I am always looking for fun, creative and delicious snacks that my kids will actually eat. Since it’s October, and apples are in season, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to come up with a fun snack you can serve the whole family that is both nutritious and delicious. I have been really digging the apple selection at my local grocery store so I came home with a whole bunch one day and decided it was time to make something extra special when my daughter came home from school. Cue the easy sauteed apple wreath.
This sauteed apple snack has ZERO ADDED SUGARS! I sauteed them in coconut oil and cinnamon which really brings out the natural sweetness of the apples. Then I topped them with drizzled almond butter and coconut butter for a little fat and protein. I topped the whole thing with cacao nibs for crunch but my kids were not a huge fan. I love them but my kids picked them off. Oh well, I tried. Mini chocolate chips would be a good alternative, although that would add some processed sugar. Gotta pick your battles.
Health Benefits of Apples:
- Apples are high in Vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber, minerals and phytonutrients.
- Apples are high in flavinoids and antioxidants
- They have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and stroke
- They are high in quercetin, a compound that has been shown to decrease cellular death that is caused by oxidation and inflammation of the neurons. As a result, apples are considered protective against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- One study in rats showed an improved microbiome of the gut bacteria that was favorable to decrease obesity.
Wild apples are far superior to our domesticated modern varieties. Ounce for ounce, Sikkim wild apples from Nepal were found to have 100x more phytonutrients than our favorite apples. But don’t expect to see them in your grocery store anytime soon. They are bitter and very small (like the size of a raisin small). There are some heritage apple orchards making a comback so be sure to check out your local varieties. Even if you don’t see any ancient varieties, we can still take a close look at all our options when deciding how to chose the best apple at the supermarket.
How to Get the Most Nutrient Density out of your Apples:
- Shop local. Look for heritage orchards.
- Choose one of the following varieties: Braeburn, Cortland, Discovery, Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Idared, McIntosh, Melrose, Ozark Gold, and Red Delicious.
- Choose fruit that is the most colorful on all sides. These are higher in phytonutrients.
- Apples at the top of the tree are more nutritious than apples hanging low. They are sun drenched, sweeter, contain 2x as many antioxidants and 3x as much quercetin (a powerful flavinoid). Consider this if you go apple picking.
- Eat the skins. They have 50% more phytonutrients and are the only part of the apple that can inhibit the growth of human cancer cells.
- Buy organic. Conventional apples are on the top of the list for pesticide use.
How to Store Apples:
- Apples last 10x longer when stored in the refrigerator.
- They store best in the crisper drawer with the humidity set to high.
- Early apples harvested in July and August only stay fresh for a few weeks.
- Apples ripen late in the season can be stored for several months.
Easy Sauteed Apple Wreath
- 2 apples, cored and sliced see blog article for the healthiest varieties
- 2 tbs coconut oil
- 1 tsp ceylon cinnamon this type has more health benefits than other varieties
- 2 tbs creamy almond butter I used Trader Joe's brand
- 1 tbs coconut butter melted slightly
- 1 tbs cacao nibs
- Heat coconut oil over medium high heat in a saute pan.
- Add sliced apples and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook until just softened. Remove and place in a row on a plate to shape it like a wreath / circle.
- Melt almond butter and coconut butter separately. Put into separate ziploc bags, cut the tip and use it to drizzle over the apple.
- Sprinkle with cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips (for the kids).
Robinson, Jo. Eating on the Wild Side. 2013.
Nordqvist, Joseph. Medical News Today. Apples: Health benefits, facts, research.