When it comes to favorite fruit, apples are king. According to a new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, apples make up for almost 20 percent of a child's total fruit intake for the day.
The survey, which examined children's daily fruit consumption, found that apples were the most popular fruit of choice—by far. And for good reason.
"Fiber-rich apples also offer a healthy, filling snack for under 100 calories," says Lisa Moskovitz, RD. "The fiber promotes satiety because it is difficult to digest and therefore it stays in your stomach, keeping you fuller on a fewer calories for a longer period of time."
That’s not all. You can also count apples as one of your go-to sources for a healthy heart. "One medium-sized apple packs in up to four grams of fiber," Moskovitz adds. "Studies show that pectin, a type of soluble fiber naturally found in apples, blocks absorption of cholesterol to help lower bad LDL cholesterol in the body."
Let’s not forget its antioxidant powers either. "Antioxidants and vitamin C, which are also found in apples, help boost immunity and anthocyanins," says Moskovitz. "[It’s] yet another powerful antioxidant that may help fight against developing Type 2 Diabetes."
It’s safe to say that the "apple a day" saying has held up through the years—for kids and adults alike. If you’re not already snacking on this powerhouse fruit, here are five recipes that’ll help you get your daily fill of the fresh, in-season rockstar.
Bacon and apples collide in this sweet and savory bowl. Cheddar cheese provides a dose of bone-building calcium, while research shows polyphenol antioxidants in apples can help lower cholesterol. Among nuts, walnuts lead the way in heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
(Makes 4 servings)
Per serving: 408 calories, 45 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 17 g protein, 20 g total fat, 8 g saturated fat, 358 mg sodium
1 cup steel-cut oats, soaked overnight
4 slices bacon
1/3 cup water
1 apple, chopped
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1. After soaking the oats overnight, place the saucepan over medium- low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 12 minutes, or until the oats are creamy and of desired consistency. (Alternatively, transfer the oats and liquid to a large microwavable bowl. Cover and microwave on high in 30-second increments for about 3 minutes, or until creamy.)
2. Meanwhile, place the bacon in a large skillet and place over medium-low heat. Cook, turning frequently so that both sides cook evenly, until nearly crispy, 5 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
3. When the oats are cooked, add the water, apple, and syrup. Stir until well combined and heated through.
4. Divide the oatmeal among 4 bowls. Top each serving with 1/4 cup cheddar and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts. Crumble 1 slice of bacon over each bowl and serve.
Adapted from Runner's World Meals on the Run
Inspired by the classic cheese and fruit combination, this soup brings together the two in a different way for a lovely soup appetizer. The riper the brie, the more intense the flavor.
Brie and Apple Soup
(Makes 4 servings)
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
8-ounce round Brie, cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
Salt and ground black pepper
Sliced almonds, toasted
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, celery, and apples and cook, stirring often, until the onion and celery are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup of the stock. Stir in the remaining 2 cups stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and simmer until the onion, celery, and apples are cooked, about 20 minutes.
2. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan.
3. Just before serving, stir the Brie and cream into the hot soup. Stir until the Brie is melted. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with almonds.
Adapted from The Soup & Bread Cookbook
The combination of beets and apples in this salad makes for a one-of-a-kind taste!
Roasted Beet And Apple Salad
(Makes 4 servings)
3/4 pound medium beets, weighed without greens pecans
2 tablespoons pecans
5 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium shallot, halved and thinly sliced
3 cups torn escarole, or 1 large bunch watercress, tough stems trimmed
1 medium Gala or Fuji apple, cored and cut
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Trim the tops from the beets, leaving 1/2" of the stems and the roots intact. Place the beets on a piece of foil. Fold the foil up and over the beets and fold the edges to seal. Place the foil packet directly on the oven rack and roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beets are tender.
3. Remove from the oven, open the packet, and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel the beets and cut into thin wedges.
4. Cook the pecans in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Tip onto a plate and let cool. Chop coarsely.
5. In a salad bowl, mix the vinegar, oil, rosemary, mustard, salt, and pepper with a fork. Stir in the shallot. Add the beets, escarole or watercress, apple, and the toasted pecans. Toss gently to mix.
Adapted from The Sugar Solution
Bulgur is a great addition to your meals and a great source of fiber. Bulgur or cracked wheat is a toasted, chopped form of the whole wheat berry and a staple in Middle Eastern cooking.
Pork Chops with Apples and Collard Greens
(Makes 4 servings)
Per serving: 406 calories; 13 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 42 g carbohydrate; 11 g fiber; 32 g protein; 66 mg cholesterol; 592 mg sodium
1 ounce Canadian bacon, finely chopped
6 cups chopped collard greens
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 boneless pork chops (4 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat it over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon and collard greens, for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the vinegar, cayenne pepper (if desired), and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Remove from the heat. Cover and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the apples, onion, and rosemary, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of water and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the remaining salt; cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. Rub the pork chops with the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the pork chops, turning once, for 6 minutes, or until lightly browned and a thermometer inserted in the center of a chop registers 160°F and the juices run clear.
4. Divide the collard greens among 4 plates. Top each with a pork chop and the apple mixture.
Adapted from 2-Week Turnaround Diet Cookbook
As if steamy apples perfumed with cinnamon and nutmeg served hot-from-the-oven in cute little mugs weren’t fabulous enough, this is low in fat, too! You save major calories and fat grams by losing the piecrust and topping the mugs with a flakey phyllo crust instead. You can prep them ahead of time and pop them in the oven right when you sit down for dinner. By the time the last bite is gone, hot apple mugs are ready to be served!
Mom’s Apple Mug Pie
(Makes 4 servings)
Per serving: 418 calories, 9 g fat (4.5 g saturated, 0 g trans), 5 g protein, 8 g fiber, 61 g sugars, 218 mg sodium, 88 g carbohydrates, 68 mg cholesterol
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1 large egg
5 sheets phyllo dough
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt, toss to combine, and gently cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are golden and soft, about 15 minutes.
2. Add the lemon juice and then sprinkle in the #our, gently stirring it into the apples (if the pan seems dry, stir in 1 to 2 table- spoons of water). Be sure to scrape all the good browned stuff up off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the dried cranberries (if desired), turn off the heat, and divide the apples among four 8-ounce or six 6-ounce mugs or ramekins.
3. Whisk the egg, a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon of water together. Place a sheet of phyllo on a work surface. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Top with 4 more sheets, spraying each lightly. Use a sharp knife to cut out 4 or 6 squares. Keep the phyllo covered with a slightly damp paper towel to prevent it from drying out as you work. Brush a little egg wash onto the rim of each mug and cover with a phyllo stack. Lightly brush the pastry with a little more egg wash. Place the mugs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Pretty Delicious