It’s that’s time of year again. We are rapidly approaching winter. Winter where I live means fresh fruit is limited to mainly bananas, oranges, and apples. Apples are good for me, however, eating a fresh plain apple is not my favorite. Each year I have to push myself a bit before I incorporate apples in my diet. When I remind myself of all the different ways I can ENJOY apples it helps! Today I’d like to share how to maximize the inclusion of apples in your diet to simplify your weight loss efforts and more…
Heard the expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? There is a lot of truth in that statement. Apples are a good source of dietary fiber and a fair source of vitamin C. The soluble fiber in apples may help lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation both of which can reduce your risk for heart disease. Apples and other nutrient dense foods may also significantly reduce risk for bone fractures later in life.
Best of all is that apples can provide you with a healthy choice for enjoying tasty low calorie snacks and meals to help you lose weight. Eating a whole apple before meals has been shown to reduce calorie intake with meals (enough to more than offset the calorie cost of the apple). However, the same was not found to be true for apple sauce or apple juice. (See: What’s new and beneficial about apples )
Whereas some diet plans call for eating as much as 3 apples a day, I don’t think that’s necessary. Nor do I think it will work well on a low calorie diet. I believe it would be better to get more variety in your diet. Aim for one apple a day or at the very least 2-3 times a week to gain some of the benefits apples have to offer.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Aren’t sure what apples you might like best for eating fresh? How do you choose the right ones when baking or cooking? I found an informative article to help you answer these questions. See: Picking the Right Apple by Dana Jacobi for the American Institute for Cancer Research
Learn which apples are best to enjoy fresh as is, eaten with cheese, or included in salads. Discover which may make the best applesauce but may not hold up well when cooked in a pie.
2. Apples can save you money. They make a good choice in the winter months when other fresh fruit may be higher cost. On the other hand, apples may be one fruit you might want to consider paying more for if you are concerned about pesticide residues (buy organic if possible). See: Risks associated with eating fruits and vegetables?
3. Breakfast ideas:
Add chopped apples to oatmeal.
Grate an apple and add it to pancakes.
Check out my recipe for making a healthy breakfast bar/granola bar that calls for using unsweetened applesauce. See: Healthy Granola Bar Recipe
4. Other meal ideas:
Puree apples to make your own unsweetened applesauce to use on pancakes, waffles, grilled (or broiled) poultry or seafood
2 medium apples, remove core and chop into bite size pieces
2 T dried fruit (raisins or currents)
3 T plain nonfat yogurt
2 T nuts, chopped
Optional: dried cranberries and/or honey
Combine ingredients, mix, and serve
Curried Chicken with Apples and Raisins
This recipe provides a great way to enjoy leftover chicken or turkey in a nutritious low calorie salad or sandwich. The original recipe is from Cooking Light magazine) Curried Chicken with Apples and Raisins
Turkey Waldorf Salad (with apples)
See: Turkey Waldorf Salad on my BestEasyHealthyRecipes website.
5. Low Calorie Desserts:
Apples and cinnamon can make a warm and comforting baked dessert for the winter months without overdoing the calories. Cut an apple in half and remove the seeds. Sprinkle with cinnamon and just a bit of sweetness with a natural sweetener such as apple juice or brown sugar. Microwave for just a minute or two on high. Easy and low calorie! (I haven’t had a chance to try this yet but it’s on my list!)
For a little more pizzazz and calories try this recipe from St. Louis Today (StLToday.com):
Core an apple and stuff with the fixings of your choice…. mix together a little brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins or dried currents, and walnuts. Top with a dot of butter (1/2 a tsp. butter may be plenty). Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until soft but not mushy.
Apples make a great grab and go snack at almost any time of the year.
Pair small amounts of your favorite cheese with sliced apples for a filling low calorie snack or addition to a brown bag lunch.
Make your own apple crisps (dried apple pieces). You can have 12 crisps for only 82 calories and 3 grams of dietary fiber.
7. When baking, if a recipe calls for butter, margarine, or oil (such as 1 cup) try substituting as much as 1/2 with unsweetened applesauce to reduce the fat and calories (1/2 cup applesauce + 1/2 cup butter, margarine, or oil)
Hope you found at least one idea/way to enjoy apples for weight loss and better health that you hadn’t thought of before. Do YOU have any ideas for low calorie apple recipes to share? Please do! Till next time, watch those calories and eat healthy food!