Apples have a well-deserved reputation for being one of the best healthy snack options around. For a fruit, they are low in calories, transport well and have a reasonably good shelf life, so its easy to understand their popularity. In addition to being a great snack alone, they can be made into apple cider, apple butter, and apple juice. For the longest time though, only a handful of varieties of apples were available to choose from. There was the classic Red Delicious, the Yellow Delicious, and Granny Smith. Now, of course, the array of apples for consumers to choose from has exploded. Throw in those varieties backed by marketing campaigns, and the choices are almost dizzying. When dieters consider how many calories in an apple, the decision to incorporate them into a weight loss regimen becomes a no-brainer, and the information below can help consumers match the best variety with the intended use.
According to the USDA’s food database, generically speaking, there are 4.4-grams of fiber and 95-calories in an apple that’s 3-inches in diameter (medium sized), with the skin attached. Remove the skin, and those values fall to 2.1-grams of fiber and 77-calories. The following table lists the calories in a few of the commonly available apples in supermarkets. Naturally, there are (quite literally) hundreds of “heirloom” apples most of us will never see, much less taste. But this will gives a feel for what the average consumer could see on supermarket shelves at any given moment in time.
What becomes apparent is that although the flavor and texture of different apple varieties varies quite a bit, the nutritional content of apples doesn’t change a great deal. So, when it comes to selecting apples, pick out the combination of texture, sweetness, and flavor you find most appealing. It makes eating well a much simpler proposition.
Nutritionally speaking, the fiber in apples includes a large amount of pectin, which is soluble fiber that has been shown to reduce cholesterol and can allay hunger pains. In point of fact, eating an apple before meals has been shown to reduce overall calorie consumption.
When it comes to selecting the right apple for any given application, the following tips provide a foundation:
- For baking, choose apples with a balance of tart and sweet flavor. Apples should have a firm flesh, so as to withstand cooking without breaking down. Good choices include: Granny Smith, Cortland, Gala, and Jonagold.
- For general eating, most consumers prefer something sweeter, with a flesh that’s less firm. Favorites include: Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Winesap, and Granny Smith (tart)
- For applesauce, select apples with a softer flesh, so they can be cooked quickly. Some of the most popular include: Pippin, Fuji, and Gala.
Because there are so few calories in apple, they make excellent healthy snack options eaten straight out of the hand. Kids enjoy them as well, particularly when dipped in peanut butter. Kids aren’t always fans of the peel, but if possible, try to entice kids to eat the peel, as the majority of fiber and nutrients are lost if the apple is peeled.