Over the last three decades, apple consumption in the U.S. has skyrocketed— and with good reason. This immensely varied, sometimes-sweet, sometimes-sour fruit has more health benefits than we can count— like being rich in antioxidants and fiber— while staying relatively low in calories. Say hello to this week’s superfood: apples.
How You Like Them Apples? — The Need-to-Know
This red delicious (pun intended!) fruit does it all. For starters, a medium-sized apple weighs in at under 100 calories with 0 grams of fat. Plus, upping apple intake has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and asthma
An Apple a Day… — Your Action Plan
When autumn rolls around, apple season hits full force (though these guys are usually available year-round, too), and grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and fruit stands are saturated with apple options. In fact, there are more than 7,500 different apple varieties. Some are best for baking, others juicing, and some are simply best in their pure unadulterated form. But the real question is, which offer the healthiest bang for the buck? Fuji and red delicious consistently rank highest for their antioxidant content, while Cortland and Empire apples (typically used for cooking and baking) don’t have quite as much nutritional punch. Another tally in apples’ favor: Portion control is hardly an issue when it comes to this fruit, seeing as it comes in its very own, naturally crafted 100-calorie pack. But that doesn’t mean a whole raw apple is the only way to snack on this dietary superstar. Apple slices can be an excellent vehicle for almond butter or cheese for an extra dose of protein. They can also be cooked up in plenty of seasonal recipes. Check out this simple take on a classic baked apple for a perfectly seasonal and just-sweet-enough dessert.
Superfood Recipe: Baked Apples
By Kelly Fitzpatrick
What You’ll Need:
2 medium-sized apples (Gala, Jonamac, or Fuji work well)
4 tablespoons chopped nuts (try a mixture of almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans!)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
What to Do:
- Preheat oven to 400 and spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Keeping the apple whole, remove the center core by cutting around it vertically and pushing out the center.
- Combine nuts, honey, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Fill the center core of the apples with an even amount of the mixture.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!