I have always been a big lover of fruits.
Growing up, my family wasn’t big on post-dinner desserts. Instead, every night, we had “fruit time”.
Typically, after finishing dinner, I would head back to my room to do homework. Then, around 9pm, one of my parents would yell, “Fruit time!” from the kitchen and I would put down my work to gather around the kitchen table with my parents and brother and enjoy the plate of apples, pears, or whichever fruit my parents had cut up for us.
Fast forward many years, and I’m now a working adult living away from my parents. I still have a deep love and appreciation for fruit; every time I go to the grocery store I find myself drawn to the fruit aisle.
But here’s the problem: I am lazy.
I miss those bygone days of my parents carefully and lovingly peeling and chopping up fruit for me. Now, I have to do that myself, and I have to admit, sometimes the act of washing and chopping just feels like too much effort after a long day of work.
So when I was asked to try bringing Dole fruit bowls to work for a week, I was very excited. A chance to have a healthy fruit snack with no added sugar or preservatives every day without having to actually wash, peel, or cut the fruit myself? Count me in.
Here’s how my week went:
As I packed my work bag on Sunday night, I looked through the fruit bowl flavours Dole had sent over and picked out the Yellow Cling Diced Peaches in 100 per cent fruit juice.
Typically, bringing fruit to work would involve wrapping the fruit in a paper towel or putting it in a container, to prevent it from getting dirty or being squished in my bag.
Bringing the fruit bowl was much more convenient — all I had to do was toss it into my bag!
Work was pretty busy that day because Parliament was sitting, so my colleague kindly helped me buy back lunch (thanks Fasiha!) — a salmon pasta bowl which was delicious and quite healthy.
After I finished lunch, I was feeling very sleepy and all I wanted to do was to take a nap.
My colleague (thanks again, Fasiha!) suggested eating something sweet. Normally, I would reach for a piece of candy, but today, I suddenly remembered — the peaches! They would be the perfect post-lunch pick-me-up.
As I opened up the packaging, I had some hesitation about whether the fruit would taste too sweet, like canned fruit cocktail, because of the liquid the peaches are served with.
However, that wasn’t the case. Dole fruit bowls consist of all-natural fruit that are packed in fruit juice rather than sugar syrup, and contain no added sugar and no preservatives.
So, I had my delicious peach snack (which I normally never eat since I find peeling peaches very tedious and difficult) and continued on my day.
On Tuesday, I opted to bring mango for my healthy post-lunch snack.
I looooove mangoes, and they’re one of the few difficult to cut fruits that I am actually willing to spend time and energy on.
But even then, sometimes the inertia is too much to overcome, when I think of the mess I’ll create along the way.
So I was pretty psyched that Dole sent me Mango Chunks in Juice to try.
For lunch, I got seafood hor fun from the canteen near the office. It was fine, but what I was really looking forward to was my mango snack.
The packaging even included a toothpick for me to eat the mangos with, so it was super convenient.
The mangos were sweet and soft, and this ended up being by far my favourite fruit bowl from the whole week.
Wednesday: mandarin oranges
On Wednesday, I worked from home. For lunch, I got some Taiwanese beef noodles and ate them as I listened to the Parliament sitting.
My lunch was pretty filling and I had to rush out an article, so I wasn’t hungry for fruit right after lunch.
Later in the evening, I picked out my fruit of the day: Mandarin Oranges in 100 per cent juice.
When I peel and eat real mandarin oranges, I find that it can be a hit-or-miss experience. While I like the tanginess of fresh oranges, they’re sometimes too sour for my liking.
So, the mandarin orange fruit bowl was a nice change, since the orange slices were soft and sweet, but not too sweet.
Not needing to peel the skin also meant my hands remained clean so I could continue doing work.
Thursday: mixed fruits
On Thursday, it was time to head back to the office again, so I grabbed a container of Mixed Fruit in 100 per cent Fruit Juice and tossed it into my bag.
For lunch, I got some dishes from the nasi lemak stall at the canteen, making sure to include some nice leafy greens.
Alongside my lunch, I enjoyed my fruit cocktail bowl consisting of not one, but three, kinds of fruit — diced pears, peaches, and pineapples.
Despite being submerged in fruit juice, the pears were still nice and crunchy. The peach chunks were sweet and soft.
But what I appreciated the most about this fruit bowl was the pineapples — I rarely ever eat pineapples because they’re so hard to cut. I remember being a child and seeing my mom cut them in a cool diagonal spiral in order to waste the least amount of pineapple meat, but I still haven’t figured out how to do that.
So it was convenient to be able to simply slurp the pineapples out of the ready-to-eat fruit bowl, without the hassle of cutting a whole pineapple in artistic fashion.
Friday: peach slices
On Friday, I decided to bring my week of eating fruits full circle and finish off with peaches again, with Dole’s Peach Slices in Juice.
For lunch, I got some chicken biryani with lots of cabbage. After finishing my very filling meal, the peach slices were a refreshing and light post-meal snack.
I was delighted to find that this fruit bowl also came with a toothpick I could use to eat the peach slices.
The slices were juicy and I loved the texture of the peaches even more than I’d enjoyed the diced peaches earlier in the week.
Dole fruit bowls
I have to admit, my usual post-lunch snacking habits are not the healthiest. I often find myself craving bubble tea, grabbing a piece of candy to snack on, or wandering around the pantry looking for some chips.
And as someone who really does love fruit, but just doesn’t quite have the discipline to actually buy them and prepare them for myself, my week of healthy snacking on fruit bowls was a nice change of pace without creating a lot more work for myself.
The packaging also made them easy to transport to work, without needing to worry about them spilling on my laptop and making a mess.
Dole fruit bowls have just been recently launched in Singapore, and are a great healthier choice for people who want fruit-based alternatives to their usual snacking habits. The fruit bowls have even earned the Health Promotion Board’s Healthier Choice Symbol.
This sponsored article brought to you by Dole reminded the author how much she really loves fruits.
All photos by Jane Zhang.