It is here, my favorite season and one of the reasons I still live in New England! Fall brings cool, crisp, sweater weather, beautiful foliage, apple picking, sitting by the fireplace, hiking and of course cooking. My secret passion besides being an educator is opening a healthy bake shop. If I could, I would spend all day cooking and sharing the fruits of my labor with everyone I know. I am looking into becoming a certified kitchen to do just that so stay tuned!!
One of my favorite foods to eat and cook with during this season are apples. There is nothing like biting into the first apple of the season! Many of you may have already gone apple picking or maybe planning to soon, so I thought this would be a great time to share some apple facts and how apples can improve your health.
Apples were brought to the US from Europe and now many varieties are grown here. Each apple has a different color, shape, texture, and taste to meet everyone’s palates.
Apples, including the skins, are FULL of health benefits because they are rich in flavonoids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are low in calories, sodium, fat and cholesterol and are a good source of vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. They help prevent Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease, improve cholesterol, acid reflux and decrease hunger.
One medium apple has about:
- 100 calories
- 25 grams of carbohydrates
- 4 grams of fiber
- 19 grams of natural sugar
As with any healthy food, moderation is still key. It is important to wash apples prior to eating, cooking or baking due to potential pesticides used during growing. If taking the allergy medication, Allegra, avoid drinking apple juice because it has been shown to affect absorption of this medication.
There are so many ways to incorporate apples into your daily meal plan. Eat them raw, make apple chips, add them to salads, soups, meals and of course use them in baking. Applesauce is a great fat replacement in many baked goods. Simply replace 1:1 for oil or melted butter. Not only will this add fiber, lower calories but the baked goods will be moist and stay fresher longer.
Since, apples don’t freeze well, I purchase B grade apples from the farm, wash them, cut them into 4 pieces, (including skins and seeds), throw them in a large pot, add a little water, then cook on low until soft. I then transfer the cooked apples into my cone and use the wooden pestle to smash into applesauce. I don’t add any sugar, (the apples provide the sweetness), just a little cinnamon, then once cooled, place in quart freezer bags and use all year! Sometimes, I add other fruits when cooking to give a different flavor. So simple, so delicious! My grandchildren LOVE eating it as just plain applesauce, even without the added sugar!
Now that you learned a little about more about the health benefits of apples, you can see why they say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Time for you to turn education into action and reap the benefits of eating and cooking with apples. Happy picking and cooking!
Scherrie Keating RN, BSN, CDCES, CDC, NDPP Lifestyle Coach, CDP
Founder, Diabetes Kare Consulting, LLC
Creator, Diabetes Prevention for Life Program
Producer and Host, Talk Me Healthy TV and Podcast