Eat More Apples This Holiday Season

same apple in 3 different sizes

This holiday season, focus on incorporating plenty of foods – like apples, for overall health and lower cancer risk – into your holiday and meals. AICR recommends eating five servings of vegetables and fruits daily for lower cancer risk; the USDA says adults should aim for 1½ – 2 cups of fruit each day for health. Fruits add color, sweetness and beauty to your special dishes and meals.

AICR has several recipes that are delicious and festive and add healthful fruits to your holiday table.

Easy Baked Apples with Walnuts and Raisins

There's nothing like staying warm and this recipe delivers. The spiced, baked, apple dessert contains pectin, a type of fiber that helps gut bacteria produce compounds to protect your colon cells. Served fresh from the oven, this warmly spiced dish will help you feel cozy and comfy despite the weather. Enjoy the dish as a dessert or serve it over yogurt for breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples or any variety baking apple
  • 3 Tbsp. whole-wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¾ –1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ –½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ⅓ cup apple cider

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray oven-proof glass pie dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cut apples in half from top to bottom, core and peel. Lay halves flat and cut into medium slices. Place apple slices in large bowl.
  3. In medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture on apples and gently stir until apples are evenly coated with spices. Gently fold in walnuts and raisins.
  4. Spoon apple mixture into prepared pie dish. Drizzle cider evenly over top.
  5. Bake 50–55 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Using spatula, carefully turn over apple mixture to get caramelized sauce from bottom of dish. Serve hot or let cool to room temperature, refrigerate and serve cold later.

Makes 6 servings

Per serving: 151 calories, 3.5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 31 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 5 mg sodium.

Apple Cinnamon Fruit Leather

by Sonja Goedkoop*

For a sweet, healthy treat to make on your own, with warm cinnamon spices. The natural sweetness of the apples are all it takes to satisfy any cravings. Snacking is a great way to add a variety of healthy plant foods to your diet, throughout the day. This fruit leather is rich in fiber and contains quercetin, a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties. For a tasty and unique alternative, replace the apples with pears and the cinnamon with cardamom.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium apples, chopped
  • 1–2 cup water
  • 1 large date, pitted
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

  1. Place chopped apples in medium saucepan with water. Bring to simmer, cover and cook about 10 minutes.
  2. Add pitted date and cinnamon and mash. Cover and cook another 2–3 minutes on low heat.
  3. Put mixture into blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  4. Pour onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat and spread with spatula into thin layer.
  5. Bake at 175–200° (as low as your oven will go) for 2–3 hours or until it's tacky but doesn't stick to your finger.
  6. Cut into 12 strips

Makes 12 servings

Per serving: 45 calories, 0 g total fat, 12 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 mg sodium.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Ginger and Turmeric Hot Cider

This warm apple cider is a great comfort drink on a cold holiday night. Turmeric gets its yellow hue from the class of cancer-fighting curcuminoids. Ginger also gives it a pungent kick. Both of these are being studied for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh sweet apple cider
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh turmeric
  • 1½-inch by ½-inch strip lemon peel, white part included

Directions

In small saucepan, combine cider, ginger, turmeric and lemon peel. Over medium-high heat, heat until ring of bubbles appears around edge of pan, 3 minutes. Cover pan and set aside to steep for 5 minutes.

Makes 1 servings

Per serving: 120 calories, 0 g total fat ( 0 g saturated fat), 30 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g dietary fiber, 8 mg sodium.

*Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is a registered dietitian at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great.

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