Caramel apples are a classic fall treat, as they're a staple of carnivals and autumn festivals. However, they're loaded with sugar and empty calories. It's not bad to indulge in a caramel apple once in a while, but you shouldn't make it a habit. If you have a craving for the sweet treat, try one of these healthy recipes that have the same great taste with fewer calories and less sugar.
1. Caramel yogurt dip
One equally tasty alternative to the classic carnival treat is a yogurt-based dip that you can serve with apple slices. This recipe cuts back on the sugar and provides healthy probiotics in the yogurt. It's sure to be a hit with your friends at the retirement community.
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, combine salt, maple syrup and sugar. Warm the mixture over low heat, stir constantly. Remove from heat once sugar has dissolved. Stir in the yogurt and vanilla. Allow the mixture to cool before serving. Dip slices of your favorite variety of apples in the mixture. You can also use other fruit like bananas or pears in the dip.
2. Caramel apple salad
This recipe isn't a "salad" in the traditional sense of the word, but it's a low-calorie dessert option that will satisfy your sweet tooth. The fruit provides important vitamins and the peanuts give the treat a boost of protein.
- 4 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
- 8 oz. crushed pineapple with juice
- 1 box sugar-free butterscotch instant pudding
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- 1 cup fat-free whipped topping
In a large bowl, combine chopped apples, pineapples, pudding mix and peanuts. Stir until evenly mixed. Gently fold in the whipped topping. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
3. Caramel apple energy balls
If you want a non-dessert alternative, these snacks are a great option. They contain just four ingredients and can be made in just a few minutes. However, they still have the sweet apple taste that you're craving!
- 1 cup dried apples
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Combine the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process the mixture until a thick paste forms. Scrape the sides to ensure all ingredients are processed. Using a tablespoon of the mixture at a time, roll out 1-inch balls. Place the snacks in the refrigerator for five to 10 minutes before serving.
4. Caramel apple smoothie
For a nutritious and delicious snack on the go, whip up one of these smoothies. It makes the perfect afternoon treat to take along on your errands or when you visit a friend.
- 1/2 cup fresh apple, roughly chopped
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1 Tbsp. caramel sauce
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup ice
Simply place the ingredients in your blender and process until smooth. Feel free to add in your fiber or protein powder for a healthy boost.