Apples are at their peak of deliciousness this season, and it’s time to get your daily dose! They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and for good reason. Apples are full of pectin, fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin C, all of which boost your health and keep your body functioning regularly. If you need some help finding ways to slip this magic fruit into your diet, here are five creative dishes to take advantage of all the apple has to offer.
Number Five: Goat Cheese Rounds. This is a creamy, crunchy treat for those of you looking for a health-smart, protein-filled afternoon snack. Simply place a cored apple on its side, and cut into slices about half an inch thick (so that the hole from the core is centered in the slice). Spread on a layer of creamy goat cheese, and sprinkle with your favorite crushed nuts, such as pistachios or walnuts. For a sweeter snack, just drizzle a bit of honey on top.
Number Four: Ham Apple Sandwich. If you ask me, fruit as a sandwich filler is highly underrated. With ham especially, thinly sliced apples make a great sandwich compliment. Pair these two ingredients with toasted rye bread, fresh arugula, a little apricot jelly, and smoked cheddar cheese for a light and refreshing, healthy lunch that will keep you satisfied.
Number Three: Dipped in Maple Cream. Apples and maple syrup are a match made in heaven. This is a fast and easy afternoon snack (or even breakfast or dessert) that your kids or party guests will love too! Just take a cup of unsweetened Greek yogurt, and stir in about two tablespoons of maple syrup, a quarter teaspoon of vanilla, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Cut up some apple slices for dipping, and you have a sweet and delicious, guilt-free snack!
Number Two: Baked Apples. With winter chilling the air, nothing sounds more homey and comforting than a batch of healthy baked apples. Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and ready a large baking dish (such as a roasting pan, or brownie pan). Core six apples, and lay them out in the pan. Pour into the pan a cup of unsweetened apple cider, half a cup of dark rum, and two tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle on top half a cup of brown sugar, a half teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon of nutmeg, a half teaspoon of ground cloves, and a half tablespoon of cinnamon. Cover with perforated tin foil, and bake for about 25 minutes (until soft, but not mushy). Cool before digging in, and enjoy your hot winter snack!
Number One: Apple Chips. Say goodbye to greasy, diet-devastating potato chips, and hello to sweet, fibrous apple chips! First, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll have to be patient; these will take a couple hours, but are well worth it. Take cored apples (as many as you’d like), and slice them very, very thinly. Spread out on a greased cookie sheet (or use a nonstick baking mat to avoid fat altogether) so that no slices overlap. Season to perfection with cinnamon and sugar; you can add a little cayenne pepper, too, for a spiced apple kick! Bake the slices for 2.5 hours, or until light and crispy. Let them cool, and you can wave goodbye to extra pounds from greasy, fried chips!