Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An apple (or two!) a day.....

This is definitely a favorite in our house and we've made lots of different twists on it. The base is simply an apple or a pear (a sturdier fruit that will keep it's shape when cut and then held).  Then choose your base for a spread.  We like to use natural peanut butter or almond butter.  The natural nut butters  aren't hydrogenated  (the process of adding hydrogen to a liquid fat such as peanut oil to turn it into a solid fat).  Hydrogenated foods, as most processed foods are, have a larger impact on health such as increasing the risk of heart disease.  And we definitely don't want any of that!   (You could also use Sunbutter if you are a nut-free family.)

As for the toppings, we use any dried fruit, but it's typically raisins or craisins because they are a staple in the pantry.  Then we may also add some dried oats, or granola if I have it made and on hand, on top of the dried fruit.   I've found that this is a great snack or lunch and a fun easy activity to do with the kids.  There isn't much involved (except a little mess from cleaning up the peanut butter if they do the spreading!).  And it's very nutritious :)  Here's the highlights of this fun little sandwich:

  • Fiber: the star of the this recipe.  the apple, dried fruit, and oats all offer a fiber source
  • Iron:  although a very small amount in this serving, raisins can offer a small amount of iron
  • Protein: from peanut butter
  • Fat: Healthy monounsaturated fat

Snacks that are high in fiber and have a small amount of protein are great for kids to keep them satisfied until a meal.  It's not high in sugar so the blood sugar crash (making cranky kids!) should not be too likely.  And as a plus, this snack is super fun to make along with them.  Be open and ready for a mess though because it's likely to happen.  However, when we have made this the boys are so proud of themselves for spreading the peanut butter on the apple slices.   Who can say no to that?!  *Note:  some help required for the little tikes*, otherwise, you'll be there for hours. 
Having them practice spreading the peanut butter and sprinkle their toppings helps them develop their fine motor skills and the need to focus.  And what kid doesn't like to make their own decisions?  I let them decide what dried fruit (obviously that I have on hand) they want.  They LOVE to pick out their own dried fruit and cereal topping, then sprinkle it on the sandwich, and finally smash it together (I have boys remember....everything is smashed by them).    Then EAT!

Tools you will need:  apple corer and sharp knife

Core the apple with apple corer

See where this is going.....

Slice into 1/4-inch slices

Spread the peanut butter on your apple slices (both top and bottom slices)

sprinkle with your toppings.....

And there you have it!  Magic I tell you....Magic.

Magic Apple Sandwich
  • 2-3 Apples
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup Natural peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/4 cup Raisins, crasins, or dried apricots (or other dried fruit)
  • 1/4 cup Dried whole oats other whole grain cereal (such as granola, Grape Nuts, Kashi Whole Grain Nuggets

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