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Fruit Bites for Teens: Apples

Sliced applesIf advertisers applied their marketing genius to selling us on natural and healthy foods like apples, we'd be healthier and skinnier.

Perhaps the old saying, 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away,' isn't completely truthful: apples are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but they alone won't keep you free from sickness.

But here are some honest-to-goodness facts about the fruit: An apple's fiber can help you today by keeping you "regular." But wait -- there's more! Apples' fiber helps prevent cholesterol from clogging your arteries. That means eating an apple today can help you later by reducing the chance you will fall over dead from a heart attack or stroke. Convinced?

Or maybe apples need a simple pitch about convenience and cost: For a teen rushing from school to practice to your friend's house, apples are as easy to carry as your iPod. Plus, apples are cheap -- less than a candy bar or a soda.

Sold yet? If not, keep reading. We promise your mouth will start watering for an apple soon.

The 411 on Apples

OK, admittedly this is unscientific. Widely published research about what teens want to know about apples is lacking. Still, these facts are ones you can likely use to your advantage at some point.

Thinking about fitting into your prom clothes? Or how you'll look on the beach? Consider the apple as your go-to snack. Each apple is 80 or so calories. That's a 20% savings compared to a 100-calorie pack, for a 100% natural sweet snack.

Plus, an apple is called "nature's toothbrush." You can chomp an apple for an instant breath freshener and to help gather food stuck in your teeth. (Brushing is, of course, still best.)

Just be aware that apple juices or cider are not such calorie bargains. Fill a glass with juice, and you've spent about 200 calories -- without the filling benefits of the fiber.

Teen-Tempting Ways to Eat Apples

Eat apples however you like them. "A is for apples" could mean keep it simple, be practical, and use your common sense. Yes, the peel has nutritional benefits (almost half of the vitamin C is just underneath the skin), but some apple is better than none.

Like apples cold? Keep 'em in the fridge. Prefer apples at room temperature? Then don't keep 'em in the fridge.

Don't like to bite into apples? Cut them up first. Rinse them with lemon juice or water and they won't turn brown. Or buy them already sliced.

Like apples with dip or peanut butter? OK. Just be smart about portion control. Or reduce the temptation to overindulge: Dip apples into vanilla-flavored, low-fat Greek yogurt. This apple-yogurt combo is creamy and crunchy without a lot of calories.

Try apple slices with small chunks of your favorite hard cheese -- like mild cheddar. They make a great dynamic duo.

WebMD Medical Reference