6 Gut-Healthy Desserts to Help You Use All Those Apples You Picked

Apple cobbler makes for a sweet and crunchy dessert.
Image Credit: peterotoole/iStock/GettyImages

While we wouldn't recommend a bushel as a cure-all, there ​is​ some truth to the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Eating apples can also support a healthy gut, which is all about getting that good bacteria. And apples contain various compounds, including a prebiotic fiber called pectin, says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of ​Smoothies & Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen​.

"Pectin is a soluble fiber that helps foster the growth of beneficial gut bacteria while inhibiting the growth of harmful gut bacteria," Largeman-Roth says.

Eating apples regularly is also associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease, according to a June 2003 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (This was part of the extensive Women's Health Survey, which looked at 40,000 women over multiple years.)

And eating white-fleshed fruits like pears or apples is tied to a reduced risk of stroke, according to a September 2011 study in Stroke.

So, for a happy belly this apple-picking season, we've rounded up some of the tastiest apple dessert recipes because who says dessert can't be healthy?

Are You Getting Enough Fruits and Veggies?

Track the number of fruits and vegetables you eat every day by logging your meals on the MyPlate app. Download now to fine-tune your diet today!

1. Single-Serving Apple Cobbler

These single-serving cobblers deliver sweetness in the perfect portion.
Image Credit: Jackie Newgent, RDN

You'd be hard-pressed to find a low-sugar apple cobbler recipe because apples contain a lot of sugar. But when you eat fruit, you're reaping the other nutrients, including fiber and antioxidants.

In fact, eating more fruit has been linked with a decreased risk of developing chronic conditions, including obesity, cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease, according to a September 2012 study in the European Journal of Nutrition.

That said, you can make a lower-sugar apple cobbler dessert by scaling back on portion size and the amount of added sugar — and this one does just that!

Get the Single-Serving Apple Cobbler recipe and nutrition info here.

2. Spiced Apple Chips

Image Credit: Jackie Newgent, RDN

Nothing smells more like fall than spiced apples. Spiced apple chips are, perhaps, the sweeter, less-hipster cousin of the kale chip. And good news when it comes to baking apples: The nutrition stays roughly the same.

"The only nutrient that is lost during cooking or baking is vitamin C, which is heat- and light-sensitive," Largeman-Roth says.

If you're going to cook or bake your apples, Marisa Moore, RDN, recommends cooking or baking them for a shorter period of time, which can retain more of the vitamin C than if they're cooked longer.

Get the Spiced Apple Chips recipe and nutrition info here.

3. Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

You can freeze a batch of these and pack one for lunch in the morning — by then it'll have defrosted.

Muffins are perfect for breakfast, of course, but top them with a little icing and voila! You have a fancy dessert.

While gluten-free foods aren't necessarily healthier, baking with oat flour, like this recipe calls for, is a fun way to experiment with new ingredients that are safe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerances.

Get the Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins recipe and nutrition info at All the Healthy Things.

4. Apple-Walnut Overnight French Toast

Apple walnut french toast is a delicious brunch dish that'll please a crowd.

While we're on the foods-that-can-be-breakfast-or-dessert train, apples provide a natural sweetness to a simple french toast without excess sugar. Keep the peel on, which is a good source of fiber, Largeman-Roth says. (Just be sure to wash the apples first!)

Get the Apple-Walnut Overnight French Toast recipe at Frances Largeman-Roth.

5. Sparkling Apple-Ginger Mocktail

Refreshing and crisp, this apple-ginger mocktail is the perfect after-dinner sipper.

Kick back and relax with a sweet, refreshing treat after dinner sans alcohol. Ginger, which adds a little zing to your drink, also helps with digestion and fights inflammation. One glass of this fall mocktail clocks in at under 100 calories.

Get the sparkling Apple-Ginger Mocktail recipe and nutrition info at Marisa Moore.

6. Hot Apple Sunrise Sundae

Top your apples with greek yogurt for breakfast, or go for a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Image Credit: LiveStrong

While this recipe calls for Greek yogurt, we like it with a scoop of real vanilla ice cream when the mood strikes. Dairy, like yogurt (especially the full-fat version, which can help you feel full), is a good source of calcium and protein, according to the USDA.

And when you add nuts, like pecans, you'll get a boost of heart-healthy fats and extra crunch.

Get the Hot Apple Sunrise Sundae recipe and nutrition info here.

references