Healthy Holiday Traditions: Apple Pie

It’s hard to stay healthy through the holidays without feeling deprived when everyone around you is indulging in fat, sugar and salt. What if I told you that you could still indulge in a holiday favorite like apple pie? Would you believe me?

I’ve got a traditional dessert that is so good, even your pickiest guests would love. Here’s my personal recipe for whole foods, plant-based, dairy-free, wheat-free, oil-free, no-sweetener added (only sweetened with fruit), baked apple pie. 

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Pie crust

1 1/2 – 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted

1 1/4 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Add almonds and walnuts into a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add remaining ingredients and process until fully combined. Take half of the mixture and press into a pie pan, being sure to cover the sides and doing your best to maintain even thickness all around. Bake the crust for 5 minutes at 350 degrees and let cool completely. 

Pie filling

4 apples, peeled and sliced into thin wedges (1/4 – 1/2 inch thick) (I use 2 Pink Lady and 2 Honeycrisp apples if available, but you can use any apple combination you prefer)

1 1/2 – 2 cups of date paste*

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*date paste: soak 4 cups of pitted Medjool dates in a large bowl either overnight or use near-boiling water and cover bowl. Add dates to food processor with a 1/2 cup of the soaking water. Process until smooth, adding more soaking water as needed. 

ImageAdd all ingredients into a medium-large saucepan and heat covered on medium –
medium/low heat until apples are softened, approximately 10 – 15 minute, stirring occasionally. Let mixture cool to room temperature and then pour into pie crust. Take the other half of the pie crust mixture place it on a cutting board covered with parchment paper. Add small amounts of water to the mixture until it can be kneaded like dough. Put another piece of parchment paper on top so that you can use a rolling pin without it sticking. Roll out the “dough” until it’s large enough to cover the pie. Carefully roll onto rolling pin and unroll onto the pie. Use a fork to press the edges all around and poke 4-6 holes on top to allow heat to escape. Bake pie for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve and enjoy!

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This recipe is fun an is open to personal adjustments. Share how you tweaked it to suit your needs. 

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Planning Ahead is the Key to Healthy Eating

“Plan ahead” is something we have been told all throughout our lives. It’s not always possible to plan ahead for certain things but I have found that in my own life, it’s essential for me to stay on track with healthy eating.

Try to think of the times you have given in and eaten something not so healthy. Were you starved? In a rush? Did you make up excuses about needed something quick?

All these excuses could be remedied just by planning ahead.

Five Tips for Planning Ahead:

1. Prepare your breakfast, lunch, and snacks the night before. Doing this will prepare you for the occasional alarm mishap that has you scrambling to get to work in 10 minutes. I have heard of people filling up their blender container with all the ingredients for a green smoothie and sticking it in the fridge so it’s ready to go the next morning. Also, packing your snacks and lunch will keep you on track at work.

2. Keep healthy snacks in your work area. I always have fruit or nuts with me so that when I start to get hungry I can munch on something before I get desperate. Another good tip is to eat a snack right before you leave work. If you do this, it’s less likely that you’ll arrive home starved, with very little patience to prepare a healthy meal.

3. Make things easy on the weekends. By washing, cutting, and prepping your produce on the weekends, you can make it much easier to prepare meals during the week. Also, this will allow you to plan out your meals so that nothing goes to waste.

4. Prepare for dinners out. If you know the restaurant you will be eating at, look at the menu online. If you can’t find anything healthy then make sure to eat a large salad prior to heading out. Doing this will prevent you from overeating unhealthy foods and will make it even more likely that you will stick to your healthy eating plan.

5. Don’t be caught off guard at family functions. If you know your family doesn’t eat as healthy as you, don’t ignore this. Eat beforehand or offer to bring something. This will give you the opportunity to have something healthy to eat as well as share that dish with your friends and family. Who knows? They might get hooked!

What are your tips and tricks for planning ahead?