Sunday, February 4, 2007

Eating Fruit in the Winter

One of the things about living in Canada in the winter is the abysmal state of fresh produce. We have to get creative when it comes to getting in our 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables. During our last coaching call Becky and I talked about some other ways to get our 5-10 fruits and vegetables when the produce section looks in such a sorry state in January and February. Consider eating canned and frozen fruits and vegetables in the winter months. Don't forget dessert recipes such as apple crisp as a way to eat apples that aren't as crispy or tastey as they are in the fall. This makes a huge quantity to be enjoyed throughout the week. Or, consider halfing the recipe.

Apple Crisp
(Taken from The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil & Rosie Daley – thank you Carolyn Fiset)

12 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup light-brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tbsp. whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3/4 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil or grapeseed oil
1/3 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375
Toss the sliced apples in a large bowl with the cranberries, lemon juice, 1/3 cup of light brown sugar, 1 tsp. of cinnamon and the whole wheat pastry flour. Pile the apple mixture into an 8x10 baking dish.
Mix together the ingredients fro the topping and spread over the apples. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 minutes more until the apples are soft.

How is this part of a nutritious meal?
• Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Since 1963, study after study has proven the beneficial effects of this special fiber on cholesterol levels. Studies show that in individuals with high cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%. This is highly significant since each 1% drop in serum cholesterol translates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. High cholesterol levels correlate with the build up of plaques in blood vessel walls. If these plaques become damaged or simply grow too large, they can rupture, blocking a blood vessel and causing a heart attack, stroke, or blood clots elsewhere in the body. Lowering high cholesterol levels can therefore significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
• Apples contain both insoluble and soluble fiber. One medium (5 ounces) unpeeled apple provides over 3 grams of fiber, more than 10% of the daily fiber intake recommended by experts. Even without its peel, a medium apple provides 2.7 grams of fiber.
• Cranberries have long been valued for their ability to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Now, recent studies suggest that this native American berry may also promote gastrointestinal and oral health, prevent the formation of kidney stones, lower LDL and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, aid in recovery from stroke, and even help prevent cancer.

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