Fruit really is nature’s candy! All it takes is the right execution and presentation to convince children. To make your case, I suggest starting with the apple. This fruit is available most of the year (which means they can eat it most of the year) and is filled with body healthy fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants, among other things. So, why not use apples as your guinea pig to teach the natural sweetness of fruit, and prove, once and for all, that fruit can be just as delicious as processed candy!
Problem: Parents love the idea of incorporating fruit into their children’s meals and desserts, but unfortunately it can be a difficult sell. Eating a standard apple can be daunting for kids and quite challenging when loose teeth are involved! Prepackaged apple pastry treats are understandably welcomed with open arms, but the buttery apple mixture and processed pastry don’t model a healthy treat. So what can we do to create a healthy treat with the same delectable sweetness?
Solution: A healthy take on the much beloved apple pie will be a hit with the whole family! Simply slice an apple into thin discs. Lightly coat a nonstick saucepan with a portion of pumpkin butter. A large tablespoon is usually enough for a medium apple (about the size of a fist). Place apple slices in one layer on the pan and add a bit more pumpkin butter on top to spread the flavor. Add a small sprinkle of water to prevent the sugar in the pumpkin butter from thickening and burning the pan. Cover and cook on low heat until warm and tender (approximately 2 minutes). Flip the apple slices with a fork, cover, and cook on the other side for an additional minute. Time may vary depending on the thickness of the slices. They are done when warm throughout and tender rather than crispy. Remove the apples from the saucepan, and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and finely broken granola. This is a great, easy treat for dessert any night!
Buying Tip: The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental health advocacy and research organization in the United States, produces a consumer guide ranking 48 fruits and vegetables with pesticide residue. The higher the rank, the lower the residue, so the fruit is less affected than the exterior. Unfortunately, non-organic apples rank number one on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list, and many conventionally grown apples are banned in Europe. So choose organic whenever possible, or visit local orchards that may not be organic, but grow fruit with minimal agricultural chemicals.
The Environmental Working Group and Yoffie Life stress that consuming conventionally grown vegetables and fruits when the organic version is unavailable or financially impossible is far better than eating none at all.
- Apple Pie Yogurt Extravaganza. Mash up graham crackers and sprinkle over the top of the apple mixture, and add a small dollop of vanilla-bean yogurt to create a parfait-type dessert treat.
- Sandwich topper. Put the warmed apples on a turkey sandwich for a fresh new taste.
- Add grass-fed butter. If you prefer a little more indulgence and a creamier consistency, you can add a small dollop of grass-fed butter to the pumpkin butter when initially heating. A dollop the size of the top joint of your index finger is all you need!