Keep Tu Bishvat dried fruit, nuts away from small children

They are preferable to candy, cookies, chocolate and other snacks, said Raz, but should be eaten in small portions.

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January 19, 2011 03:06
1 minute read.
Basket of Fruit, by Michelangelo da Carvaggio

fruit. (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 country.

Just a small sample of them and some fresh fruit are enough to mark the holiday, they insist.

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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.

Tu 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 calories.

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 eating them.


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