(photo credit: Michelangelo da Carvaggio)
Tu Bishvat, the Jewish arbor day, which begins on Wednesday evening, should not
be used as an excuse to gobble down large amounts of dried fruits, which are
very fattening, according to clinical dietitians in hospitals around the
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Just a small sample of them and some fresh fruit are enough to
mark the holiday, they insist.
The Schneider Children’s Medical Center in
Petah Tikva and Ziv Medical Center in Safed warned parents and other adults not
to give nuts, dried fruit or popcorn to children under the age of six.
Bishvat foods tend to be hard and small or hard to chew and swallow, and small
children could choke on them because their swallowing mechanism and chewing are
not well developed.
Olga Raz, chief clinical dietitian at Tel Aviv
Sourasky Medical Center, said Tuesday that eating dried fruits of species grown
in Israel is a longtime tradition in the Diaspora. But when fresh fruits are
dried, they lose most of their water and become “sugar bombs” containing many
calories, she said.
They are preferable to candy, cookies, chocolate and
other snacks, said Raz, but should be eaten in small portions. Just two walnuts
contain 85 calories, while 100 grams of ordinary dried fruit contain about 270
Caramelized fruits such as papaya, pineapple and banana are
more like high-calorie candy than fruit, said Raz, thus it is better to eat small
amounts of natural dried fruits such as raisins, figs, dates and prunes, which
are nutritious and contain many minerals and vitamins.
They should be
rinsed with water before consumption. Remember to brush your teeth after