On the Menu: An Apple a Day

An Apple a Day!

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - What represents fall better in Michigan than Michigan Apples? Apples are an important part of a healthy diet. They are packed with powerful flavonoids, antioxidants and fiber, specifically pectin. Plus they are low in sodium, fat and calories, which makes them a healthy choice for everyone! For this week’s segment of On the Menu, Katie Francisco, registered dietitian from Mercy Health, is here to share apple facts and recipes.

Apple Facts

As the saying goes, an apple a day will keep the doctor away. Here are a few reasons why that may actually be true.

Did you know? Eating apples can:

  • Reduce risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke thanks to their high levels of pectin and other fiber
  • Reduce cancer risk including breast, pancreatic, colon, liver and bowel cancer because they are excellent sources of antioxidants and flavonoids like procyanidins.
  • Improve Gastrointestinal Health
  • Protect Brain Cells

What is the Healthiest Variety of Apple?

While all apples are healthy, Red Apples, specifically Red Delicious, Northern Spy & Honey Crisp are found to have the highest antioxidant activity including anthocyanins in the skin and polyphenols in the flesh. Also of note is the nutrition advantage of organic apples which can have significantly lower levels of pesticides.

What is the difference between Apple Juice and Apple Cider?

By appearance, apple juice appears clear while cider looks cloudy. Apple juice is clear because the pulp particles and sediment are filtered out. Juice also usually has preservatives added to extend its shelf life. Juice is shelf stable until open. Cider needs to be refrigerated. It takes about one third of a bushel of apples to make a gallon of cider.

The skin and particles of the apples that are filtered out of juice are particularly high in antioxidants, flavonoids and fiber. Studies have found that cider can contain five times more of these health-linked and cancer-fighting agents than a filtered juice.

Recipes

Apple Cinnamon Cookie Energy Bites

Makes: 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (not packed) grated apple

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flaxseed and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, stir together almond butter, honey and vanilla until blended. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated.  Stir in the grated apple.
  2. Scoop the mixture into tablespoon-sized portions.
  3. Store the energy bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Enjoy!

Recipe Modified from Kristine's Kitchen at https://kristineskitchenblog.com/apple-cinnamon-cookie-energy-bites/

Autumn Sausage Veggie and Apple Sheet Pan Dinner

Servings:4

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. smoked turkey sausage, sliced into 1/3-inch thick slices
  • 16 Oz. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 16 oz. brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp each dried thyme, sage and rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 crisp baking apples, cored and diced into 1 1/4-inch chunks
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Add sausage, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, apples, onion and garlic to sheet pan.
  3. Drizzle everything with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme, sage and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste; toss to coat. 
  4. Roast in preheated oven 15 minutes then remove and toss.  
  5. Return to oven and continue to roast until veggies and apples are tender, about 15 minutes longer.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.

Recipe source: Cooking Classy

Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette

 

Ingredients

Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white or regular balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried crushed thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Salad

  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 medium green-skinned apple (such as Granny Smith), cored and sliced
  • ¼ cup thin wedges red onion
  • 2 tablespoons  dried tart red cherries
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese or blue cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. In a screw-top jar, combine oil, vinegar, thyme, mustard and salt. Cover; shake well to mix.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together spinach, apple, onion, and dried cherries. Drizzle with ¼ cup of the vinaigrette (reserve the rest for another use). Toss gently to coat. If desired, top individual servings with cheese.

*Recipe modified from eatingwell.com

Baked Cinnamon Apples

Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 3 medium firm, sweet apples, like Honeycrisp or Fuji
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4T butter
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup  brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ c chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Halve the apples from stem to end and use a spoon to scoop out the core, seeds, and stem. Arrange the apple halves in the baking dish with the flesh facing up. Sprinkle 1-tablespoon of brown sugar and a 1/4-teaspoon of cinnamon over the apples.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave. Stir the oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Divide the topping between the apples, lightly pressing it down onto the apples. Sprinkle with walnuts.
  4. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes. Uncover the apples then bake another 20 to 30 minutes until the apples are soft and the topping is brown.

*Recipe modified from inspiredtaste.com

Resources

www.michiganapples.com

www.inspiredtaste.com

www.cookingclassy.com

www.eatright.org

www.sciencenews.org

www.eatingwell.com

Courtesy: Mercy Health Saint Mary's

 

© 2017 WZZM-TV


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