Skillet Apple-Cranberry Granola Crisp

Everyone Can Enjoy "Real" Dessert

You don’t have to skip dessert if you’re trying to eat more healthfully or lose weight. There is a place for a sweet ending to any meal.

Fruit, of course, is the perfect, healthful way to end a meal. Each season brings new colors, textures and tastes to the fruit plate.

Fresh fruit can be sliced, mixed and arranged in a variety of appealing ways. Fruits also can be simply baked or grilled, which intensifies their sweetness.

Sometimes, however, even the most healthful eater craves what might be considered a “real” dessert.

You need not be deprived. With a few adjustments, “real” desserts can be enjoyed without sacrificing either taste or health considerations.

Sugar can be cut back in most recipes without sacrificing sweetness or flavor. Using whole-grain flour gives a dish extra fiber and other health benefits not found in refined flours. Canola oil is a good substitute for unhealthful hydrogenated fats.

Apples are the perfect fall fruit around which to make a “real” dessert.

One study shows that apples are the most concentrated food source of flavonoids, a group of phytochemicals, natural substances that have been found to protect against cancer and heart disease, and may block the ability of certain viruses to grow and spread.

Much of the flavonoids’ protection against cancer and heart disease seems related to their antioxidant power. Apples contain quercetin, a flavonoid that has been shown to stop the growth of prostate cancer cells and appears to slow the growth of tumors. Eating foods rich in quercetin has been linked to lowered risk of stomach, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers.

The following recipe offers the health protection of apples in a traditional fall dessert that definitely qualifies as a “real” dessert.

Skillet Apple-Cranberry Granola Crisp - Makes 4 servings.

1 cup low-fat granola
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. apple juice
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 medium apples, cored, peeled and diced into small pieces 1/8-inch wide
1/8 cup (2 Tbsp.) light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt (optional)

In large nonstick skillet over low heat, toast granola for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a small bowl. Wipe skillet clean and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine cornstarch with apple juice and lemon juice so cornstarch is completely incorporated. Stir in apples, sugar and cinnamon.

Add oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat until hot. Add apple mixture, spreading evenly over bottom of pan, and cook, stirring constantly, until browned but not mushy, about 4 minutes. Mix in cranberries and heat through. Stir in granola. Reduce heat to low. Flatten mixture with a spatula, cover and cook 1 to 2 minutes.

Turn mixture out of skillet onto individual serving dishes or bowls. Top each with a spoonful of yogurt, if desired.

Per serving: 265 calories, 4 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat), 58 g. carbohydrate, 2 g. protein, 5 g. dietary fiber, 79 mg. sodium.

The Author:

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) offers a Nutrition Hotline online at www.aicr.org or via phone 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, MondayFriday, at 1-800-843-8114. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. A registered dietitian will respond to your email or call, usually within 3 business days. AICR is the only major cancer charity focusing exclusively on how the risk of cancer is reduced by healthy food and nutrition, physical activity and weight management. The Institute’s education programs help millions of Americans lower their cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. Over $82 million in funding has been provided. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

Photo Credit: American Institute for Cancer Research - www.aicr.org

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