Michigan Apples – Your Ally for Winter Weight Management
by Shari Steinbach, MS RDN
The winter months bring the snow and cold along with shortened days that can make it difficult to stick to a wellness plan, however, incorporating a few small changes into your daily routine can help you stay on track with your health goals and avoid winter weight gain. Make healthy habits easier to follow by incorporating these simple strategies to help you thrive this winter:
Make a plan to move. Setting a regular fitness schedule is the key to keeping weight off in winter. When it’s five o'clock, pitch black and cold outside, you're a lot more likely to go to your warm home and watch TV if you don't have a plan for physical activity. Join a class at your local gym, walk around the mall or get up earlier and slip in an exercise DVD. Also look for ways to simply move more during the day. Take the stairs more often, walk around your office during break times, shovel snow, or do something fun like sledding or ice skating.
Set your kitchen up for success. In his book, Slim By Design – Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, Dr. Brian Wansink describes several ways to organize your kitchen to help it work for your wellness goals: Keep a fruit bowl visible with a variety of items including Michigan Apples; Keep precut veggies in the refrigerator on the middle shelf along with other low-calorie, high-protein snacks such as string cheese and Greek yogurt; Make sure you stock plenty of frozen fruit or vegetables in the freezer for quick side dishes; Use dinner plates that are 9 to 10 inches in diameter and cereal bowls that are less than 16 ounces to help with portion control.
Practice stress management. A lot of eating centers around feelings of anxiety. If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, lonely or sad it’s easy to fall into emotional eating habits if you don’t have coping mechanisms for uncomfortable feelings. Try to shift the focus back to friends and family and the people you enjoy spending time with the most. And if you need a break, take a few minutes of deep breathing to relax yourself in a quiet place. Then ask yourself if you really need that cookie, or you just needed a breather.
Get your zzz’s. With sleep deprivation comes cravings, especially cravings for carbs, sweets and high-calorie foods. Instead, determine how can you delegate some tasks, let go, and get out of that umpteenth holiday party. After all, something has to give. Try to anticipate and plan around a hectic schedule before it happens. Prioritize your to-do list so the most important goals are at the top — getting the sleep you need, making time for your exercise routine and plan healthy meals that include Michigan apples. All of those things together make for better health, which is what your ultimate goal is, right?
Go half plate healthy. Filling half of your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables helps keep calories low and nutrition high. High fiber fruits and veggies help fill you up and curb your desire to overeat higher calorie foods. Fruits such as Michigan Apples, have been shown to help with weight management, and several scientific studies have proven that regular apple intake can lead to weight loss. Michigan Apples are crisp, juicy and sweet, and offer a wonderful package of health benefits – a medium sized apple contains approximately 95 calories and 4 grams of fiber.
Michigan Apples add a healthy dosed of nutrition to any meals:
Chop apples and add them to your hot oatmeal in the morning with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
For lunch, slice up apples and add them to a spinach salad along with chicken or another protein source.
Add apple slices to a grilled ham a low-fat cheese sandwich on whole-grain bread.
Top chicken breasts with sautéed apples and a sprinkle of feta cheese to add a satisfying sweet and savory flavor.
Add apple and sweet potatoes wedges to your roasted or slow cooker pork recipe.
Try our delicious snack recipes below. Each recipe provides balanced nutrition to help you stay full between meals and encourage weight loss.
Cinnamon Apple Energy Balls – A delicious snack with a hot cup of tea on a cold day!
Makes approx. 12 (2 bites) servings
2 cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup ground golden flaxseed
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup almond butter
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 medium Michigan Apple, grated
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flaxseed, and cinnamon.
In another bowl or a liquid measuring cup, stir together the almond butter, honey, vanilla, and pinch of salt until well combined. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated. Stir in the grated apple. (Can use your hands to ensure the mixture is well blended).
Scoop the mixture into tablespoon-sized portions, and use your hands to squeeze mixture together into balls. (Slightly wet hands will help to keep the mixture from sticking).
Store the energy bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for 3-4 days.
Nutrition information per 2 bites: 165 calories, 8g fat, 21g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 4g protein, 48mg sodium
Recipe adaptation and Photo: https://kristineskitchenblog.com/apple-cinnamon-cookie-energy-bites/
Apple and Almond Green Smoothie – A nutrient-rich, energizing snack (or breakfast on-the-go).
Makes 2 servings
2 cups lightly packed spinach
2 Gala apples, cored and roughly chopped
½ cup apple juice
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 cup ice
Put spinach in blender, then put apples, apple juice and almond butter on top of spinach; blend 1 minute or until smooth.
Add ice and blend 30 seconds until smooth. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving: 275 calories, 14g fat, 34g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 5g protein, 132mg sodium
Peanut Butter and Apple Sandwich – A crunchy, satisfying snack to try before your workout.
Makes 6 servings
3/4 cup prepared granola cereal with raisins
2 medium Michigan Apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
Core and slice the apples into 6 rounds. (If you don't have an apple corer, you can slice the apple first and then cut out the centers with a small cookie cutter or knife.)
Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on 6 of the apple slices and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of granola. Top with the remaining apple slices to form sandwiches.
Nutrition information serving: 178 calories, 9g fat, 21g carbohydrate, 3.5g fiber, 5.5g protein, 81mg sodium