Fall is a favorite season for many people. The air cools and the leaves crisp as skies become vibrant blue. It is a wonderful season to spend time outdoors walking and enjoying fall festivities and numerous food feasts!
Fall foods are enticing and full of wholesome goodness! While pumpkins steal the stage with their annual appearance of pumpkin spice “anything,” I encourage you to remember another fall food celebrity – APPLES! Because we have imported apples year-round, I think we under appreciate them during their local harvest season which is mid-August to mid-November.
Not only are apples tasty, but they are good for you too. In fact, they score as one of our healthiest fruits reducing risks of many chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and asthma. Apples, like berries, are very high in polyphenols. These antioxidants reduce inflammation and protect the heart and brain. And, guess what? They are even more absorbable and useful to the body in apples! They also contain quercetin which helps with allergy and asthma symptoms. Apples are also high in the fiber, pectin, which has many healthy benefits and helps with digestion.
The skins contain many of apple’s best nutrients so choosing organic apples is best, but if you do not, just be sure to wash your apples in a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 10 parts water (.25/2.5 cups) to remove pesticides and microorganisms.
Apples come in a variety of sizes, colors, textures and flavors. The crispy, sour varieties are best for cooking in sauces, cobblers and pies. I am a fan of Honey Crisps, Pink Ladies and Granny Smiths myself. They are better than Jolly Ranchers any day, for me! Try these simple apple recipes below for new ideas to increase apple consumption as part of your regular meal plans and especially during their peak season!
I share this trick with clients all of the time. You can put most sandwich fillings between apple slices instead of bread.
Peanut Butter and Raisin
Turkey, Havarti and Mustard
Carrot and Apple Slaw
· 1/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
· 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
· 1 tablespoon lemon juice
· 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
· 1 teaspoon honey
· 1 pound carrots, peeled
· 1 Granny Smith apple, cored
· 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
· salt to taste
In a small bowl whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar and honey until smooth. In a food processor, grate the carrot then the apple. Transfer to a large serving bowl and toss with the dressing. Mix in the chopped mint and season with salt if necessary. This can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for 3 days in an air tight container.
Healthy Baked Cinnamon Apples
Baked cinnamon apples are a fall and winter favorite, but you can enjoy them all year! Traditional recipes use sugar, which you can do. But to cut down on calories, this recipe offers an alternative: artificial sweeteners. At 100 calories, each serving is comparable to one fresh Granny Smith apple — the spices and flavorings don’t add any extra!
4 medium Granny Smith apples 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 tsp nutmeg 2 tbsp Stevia® or coconut sugar Water
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice apples into thin slices and place in a 9×9 baking dish or pie dish.
3. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and Stevia or coconut sugar.
4. Mix so that all apples are coated. Place a small amount of water in the dish (about 1/4 in).
5. Bake apples uncovered for 30 minutes or until apples are soft and break apart easily.