One of my favourite dishes is apple crumble. I love it as it is so versatile and so easy to make healthy versions of. You can even serve it with a nice dollop of low fat Greek yoghurt, which adds some calcium and protein to make it a very nutritious dessert (or even breakfast).
The recipe is as follows:
Preheat over to 180 degrees
4-5 large pink lady apples, unpeeled, cut into small thin pieces
Cinnamon (1-2 tsp dependant on taste). I love cinnamon!
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
Enough water to just cover the apples
Place chopped up apples into saucepan with cinnamon, vanilla and water and bring to boil, allow to simmer until the water has been absorbed and apples have broken down (approx. 20 mins)
1 cup of rolled oats (you can use quinoa flakes instead if you like)
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup of almond meal
2 tbsp. chia seeds
3 tbsp. of seed/ nut/ fruit mix or nuts of choice (up to you- I use a cranberry, sunflower and sesame seed mix)
3 tbsp. macadamia oil
3 tbsp. honey/maple syrup etc.
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Heat oil and honey in microwave for approx. 30 seconds and mix through dry ingredients. Put apple mix on base of suitable baking tin, cover with topping (press into base). Put in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until the top has browned. Serve with delicious Greek yoghurt! Yum!
Benefits of this dish: Where do I start!?
- The apples (like all fruits) are a wonderful source of dietary fibre, particularly soluble fibre (contained in the flesh part of the apple), which will not only help to keep the bowels healthy, but can also assist in the regulation of blood sugars. The skin part contains insoluble fibre which acts like a brush in cleaning out the bowels.
- Apples also contain antioxidants which help to prevent oxidative damage associated with the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease and ageing. It’s very important when exercising a lot to consume antioxidants (from whole foods) as exercise equates to oxidative damage, in addition the vitamin C in the apples will also help to assist in the repair of muscle tissue.
- Apples are also a good source of phytochemicals, which are a hot topic in the nutrition world at the moment as they have been associated with inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, regulating inflammatory and immune responses, and protect against lipid oxidation (all very important in the protection of various diseases).
- The topping component of this dish is a great source of fibre (further assisting with bowel cancer protection, weight management and blood sugar control). Oats are one of my favourite foods as they contain beta glucan’s (a soluble fibre contained in oat and barely grain), which have well established evidence for their benefical role in insulin resistance, dyslipidemia (abnormal amount of lipids in the blood), hypertension, and obesity.
- The mix of nuts and seeds (dependant on which you choose) are a good source of omega 3 (most often found in oily fish) and omega 6 (most often found in plant oils). Essential fatty acids are important for cell membranes and are the precursors to other substances within the body responsible for various mechanisms such as the regulation of blood pressure and inflammatory responses (note: it is important to consume omega 3 & 6 in the right ratio as the two have opposing effects within the body).
Further reading and references:
Boyer, J., Hai Lui., R. (2004). Apple phytochemicals and their benefits. Nutrition Journal. 3 (5). Retrieved from: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-3-5.pdf
D. El Khoury, C. Cuda, B. L. Luhovyy, G. H. Anderson. (2012). Beta Glucan: Health Benefits in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3236515/
European Food Information Council. (2008). The importance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Retrieved from http://www.eufic.org/article/en/nutrition/fats/artid/The-importance-of-omega-3-and-omega-6-fatty-acids/