Enjoy a Nutritious New Year with Michigan Apples
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN
New Year resolutions often focus on making commitments to a healthier lifestyle but despite the best of intentions, many people will end up going back to their old habits, especially if unrealistic goals have been set. Improving the nutritional value of your diet however, is easy if you make small simple changes that can set you up for long term success. Stocking your kitchen with an abundance of healthy foods, adding more fruits and vegetables to your daily eating plan and swapping nutrient-rich ingredients into recipes is a great start!
One of our favorite healthy add-ins is Michigan Apples. A single medium-sized apple contains about 4.5 grams of fiber, about 17% of the recommended daily intake. A portion of apple’s fiber content is made up of both insoluble and soluble fibers called pectin. Soluble fiber has been associated with numerous beneficial effects on health and may help improve satiety and cause weight loss, while lowering blood sugar levels and improving the function of the digestive system. Apples also contain about 5% of the daily value of Vitamin C, an essential dietary nutrient that has many important functions in the body including growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. In addition, the potassium in apples may have beneficial effects for heart health and blood pressure control. All these health benefits in one delicious package!
Make a resolution you can stick with and add the nutritional goodness of Michigan Apples to your daily diet. Here are some simple and tasty ways to get started:
Top a bowl of hot whole grain cereal with diced Michigan Apple, chopped nuts, raisins and cinnamon.
Add sautéed Michigan Apple slices or Applesauce as a topping to whole grain pancakes, waffles or French toast.
Bake a batch of whole grain Apple Cinnamon Muffins from our Michigan Apple Healthy Living Menu Planner and freeze the extras for a quick breakfast on the go.
Try this delicious Apple-Pear Oatmeal Smoothie as a healthy way to start your day. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and pure vanilla extract give this smoothie the flavors of apple pie.
Apple-Pear Oatmeal Smoothie
½ cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 medium Michigan Apple, cored and chopped
1 medium pear, cored and chopped
¼ cup milk, plus more as needed
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup ice cubes
Place oats in blender. Process until finely chopped.
Add the rest of the ingredients, starting with just ¼ cup of milk. Puree until smooth, about 2 minutes, adding more milk by the tablespoon as needed to reach desired consistency. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired.
Give your salad a nutritious upgrade by adding diced Michigan Apples to tuna, chicken, or a green salad.
Add thin apple slices to your favorite sandwich – try turkey or peanut butter with apple slices on whole grain bread – delicious!
Toss together some nutritious leftovers to create a tasty lunch bowl – leftover chicken, cooked brown rice, spring greens, sliced apples and slivered almonds for example. Serve with a light dressing on the side. Or try our recipe below:
Harvest Apple Salad – Makes 1 serving
2 cups lettuce mixture
4 slices (2 oz.) reduced-fat turkey breast, cut into strips
1/2 cup thin wedges red Michigan Apples (about 1/2 medium apple)
1/3 cup red or green seedless grapes
1/4 cup (1 oz.) shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons fat-free ranch dressing
Layer ingredients, except dressing, in order listed. Toss gently with dressing when ready to serve.
Suggested Michigan Apple varieties: Empire, Gala, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh, Rome
Recipe source: Michigan Apples
Serve sliced apples dipped in cinnamon sugar for a sweet and healthy dessert.
Top pork chops with sautéed cinnamon apples. Serve with mashed potatoes and a green salad.
Roast veggies with chunks of Michigan Apples for a delicious side dish.
This quick and colorful sheet pan meal combines the healthy goodness of sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red pepper and apples for a complete meal the whole family will love:
Sheet Pan Turkey Sausage, Apples and Vegetables – Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet potatoes, diced
12 ounces turkey sausage, cut into pieces
2 golden delicious Michigan Apples, diced
1-pound Brussels sprouts, halved if large
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss sweet potatoes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast in oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and add the sausage, apples, red pepper and Brussels sprouts to pan and toss with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Return to oven and roast for 15 more minutes.
Remove pan from oven and toss with spices.
Recipe source: Michigan Apples
Add a finely chopped Michigan Apple to a jar of prepared salsa. Serve with whole grain tortilla chips.
Grate an apple on top of vanilla Greek yogurt and add your favorite cinnamon granola for a tasty parfait.
Top whole grain crackers with low fat sharp cheddar cheese and a slice of Michigan Apple.
Make a batch of these simple Apple Peanut Butter Snack bars. The wholesome ingredients are a tasty way to give yourself a mid-afternoon boost:
Apple Peanut Butter Snack Bars – Makes approximately 16 bars
Recipe source: Happy Healthy Mama