You probably don’t give a lot of thought to the lowly apple, but nutritionists (and The Mamas) wish you would. It is one of the most nutritious and delicious everyday foods you can share with your family.
Apple season is about to explode from coast to coast and we want to give you some good, hard facts that will encourage you to grab a bunch of them while they are just coming off the trees. Then do your best to make sure that they make it into the mouths and lunch boxes of your babes.
Here are just a few of the many reasons why you might want to make apples the new go-to snack for your whole family:
1. Apples stimulate the production of saliva, which reduces tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria in the mouth. Who doesn’t want their child to have healthier gums and whiter teeth?
2. Apples are packed with antioxidants, powerful compounds that fight many diseases. A recent study found that one of the antioxidants found in apples helps boost the immune system, especially during times of stress.
3. Apples fight the development of many kinds of cancer, including pancreatic, liver, colon and breast.
3. Apples are an excellent source of fiber which provides a huge list of health benefits-it helps to prevent diarrhea and constipation, maintain a healthy weight, and lower the risk for diabetes and heart disease.
5. Apples are a good source of Vitamin C. Just one contains up to 25% of your child’s daily requirement.
6. Apples contain boron, an important mineral which helps to build and maintain strong bones.
7. Apples are fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, just 65 – 80 calories and mouthwateringly delicious!
How to get the most out of this fabulous food:
- Serve it to your kids in its whole, original form-unvarnished and straight up. No substitutions or alterations, please. Make sure you don’t accidentally eliminate all the good, wholesome stuff in those crunchy, juicy gems by trying to make them more “kid friendly.” For example: keep the peel! Please! Half the fiber is in it, so don’t take it off!
- Also, make sure you don’t substitute apple juice or apple sauce for the whole fruit. Again, you lose a lot of fiber and add unwanted sugar and calories.
- One of the best tricks I’ve found for getting kids to eat their apples instead of tossing them out is to quarter them and remove the core. This makes them a lot easier to eat and there’s no garbage to get rid of later. Letting the kids spread or dip a little peanut butter on top is also a good way to get them down the hatch. And cut up with a little cheese on the side is always a popular way to serve them, too.
- Go for variety: One of mine loves red, the other two are more fond of green and yellow. Try them all and have your children rate their favorites.
- Same thing for temperature. I love them chilled from the fridge. To me, they’re crunchier and sweeter that way but my youngest prefers them at room temperature. Give both ways a shot and see which one yours like best!