Meatless Monday: Baked Apples

Peel the Granny Smith apples about a quarter of the way down.

The adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is good advice. A balanced diet that includes apples can help strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation associated with obesity-related diseases, according to a 2010 study in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

At only 65 calories, a small apple offers 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Including 5 to 10grams of soluble fiber in your daily diet reduces the level of LDL (low-density lipoproteins, “bad cholesterol”) by about 5 percent, says Today’s Dietitian. Besides apples, find soluble fiber in oat bran and barley; nuts and seeds; beans, lentils and peas; and other fruits and vegetables, according to the National Library of Medcine.

Today’s Baked Apples use pantry staples, so make them anytime. Don’t be shy about sharing them with guests, though. This dish makes an attractive presentation at holiday celebrations, too.

Per Serving: 279 calories, 4.3g (cholesterol 10mg)

Serves 4. Serving Size: one apple.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup, coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup, dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup, finely chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tsp., cinnamon
  • 2 tsp., unsalted butter

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Starting at the top, peel the apples a quarter of the way down their sides.
  3. Core apples carefully, using an apple corer or small knife, to create a wide top opening (about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter) while keeping the bottom of the apple intact.
  4. Toss together nuts, sugar, apricots and cinnamon. Gently pack mixture into apples and place a half-teaspoon of butter on top of each.
  5. Place apples in an 8-inch square deep baking pan. Pour water into pan, about a quarter-inche deep.
  6. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.

If desired, serve with low-fat frozen yogurt or fat-free sour cream.

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