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Apple crisp, with its nice balance of sweet, crunchy and warm fall flavors of cinnamon and brown sugar, will have you licking your lips without any guilt. It satisfies your sweet tooth while also checking the box for important nutritional recommendations.
The latest Nutritional Guidelines recommend keeping the added sugars in your food to no more than 10% of your daily calories. For a 2000 calorie diet, that’s 200 calories.
That 200 calories includes all the sugar added to other foods you may be eating during the day: cereal, flavored yogurt, crackers, cookies, the sugar in beverages and even foods like tomato sauces. 200 calories isn’t much of a sugar allowance, but that’s because there are so many other foods your body needs to perform at its best and keep you healthy.
But with this dessert, since it’s made with oatmeal and whole apples, it doesn’t need much sugar so taste isn’t compromised. Plus, it satisfies other nutritional guidelines like: making at least 50% of your grains whole grain and eating more whole fruits.
And since the apples aren’t surrounded by pie crust, there is much less saturated fat from butter or trans-fat from Crisco. I prefer it to pie because the nice crunchy topping adds a texture dimension that brings more joy to my mouth than a flaky pie crust. And if it’s served warm from the oven….I’m in heaven.
Fruit of the season
A crisp is so versatile; it’s really a vehicle for delivering whatever fruit is in season in delicious way.
I can remember how my Uncle Arnold would make a pie for each month with whatever fruit was in season. He would make strawberry rhubarb pie in early summer, blueberry pie mid-summer, peach pie in the late summer, and of course apple pie in the fall.
You can do the same thing with crisps – in a fraction of the time that it takes to make a pie – especially if you use frozen fruit. I made a delicious mango crisp last winter that was both tart and sweet using frozen sliced mangoes. It took less than 10 minutes to prepare, baked while we were eating dinner and was ready to eat by the time the dinner dishes were put away.
Enjoy this crisp without the guilt
A crisp does not need much added sugar. I mix my fruit, depending on the fruit, with either nutmeg or cinnamon, and a couple of tablespoons of whole wheat pastry flour or oat flour. I save the sugar for the topping. I like to layer the fruit, thinly sliced, about 2” thick and cook it a bit slower so that the fruit is soft, enhancing sweetness and making a better syrup. Leave that skin right on the apple. That’s fiber and extra nutritional goodness. Besides, you won’t know it’s even there if you slice the apples thinly.
Apple Crisp Recipe
- 4 medium apples – I love Macoun or Macintosh
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp oat or whole wheat flour
- 3/4 stick softened butter (6 tbsp)
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- Preheat oven to 375. Grease an 8” square dish or equivalent in size.
- Thinly slice cored apples, leaving skin intact in to large bowl and toss with ¼ tsp cinnamon and two tbsp oat or whole wheat flour then place in dish.
- In the same bowl mix the rest of the 5 ingredients using a pastry cutter until the butter is well mixed with the rest of the ingredients.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the apples bubble and the top is lightly browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving with ice cream or whipped cream.
This recipe makes 6 servings. Each serving contains 42 g of carbs, 3.6 gms of fiber, 7 gms of saturated fat and 290 calories. There is sugar naturally in fruit but that is not considered an added sugar, just the brown sugar counts. Each serving of crisp contains 18 gms of sugar amounting to 72 calories from sugar (there are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate, and sugar is a carbohydrate). That leaves you a little sugar wiggle room for whipped cream on the side and the sugar you may put in your coffee in the morning.
If you have kept your other treats at bay earlier in the day you can enjoy this dessert without guilt, knowing you are also giving yourself some healthy soluble fiber, a serving of fruit and some whole grains all packaged up in a lip-smacking, heart-warming, gut-satisfying and soul-comforting way. That’s my kind of dessert!