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An apple a day and...

September 18, 2013
By Cheryl Rude , Marshall Independent

The apple orchards are open and now is the season for cooking and baking with tasty, fresh apples. It is so nice to have a variety of fresh apples available and to be able to incorporate them into our menus. Apples are a very versatile fruit - they taste great fresh as a snack, they can be part of an entree or salad and, of course, they lend themselves well to some of our favorite desserts!

Apple crisp and apple pie are probably two of the more traditional favorite apple desserts. And even though the main ingredient (the apple) is pretty low in calories and low in fat, by the time we add the sugar and fat that our recipes call for, we often have a pretty high calorie and high fat dessert in the end.

I enjoy experimenting with recipes to see if I can work out some of the fat and calories - sometimes it works just fine, other times, not so well. I guess you could call it a "makeover" of a recipe. There are a couple of other dietitians who have a popular website devoted to "making over" recipes to help make them more healthful, yet at the same time, still tasty. Their names are Janice Newell Bissex and Liz Weiss and their website is The following is a tasty recipe from their recipe collection that takes our traditional apple crisp and makes it over into a healthier and still tasty dessert. The addition of blueberries helps replace the sweetness that the sugar would provide. And the use of canola oil, walnuts and flax seed add some healthy omega-3s! If you're up to trying a new twist on an old favorite, you might enjoy this recipe too.

Apple Blueberry Walnut Crisp

3 large apples (about 2 pounds), unpeeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 4 cups)

2 T brown sugar

2 T whole wheat flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats

2 T brown sugar

2 T whole wheat flour

2 T ground flax seed or wheat germ

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

2 T canola oil


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (375 degrees for a glass dish). Place the apples, brown sugar, flour, vanilla and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss to coat. Gently stir in the blueberries.

2. Place the apple mixture in an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray, and set aside.

3. To make the topping, place the walnuts, oats, brown sugar, flour, flax seed, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the oil and stir until the oat mixture is well-coated. Spread the topping evenly over the fruit mixture.

4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit is tender and the topping is golden brown (cover loosely with foil about halfway through if the topping browns too quickly).

Tip: Top each serving with low fat vanilla frozen yogurt or a dollop of lite whipped topping.

Makes: 6 or 9 servings - depending on the size you plan to serve

Nutrition information for 1/6 of recipe: 260 calories, 13 grams fat (1 g saturated, 1.8 g omega-3), 55 mg sodium, 34 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 10% Vitamin C)

Cheryl Rude is a registered dietitian at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center. In addition to her column, you can also find nutrition tips and ideas on the blog she writes at



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