Applesauce makes for a healthy alternative for oil and butter in baked goods, but this versatile fruit puree shouldn't be limited to muffins, cakes and cookies. Bursting with vitamin C and fiber, applesauce can add a sweet (and nutritious) touch to your morning meal.
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Applesauce can also beef up the beneficial bacteria in your belly. That's because apples (and applesauce) possess pectin, "a soluble prebiotic fiber that can help increase the good bacteria in our gut while inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria we don't want," Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
And when pectin ferments in your large intestine, it produces short-chain fatty acids that can improve gut barrier function, which, in turn, may decrease inflammation and oxidative stress, Harris-Pincus says.
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What's more, these short-chain fatty acids are linked to playing a role in blood sugar control, healthier cholesterol levels, immune function, appetite regulation and obesity, she adds.
Start your day on the right foot with these breakfast recipes using applesauce that boast 5 or more grams of gut-friendly fiber.
When you’re purchasing applesauce, just remember to avoid artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
1. Greek Yogurt Pancakes With Strawberries
- Calories: 259
- Fiber: 7 grams
Topped with juicy, sweet strawberries, these gorgeous griddlecakes get a protein upgrade thanks to Greek yogurt, which yields 9 grams per serving. Applesauce — which stands in for sugar and butter — keeps the calorie count in check without sacrificing the flavor in these crowd-pleasing pancakes. And using whole-wheat pastry flour instead of the all-purpose variety bumps up your breakfast's B vitamins.
Get the Greek Yogurt Pancakes With Strawberries recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Gluten-Free Protein-Packed Cinnamon Roll Waffles
- Calories: 365
- Fiber: 12 grams
Fluffy and soft, these cinnamon roll waffles will crush your Cinnabon cravings without all the empty calories and added sugar. Sweetened with raw honey and applesauce, these moist waffles will melt in your mouth and help maintain muscle with the addition of plant-based pea protein. Just two waffles pack a whopping 23 grams of the filling macro.
Get the Gluten-Free Protein-Packed Cinnamon Roll Waffles recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Apple-Cinnamon-Almond Smoothie
- Calories: 314
- Fiber: 6 grams
Fall is in the air, and there's no better way to awaken to a crisp autumn morning than sipping on this apple cinnamon smoothie. Your favorite fall spices — cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg — lend warm, comfy flavors while a drizzle of maple syrup, a pinch of vanilla and a dollop of applesauce supply the natural sweetness. Almond butter and flax seeds round out the earthy taste and keep your belly full for hours with satiating, heart-healthy fats.
Get the Apple-Cinnamon-Almond Smoothie recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Best Applesauce Waffles
- Calories: 264
- Fiber: 5.9 grams
Made with ingredients you likely have on hand, these mouthwatering waffles are totally vegan and a perfect addition to a plant-based diet. Single-serve applesauce cups — which contain just half a cup — provide the precise amount of apple puree for this simple yet satisfying recipe. Garnish with good-for-you toppings like fresh berries and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds for a tasty crunch (and an extra dose of healthy, filling fats and protein).
Get the Best Applesauce Waffles recipe and nutrition info at The Simple Veganista.
5. Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes
- Calories: 323
- Fiber: 5 grams
An aromatic medley of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg recreates the signature spicy, savory flavors of a classic carrot cake in these palate-pleasing pancakes made with shredded carrots for texture. These filling flapjacks are jampacked with protein — an impressive 10 grams for two — and supply the fuel you need first thing in the morning.
Whip up a big batch and freeze them, this way you have plenty of pancakes primed and ready to go whenever a carrot cake craving strikes.
Get the Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes recipe and nutrition info at Fit Foodie Finds.