October is National Apple Month. Put your pumpkin flavored treats to the side for a minute and hear me out.

Niagara County has so many gorgeous apple orchards with more varieties than we can count! All these different apples mean different colors, flavors and textures.

No matter which apple is your favorite (mine is a good Red Delicious), they are all packed with nutrients. A medium apple, with peel, provides about 60 calories, 14g carbohydrate, 2g fiber and 10g natural sugar. It’s also a great source of vitamin C and potassium. These nutrients can help you prevent certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and even certain cancers as part of an overall healthy eating pattern.

Apples are found in local supermarkets, corner stores and farmers markets. If your family uses a SNAP EBT card, you are eligible for Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB)! That's a great program where you can double up the produce you get whenever you use your SNAP card. Apples are a great “double up” choice because of their long shelf life. For more information visit doubleupnys.org.

Apples make a great snack starter. Pair one with a protein-rich food like cheddar cheese, peanut butter, yogurt or milk for a combination of fiber and protein that keeps you satisfied for a longer period of time.

For a sweet twist on apples, try this fun recipe, adapted from SNAP4CT.org.

Apple Nachos

Serves 2 • Prep time 10 minutes

Ingredients

2 apples, any variety, sliced with peel on

2 tablespoons peanut butter or sun butter

3 tablespoons chocolate chips

Directions

Arrange apple slices on a plate so none are overlapping.

Carefully melt chocolate chips in a microwave for about 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Chocolate will be smooth and shiny when melted. Drizzle the melted chocolate over apple slices.

Melt peanut butter in a microwave carefully. Microwave for about 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Drizzle peanut butter over apple slices.

Enjoy and refrigerate any leftovers within two hours.

Notes

This recipe provides your body with 270 calories, 13g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 5g protein, 80mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate, 8g added sugar and 6g fiber.

You can make this recipe your own by changing up the toppings. Try flake coconut, raisins, berries, honey, banana slices — or leave the chocolate chips not melted and sprinkle them instead.

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I can’t write about our delicious local apples without thinking of the hardworking farmers and all the farm helpers who help those apples grow and get to our tables. Thank you!

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If you’re interested in learning more about healthy cooking that saves you money, check out the Extension on Facebook @cceniagaracounty or email jah625@cornell.edu. Visit www.SNAPEDNY.org for more tips and tricks and to find virtual classes.

SNAP-Ed is funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. To find out more, call 1-800-352-8401. 

Justine Hays, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., is the senior SNAP-Ed nutritionist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. 

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