Five ways to get your apple a day

I hope you were able to read my blog post yesterday on the Ten Reasons to Get Your Apple a Day, which provides research and information on the multitude of health benefits of apples. For the first time since launching this blog, I’m following up with a two-part series on apples because they are so healthy, delicious and versatile. You already know why you should eat apples, but I’m going to show you five fun ways to eat an apple a day without getting bored! 

It was fun for me to come up with these apple recipes, because I had 12 pounds of apples at my disposal. I took the kids to Windy Hill Apple Orchard on Sunday to pick our own apples and they had so much fun my son even said “This is the best day of my life!” Um….We just got back from a trip to Disney, so I was a little surprised by his enthusiasm. I’m glad he had fun, but I could have saved a lot of money on Disney and just taken him to the orchard instead. 

It was fun for the kids because they got to pick their own apples off of the tree, feed the chickens, drink homemade apple cider and even play with baby pigs running around the orchard. Picking your own fruit not only is a great learning experience for kids to understand where their food really comes from, but it also helps support local farms. You also know that your fruit is fresh and hasn’t been sitting in a shipment truck for weeks. Which I guess makes me a locavore, which basically just means that I try to eat locally grown fruits and vegetables as much as possible. If you are interested in how others are embracing the locavore lifestyle, check out the Diary of a Locavore blog

To find a local apple orchard, visit Pick Your Own. This site not only lists pick your own farms across the country, but also tells you when fruits are in season, provides tips on home canning and great recipes. 

Speaking of recipes, I’ve got five great apple recipes for you. This weekend go out and pick your own apples at your local orchard and give one of these recipes a try. Let me know how you like it and share your recipes and tips here. I look forward to hearing from you! 

Apple Crisp

Not very creative, I know, but delicious! I made this apple crisp yesterday, using an old family favorite, but lightened up. You will see that there is no butter or oil in this recipe. With healthy apples, fiber filled oats and heart-healthy walnuts, this dessert can actually be enjoyed as a healthy breakfast also! 

Stacy’s light apple crisp

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 Tbsp sugar-free applesauce
  • 5 apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (divided)
  • ½ tsp nutmeg (divided) 

Instructions

Mix the first 4 ingredients and 1 tsp of cinnamon and ¼ tsp nutmeg in a small bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl toss the apple slices with the sugar, lemon juice, 1 tsp cinnamon and ¼ tsp nutmeg. Spray non-fat cooking spray in a 2-qt. baking dish and add the apples. Top with oat mixture. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Apple Pie Dip  

Dip Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups peeled, cored, and diced apple
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoons brown sugar Splenda
  • 2 teaspoons apricot preserves (sugar-free will also work)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon  

Chip Ingredients

  • 5 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar  

Instructions 

  1. Combine all the dip ingredients in a bowl, then cover and refrigerate the mixture until chilled.
  2. Brush the tortillas with butter, then cut them into wedges.
  3. Arrange the wedges on a greased baking sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake at 350º F until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let them cool before serving. Serves 4 to 6. 

Apple Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar or Splenda
  • 1 cup peeled, shredded apple
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans  

Instructions

Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a bowl, then add all the other ingredients and stir unil combined. Spoon batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

After-School Apple Butterflies (from Family Fun Magazine)

Ingredients

  • Apple
  • Carrot
  • Peanut Butter

Instructions

Cut the apple into slices and simply make little apple “sandwiches” by spreading peanut butter on an apple slice and top with another apple. Place the carrot strip down the middle and the apple slices on either side of the carrot to form a butterfly shape. Voila! A healthy and cute afterschool snack! 

Healthy Waldorf Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 Apples (chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp raisins
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup cubed celery
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2/3 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp honey 

Instructions

Combine apples, raisins, walnuts and celery then drizzle with the orange juice. Toss with the greek yogurt and honey to add sweetness. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Day 66: Ten Reasons to Get Your Apple a Day

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” How many times have you heard that little rhyme? I guess the cliché is so popular because it’s true. I could write a new blog post everyday with the health benefits of apples, but if I had to boil it down to the top ten headlines, it would look like this: 

1. Apples protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons

Two new studies from Cornell University found that apples protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons. The study showed that the chemical quercetin, a flavanoid that has also been shoed to prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells, protected rat brain cells when approached with oxidative stress in laboratory tests.

2. Apples reduce your risk of asthma and improve your pulmonary health 

A recent study in Australia found that apple and pear intake was associated with a decreased risk of asthma and decrease in bronchial hypersensitivity. 

3. Smoke? Better eat your apples

In a case control study in Hawaii, it was found that there was a 40-50% decreased risk in lung cancer participants with the highest intake of apples, onions and white grapefruit. Check out An Apple a Day Keeps the Lung Cancer Away blog post for more info.

4. Decrease your heart attack risk by eating more apples 

The Women’s Health Study found that women ingesting apples had a 13-22% decrease in cardiovascular disease risk.

5. Eat apples to reduce your risk of Type II diabetes 

A Finnish study of 10,000 people found a reduced risk of Type II diabetes associated with apple consumption. This is attributed to the quercetin, which is a major component of apple peels.

6. Don’t peel that apple!

Apples, and especially apple peels, have been found to have potent antioxidant activity. In fact, apples have second highest level of antioxidant activity than any other fruit. These antioxidants can greatly inhibit the growth of livery cancer and colon cancer cells. Another study, at Cornell University showed that phytochemicals in the skin of an apple inhibited the reproduction of colon cancer cells by 43%!

7. Apples have the highest portion of free phenolics

What is free phenolic and why is this important? A phenolic is a huge class of biochemically active substances most of which belong to the flavanoid group. “Free Phenolic” means that these compounds are not bound to other compounds in the fruits and the phenolics are more available to absorb into the bloodstream. All you need to know is this, they are really, really, really good for you! 

8. Eat Apples. Lose Weight 

Researchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro found that women who ate apples lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn’t eat fruit. And get this, one apple has more fiber than an entire bowl of bran cereal! With only 80 calories and 5 grams of belly-filling fiber, an apple is a dieter’s best friend. Check out this blog post about The New Apple Diet, which talks about a study that demonstrated that people who eat an apple 15 minutes before lunch consumed almost 190 fewer calories then when they didn’t have the apple! 

9. Kick arthritis and osteoporosis with apples

Apples are one of the best dietary sources of boron, which is a bone-building mineral. The Journal of Applied Nutrition recently published a study that demonstrated a high probability that there is a connection between not having enough boron in your system and having symptoms of arthritis.   

10. Apples can reduce breast cancer risk

Cornell researchers found that apple consumption can reduce breast cancer tumors. In their study with a group of rats with a known mammary carcinogen they found that the number of tumors was reduced by 25, 25 and 61 percent in rats fed, respectively, the equivalent of one, three or six apples a day. 

Check out All About Apples for more information on the health benefits of apples. 

Nothing says fall like a fresh, crisp apple, so after conducting research on the benefits of apples, I was excited to go pick my own apples from the local apple orchard. I visited Windy Hill Apple Orchard in York, SC. You can visit www.pickyourown.org to find local pick your own apple orchards in your area. 

Come back and visit my blog tomorrow for the Top 5 Ways to Get Your Apple a Day blog post, which will be filled with five great apple recipes and more information about my experience at the apple orchard and picking our own apples. In the meantime, check out my recipe for awesome apple museli: 

Apple Museli

Ingredients

  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup skim milk
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp almonds
  • 2 tsp honey

Instructions

Combined oats and milk in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in apple, almonds and honey.

Do you like apples? How do you enjoy eating them? Please share!