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AHA News: A Sweet Super Bowl Treat That Won't Sack Your Health

THURSDAY, Jan. 30, 2020 (American Heart Association News) -- Nachos are as much a part of the Super Bowl tradition as sports channel hype and over-the-top halftime shows. Unfortunately, traditional cheese-goo-on-fried-chips nachos are a totally blown call nutritionally.

So, as you make plans for the big game, consider apple nachos – a sweet, vegan alternative that won't blitz your health.

"There are so many things to love about this recipe, which gives you plant-based protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats," said Deanne Kelleher, a registered dietitian and academic specialist at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

The recipe has sunflower seeds, almonds and peanut butter, all of which contain potassium. "Potassium helps with your blood pressure and muscles and your overall health, and we don't get enough of it in our diet," she said.

Apples – the main ingredient – keep the doctor away, as the old saying goes.

"Having whole fruit, including the skin, is so much better than fruit juice. It provides complex carbs and fiber, which helps us feel full and gives us a more even blood sugar throughout the day," Kelleher said.

Aside from a tiny amount of honey, the recipe punts any added sugar, which has zero nutrients but lots of extra calories.

"People already have too much added sugar every day," she said. "Added sugar isn't necessary in this recipe. The fruit itself is naturally sweet."

Apple Nachos

  • 1/3 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries or raisins

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (unsalted)

  • 2 Tbsp hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds

  • 3 red or green apples, cored and thinly sliced into about 12 pieces each

  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp water

  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat, smooth peanut butter

  • 1 Tbsp honey

In a small bowl, combine dried cranberries or raisins, almonds and sunflower seeds.

Core each apple and thinly slice into about 12 pieces each. Layer half the apples onto a large plate or platter. If the apple slices will be sitting out for a while, sprinkle a little lemon juice over them to prevent browning.

Using the microwave or a teapot, bring 2 tablespoons water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine hot water, peanut butter and honey. Use a spoon and stir until mixture is smooth.

Use the spoon to drizzle half the peanut butter mixture over the plated apple slices; sprinkle with half the cranberry mixture. Layer the remaining apples on top and repeat with remaining peanut butter and cranberry mixture. Serve.

Cooking tip: When using sticky substances like honey or peanut butter in a recipe, coat the measuring spoon or measuring cup with cooking spray for easier removal.

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