Apple Sauce: A Perfect Snack for Busy Parents

It’s 3 o’clock on a typical workday. Your stomach growls, and your thoughts segue from your computer screen to the candy bar in the office vending machine. What do you do?

If you’re like most busy parents, you hit the afternoon slump every day, right around 2 or 3 p.m., and start looking for a boost. High-sugar options like candy bars might seem like the fix, but did you know loading up on sugar (or other high-carbohydrate options like potato chips or soda) will only make the slump worse? You might get a surge from the sugar in the short run, but know that the “sugar crash” doesn’t just happen to kids. In fact, a number of studies link the intake of sugar with a decrease in the activity of our brain’s orexin cells. When this happens, we feel sleepy and rundown – not what we need that time of day.

So whether you’re headed for the gym after work or home to a hubbub of action with your kids, forgoing the candy bar (or that caramel macchiato or cookie tray) and opting for a lower-sugar option will raise your chances of making it to bedtime with the energy you need (as opposed to crashing before you even walk through the door).

What snacks pack in a powerful punch, without adding to your already long to-do list? Apple sauce cups are perfect for busy parents who need to grab a snack – and go. They can satisfy your sweet tooth without loading you up on sugar, and with only 90 calories a cup, they won’t spoil dinner (or your waistline).

The best part about apple sauce is that it’s versatile, so you won’t end up eating the same snack day after day. Here are some ideas for mixing it up with other grab-and-go, fuel-boosting foods. Try these with the standard four-ounce cup, or go for Musselman’s new BIG CUP (at 120 calories). It offers 50 percent more (six ounces) than our standard cup, and comes in original, unsweetened, and cinnamon.

Nuts ’n Apple Sauce – This one’s as easy as A, B, C. Just toss in your favorite nuts, mix it up, and spoon it in. Next week, try a new kind of nut, like hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, or macadamia nuts (they all pair well with apple sauce). Then experiment with roasted, raw, crushed, or whole nuts – and see what combinations you like best.

Autumn Delight – Perfect for a chilly fall day (or an office that requires a year-round sweater), this snack warms you inside and out, while providing powerful antioxidants. Pour your favorite apple sauce in a bowl and warm it in a microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. Next add a dash of your favorite fall spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves), stir it up, and take a bite. For variety, try a different assortment of spices, like cardamom and curry. And if protein helps you get through your day, add yogurt or almond butter, which taste great with apple sauce and spices.

Apple Sauce Icy – If, on the other hand, your office is like a heater, a cold snack might tempt you more. When you arrive in the morning, put an apple sauce cup in the office freezer and let it sit until the hunger pangs hit mid-afternoon. At that point, pull it out and enjoy a healthier alternative to ice cream and sherbet. Try adding granola, nuts, or crushed graham crackers (before you freeze) to give your treat an added crunch.

Of course, apple sauce tastes great straight out of the cup. So if you’re running out the door without a minute to spare, just grab one and go. It’s one of those snacks you won’t regret.

Enter our Celebrate Family Sweepstakes each week for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon. For every entry we receive, Musselman’s will donate $1 to the National Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation.