Apples are a healthy fruit that’s fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free. This sweet treat is a good source of potassium as well as providing necessary dietary fiber. Eaten raw, baked or even sauteed, apples are a versatile fruit that can work for any meal. But its sweet taste and crisp texture make it the perfect ingredient in satisfying snacks and delicious desserts. Try one of these five twists on the solitary apple to get your juices flowing:
1. Chips and Apple Salsa
Apples are juicy and sweet and can take the place of tomatoes in a salsa recipe. For a scrumptious snack, scoop up this apple salsa recipe with baked tortilla chips or whole wheat crackers. Toss together the following ingredients in a medium size bowl: 1 unpeeled apple diced, ½ a diced avocado, 1 tbsp. chopped scallions, 1 to 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, 2 tsp. lime juice and sprinkle with salt to taste. Add in 1 tsp. minced jalapeno for a spicier version.
2. Snack Stacks
These easy apple snacks can work at any time of the day and even can be served as appetizers at your next dinner party. Spread a thin layer of dijon mustard over whole wheat crackers or a slice of freshly baked whole grain bread. Place a thin layer of sliced granny smith apples on top and then top with reduced fat cheddar cheese or a creamy goat cheese. Crisp in the oven to soften the cheese.
3. PB & A
The classic apple with peanut butter snack never goes out of style. To make this a healthy treat be sure to select natural, sugar-free peanut butter. Read the ingredient list to make sure your selected jar doesn’t contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats). If you want to turn this snack into a dessert, sprinkle a few plump raisins on top.
4. Fruit Parfait
Parfaits are soft and creamy and often decadent. In this version, use fat-free Greek style yogurt which is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. In a tall glass, scoop ¼ cup of plain yogurt on to the bottom, top with ½ a diced apple and 1/8 cup of low fat granola cereal. Repeat the layering until you’ve reached the top. Drizzle on 1 tsp. of honey and dig in.
5. Apple a la Mode
Apple pie is so delicious because the sugars in the apple caramelize when baked, and the texture becomes soft and gooey. For these same reasons, baked apples make the perfect healthy dessert. To cook them up, remove the core of a tart apple by cutting a cone from the top—do not cut all the way to the bottom of the apple. In the hole that remains, add 1 tsp. chopped walnuts or pecans and ½ tbsp. of raisins. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp. brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. When the apple is soft, place in a bowl and top with one scoop of vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt. The yogurt will start melting quickly, so don’t wait too long before you start enjoying this special treat.