Sauteed apples are delicious and easy to prepare in less than 20 minutes. They’re yummy over pancakes, stirred with yogurt or eaten on their own. However, most recipes call for drenching apples in butter and sugar, thus ruining their healthfulness. Rather than skipping this sweet treat, make it healthier by adjusting a few of the ingredients and controlling your serving sizes.
Fresh, sweet apples are the basis of a tasty, sauteed apple recipe. Pink Lady or Fuji apples have the sweetest inherent flavor. They are best if you peel and core them before slicing them 1/4-inch thick. You don’t need the usual 1/4 or 1/2 cup of butter to sautee apples. For four large Fuji apples, about 1/2 tablespoon of butter or margarine will keep them from sticking to the skillet. According to MayoClinic.com, tub margarine is healthier than butter, because it has no cholesterol and has healthier types of fat, but you should avoid stick margarine because it is higher in trans fats. A 1/2-tablespoon serving of butter has 51 calories and about 6 grams of fat; the calorie and fat content of 80% fat, tub margarine with salt is about the same. Rather than the usual 276 calories from 1/2-cup of brown sugar, you can sweeten four Fuji apples with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, which has 68 calories.
The butter or margarine must be melted in a large skillet before you add the sliced apples. For flavor and an enticing aroma, add some ground cinnamon to the melted butter with the apples. Quality cinnamon, such as Saigon, draws out the natural sweetness in apples. Once added, the apples need to be stirred constantly until they’re soft, which should take no more than 10 minutes. As they cook, the apples will release juices and sugars that form a light sauce.
A sauce of brown sugar, water and cornstarch will be thick and sweet. Using 1/3 cup of hot water ensures the sugar and cornstarch dissolve before adding the mixture to the skillet; this prevents lumps. Cornstarch only adds about 29 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. After you pour the sauce in the skillet, it will thicken as it boils for two or three minutes. Once you’re satisfied with the consistency of the apples, they are ready to serve.
One serving of apples sauteed in margarine equals 1 cup, which weighs about 8 ounces. In each 1-cup serving, you consume about 135 calories and 6 grams of fat, the latter of which mostly comes from the butter or margarine. You also eat 50 grams of carbohydrates and 18 percent of a daily intake for vitamin C. Using butter doesn’t significantly increase calories or fat, but it adds about 30 milligrams of cholesterol. If you use an unhealthy recipe, sauteed apples can have as much as 200 extra calories and 20 grams of fat.
Serena Styles is a Colorado-based writer who specializes in health, fitness and food. Speaking three languages and working on a fourth, Styles is pursuing a Bachelor's in Linguistics and preparing to travel the world. When Styles isn't writing, she can be found hiking, cooking or working as a certified nutritionist.