Team Up with California Prunes

Expert Advice

Expert Advice

Fuelling Before Your Workout With California Prunes

By Angela Dufour, PhD (c), RD, CSSD , Author/Performance Dietitian

“Athletes who exercise regularly and incorporate weight-bearing exercise with bone-building nutrients, can reduce their risk of bone injuries by optimizing their BMD.”

As an Olympic Performance Dietitian, and Mom of a young athlete, I am consistently on the lookout for those under-the-radar superfoods that are simple, versatile, and packed with nutrients to add to athletes’ pre-training and competition-fuelling meals and snacks. I love California Prunes because they check all the performance nutrition boxes.

Most athletes have higher energy needs, coming from our bodies’ main source of fuel, carbohydrates. A suggested serving of 5-6 California Prunes contributes 26 g of long-lasting energy because they are a lower Glycemic Index fruit. This means that the carbohydrates are more slowly digested and absorbed allowing for a more stable blood glucose. This makes California Prunes the perfect pre-workout snack, 3-4 hours before exercise.

To help keep bones strong enough to support activity at any age, weight-bearing activities are essential. Athletes may be at greater risk of reduced bone mineral density (BMD) than the general population due to their higher prevalence of reduced energy availability, low carbohydrate availability, nutrient deficiencies, as well as dermal calcium and sodium losses through sweat. More sport-specific research is needed, but the risk factors for reduced bone density appear to be apparent across a wide range of sports—but may be more markedly seen in energy deficiency or Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S), post-menopausal athletes, and para-athletes.

Athletes who exercise regularly and incorporate weight-bearing exercise with bone-building nutrients, can reduce their risk of bone injuries by optimizing their BMD. California Prunes contain a trifecta of bone-building nutrients such as potassium, vitamin K, and polyphenols (antioxidant-packed micronutrients), which work together to protect the bone. Studies show that low vitamin K levels are associated with lower bone density1. Another reason to get your daily dose of Vitamin K is with 3-4 California Prunes.

Adding California Prunes to your favourite recipes is easy because they’re such a versatile ingredient – they’re so good, you’ll find yourself adding them to your favourite sweet and savoury dishes. Experiment with chopped and or puréed California Prunes to enhance your recipe’s texture, flavour, and boost nutrition. In my home, we add puréed California Prunes to muffins and baked goods to substitute for any added sugar and or fats, and chopped California Prunes to savoury dishes like meatloaf, chili, and pizzas!

When an athlete has 3-4 hours before a competition or training, their body has time to digest food. As a Performance Dietitian, I recommended a variety of pre-workout foods that have the right balance of carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. Our smoothie recipe below includes all the good stuff that makes it a gold medal recipe to have before any activity.

California Prune Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients (makes 2 servings):

  • 5-6 California Prunes
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 cup Greek Vanilla yogurt
  • 1-1/2 cups almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Add all ingredients into a blender, mix to your preferred consistency, and enjoy! This recipe is extremely customizable – so if you want to add more protein and carbohydrates it could also be a great recovery smoothie as well.

The key to all of this is to look for prunes that say “Product of USA” or “Product of California” to find premium-quality California Prunes. For more information, recipes, and nutrition facts, visit

  • Angela Dufour, PhD (c), RD, CSSD

    Angela Dufour is one of Canada’s TOP Sports Nutrition Experts. She consults with athletes of all ages and calibre and has helped hundreds of clients, achieve their health and fitness goals!

    Angela is a leading expert in high performance sports nutrition working as the Lead Performance Dietitian for the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Team Canada for the 2018 Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics, 2019 Pan American Games, Peru, 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics!

    Angela can be found on CTV News at Five often delivering key messages on food and nutrition and is a proud mom of ONE active boy! As a part time faculty instructor at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax NS, in the Applied Human Nutrition Department, she is a mentor to many students and interns.

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