Apples: A Simple Staple

Apples: A Simple Staple
Presented by Spartan Training®

Simple Apple Recipes

Breakfast: Apple Butter Quinoa


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup Yumbutter Organic Superfood Peanut / Almond / Cashew / or Sunflower Butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp Maca powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium apple, cut into bite-sized chunks (Macintosh is recommended, but any apple will do.)


  1. In a large saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Remove quinoa from heat. Stir in Yumbutter, honey, maca (optional) and cinnamon.
  3. Top with apples, then drizzle with additional honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve immediately

Lunch: Apple Walnut Salad with Dijon Balsamic

Ingredients (for the salad):

  • 3-4 cups of your favorite greens (recommend a mix of spinach & arugula)
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • ¼ of a red onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1oz feta cheese

Ingredients (for the dressing):

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey


  1. Whisk together all dressing ingredients and set aside. (Tip: Quadruple the recipe and store in a mason jar. This dressing pairs well with many salads).
  2. Wash and core apple. Chop apple, onion, and walnuts to the desired size. Rough chop greens. Place all ingredients in a bowl and top with feta and dressing.

Dinner: One-Pot Pork and Apples


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil divided
  • 3-4 oz bone-in pork chops
  • (Salt and pepper to taste)
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 medium apples, thinly sliced (a sweet apple works best)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced


  1. Season both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to large heavy bottomed pan (cast-iron skillet preferred), and heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Add pork chops to pan. Sear 3-5 minutes per side, or until pork chops are golden brown (they will cook more with the apples). Remove pork chops to a plate.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together chicken stock and mustard, set aside.
  5. Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the pan, then add apples and onions. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in stock mixture, use a spoon to gently scrape bottom of pan to release any brown bits (flavor booster).
  6. Place pork chops back into pan allowing apples and chops to cover the entire bottom of the pan evenly.
  7. Cook 2-3 minutes, until pork chops are finished cooking and liquid has reduced by half.

Tips: Boost flavor by seasoning with the following when you add the apples:

  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

On-the-Go: Clean Apple Crisp



  1. Cut apple into small pieces roughly the size of the tip of your pinky finger.
  2. Place in a microwave safe bowl and top with cinnamon. Stir well to coat.
  3. Microwave for 60 seconds. Stir again and top with yogurt and walnuts.
  4. Enjoy immediately or chill for later (best eaten when apples are warm and delicious).

Smoothie: Sweet & Sassy Smoothie


  • ½ of a medium apple
  • ½ cup mango
  • ½ cup celery
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • ice
  • water
  • Athletic Greens

Looking for more protein? Add your choice of: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder or Powerful Vanilla Bean Greek yogurt 

Directions Add all ingredients to blender or smoothie maker and blend 60 seconds. Enjoy cold.

Want more Spartan approved smoothies?

Beverage: Easy Apple Cleanse


  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1 large apple
  • 1 lime


  1. Wash cucumber and apple very well.
  2. Core apple and cut into pieces that will fit into the mouth of the juicer. Leave the peel of both the cucumber and apple intact in order to extract the most nutrition from them.
  3. Wash lime, slice in half, and squeeze fresh lemon juice straight into the juicer. Process cucumber and apple through juicer. Enjoy fresh.

Tip: When it comes to juicing apples and cucumbers it is recommended, however not required, to use organic.

Apples 101

Simple, whole foods, eaten on a daily basis naturally contain the nutrients our bodies need to perform optimally. With over 2500 varieties grown in the US, it’s almost impossible not to find an apple that you enjoy.

Apples grow year round, and there are over 7500 varieties grown worldwide. However, the primary apple season typically runs between late August and early November. Pick-your-own apple orchards are a common family activity that allows everyone to pick their favorite flavor.

Apples range from sweet to tart, with certain varieties being best eaten raw while other do well in cooking. Here is a quick breakdown of common varieties:

Red Delicious: Great eaten raw as a hand-held or chopped in salads. Crunchy with a mildly sweet flavor

Fuji: Also great for a snack on the go or in a salad, Fuji apples are one of the more sweet varieties. They also work well for baking, making sauces, and freezing for later use

Granny Smith: One of the go-to apples of pie bakers, the granny smith has a tart flavor that works well for all uses, from your afternoon snack, to a homemade juice or sauce.

Gala: Crisp, aromatic, and sweet. The gala apple is in the family of golden delicious apples.

There are many more varieties to choose from, each with their own unique taste. The best part about shopping for apples, or picking your own at a local orchard, is that you have the choice to buy just one of a few varieties. Even better, cut one up and share.   

Apples are portable, delicious, and beneficial to the health of our cardiovascular and digestive system. How?

Pectin: A soluble fiber that helps prevent cholesterol build up in the lining of the blood vessel walls.

Insoluble fiber: Works perfectly with the natural water content of the fruit to aid your digestive system. This insoluble fiber helps create bulk in your intestinal tract by retaining water and helping broken down foods move through easily, helping to cleanse your colon and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

As a general rule, men should aim for 25 grams of fiber daily, while women should aim for 35. Most foods are a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, so total is what counts.  

A medium apple provides approximately:

  1. Calories: 81 Fat: <1 gram (and all from unsaturated healthy fats)
  2. Carbohydrates: 21 grams Fiber: 4 grams Natural sugar: 17 grams Protein: ~1 gram
  3. Potassium: 159mg Source of vitamin C, folate, phosphorus, calcium

Apples are one of the best travel foods out there. Learn more about Spartan travel favorites.

Spartan Race Founder Joe De Sena takes this advice from his nutrition mentor Dr. Fred Bisci: “Change it up. Life is not a cookbook, it’s a journey of different experiences. Live it with the best health possibilities in mind!”

Why Apples Are Important for Spartans

The Paleo lifestyle, similar to Spartan’s approach to nutrition, encourages daily intake of grass-produced beef, fish, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy fat oil (such as olive and avocado), fruits and vegetables. Following a whole food approach that focuses on real foods helps promote optimal fueling for athletes.

While traveling for events, athletes need to plan ahead with foods that not only travels well, but also help maintain their nutrition. Consider the apple as a nutritious travel snack with built in hydration. Apples are roughly 84% water. In combination with their calcium, vitamin c, and phosphorus, this hydrating fruit also helps support a strong immune system, muscle contraction, and energy production. Apples are also travel friendly. TSA allows apples to be taken on flights in your carry on.

Athlete highlight:  Apples contribute to your daily potassium, considered a nutrient of concern for most Americans. Potassium helps with blood pressure regulation, carbohydrate metabolism, fluid balance, protein metabolism, and muscle contraction. Ever tried one in a smoothie? Swap an apple for one of the fruits in the Spartan smoothie guide.  

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