Dietitian June/July 2020. p.14-16.
  3. Energy Foods for Greater Stamina. Dina Aronson, MS, RDN. Today’s Dietitian November/December 2021. p. 12-15.
  4. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2022. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/
  5. Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Andrew Reynolds, Jim Mann, John Cummings, Nicola Winter, Evelyn Mete, Lisa Te Morenga. Lancet. February 2, 2019.  p. 434-445. National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30638909/
  6. Most Americans are not getting enough fiber in our diets. American Society for Nutrition Staff. June 9, 2021.https://nutrition.org/most-americans-are-not-getting-enough-fiber-in-our-diets/

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