Apples: The core of healthy eating

Autumn is a great time to enjoy all that apples have to offer. Apples come in a variety of sizes and colors and have a wide range of uses. Today, there are over 2,500 varieties of apples grown – and a few of the popular ones originated right here in Minnesota! Fall is my favorite season and apples are one of the foods I love when this time of year comes around. My family has been enjoying a number of the new crop apples already this year. A few favorite ways to eat apples at our house include dipping them in peanut butter, eating with creamy caramel cheese, and snacking on caramel apples for a sweet treat every once in awhile.

Apples provide a bushel of health benefits. Apples provide your body with complex carbohydrates. They also give you a longer, more even energy boost compared to high-sugar snacks. One apple peel included – is packed with 4-5 grams of fill-you-up fiber, which can help in any weight loss efforts. Eating the peel may also help reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as prostate, breast and lung, because of the red, green or yellow pigments that contain antioxidants. In addition, fresh apples are fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free!

Apples will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks. Store them away from strong-flavored foods such as onions or garlic, to prevent the apples from absorbing the odors. There are a number of fun ways to serve apples such as making your own applesauce, apple chips, apple butter, baked apples, apple crisps and apple slaw. Another entertaining way to serve apples is in a fruit salsa. Try this simple salsa recipe for something different at your next get-together.

Fruit Salsa

All you need:

2 medium Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and diced

1 lb. fresh strawberries, chopped

1 kiwi, peeled and chopped

Juice of 1 orange

2 teaspoons jelly

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

All you do:

1. Mix all ingredients. Chill and serve with cinnamon pita chips.

Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.

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