Apples are a nutritious, versatile food that can be used in a variety of snacks and meals. There are many varieties which means that if you like sweet or tart, crispy or soft, there is an apple out there for every member of the family. Best of all? Kids love them. Apples are some of the earliest fruits that kids begin to eat, and are easily available, even at fast food restaurants, as a healthy snack. Sometimes it can get boring just cutting up apple slices to munch on. There are lots of ways to use apples, not just as fun snacks, but to encourage kids to eat other foods they may not want to try. We love using fun cooking hacks to encourage a healthy lifestyle while indulging in yummy flavors.
Here are 3 ideas for cooking with apples your kids will love!
- Apple-Veggie Medley: There are so many vegetables out there that are so good, but kids avoid them. In the fall season in particular, tubers are in season, and children often turn up their noses. Try creating a medley with apples and these filling foods. Cut up some sweet apples, maybe honey crisps, with beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes or yams. Squash’s flavor also works well in a dish like this. Sprinkle it with seasonings you know the family loves. It can even be sweet instead of savory. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice can make a healthy side dish taste like dessert. Bake between 350-375 degrees fahrenheit or 176-190 degrees celsius for 30-45 minutes. Serve with the protein of your choice and enjoy! This dish also makes a great side at holiday meals.
- Apple Muffins: Sometimes you just need a grab-and-go breakfast, and having tasty, healthy muffins to heat up (or not depending on how quickly you need to get out the door) made ahead of time can help your family eat quickly and feel full longer than other quick eats. There are many recipes online for making these muffins, but they generally have a few things in common: whole wheat flour (or gluten free alternative), baking powder, favored spices, salt, apples, coconut or olive oil, maple syrup or honey to sweeten, apple sauce, and vanilla extract. Some recipes also use Greek yogurt. Whip them up Saturday or Sunday night, and be armed and ready for your busiest mornings that week. Fun fact: these recipes can work for carrots and bananas too!
- Apple chips: Who doesn’t love a crunchy bag of chips? Sometimes though, chips are covered in oils and salt, or come in bags so big it can be too easy to eat too many. Apple chips are a tasty alternative that can be made in either a toaster oven or a full-sized one, with a knife, a mandoline, or an electric slicer. This recipe works best baking at low temperatures (approximately 200 degrees fahrenheit or 93 degrees celsius) for longer periods of time, so it works best on a day when you are less busy. Take the apple of your choice, and slice them into rounds. Put them in a bowl and coat the apples in the spices of your choice. Some good options for savory chips include thyme, rosemary, and sage. For a sweet chip, cinnamon, nutmeg, and just a hint of sugar are great options. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray it with a cooking spray. Line out the apples flat on the pan. Bake for 2-3 hours, and let cool. Make sure you pack them in your kids’ lunchboxes!
Playing with recipes is fun, and taking our favorite foods and finding excuses to incorporate them even more into our diet is even better.
What are your favorite ways to cook with apples?