A Sweet Finish
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. - Carl Sagan
Family tradition and holiday meals are inexorably linked. Meal memories are the point from which family traditions spring, linking generations through the shared history of love combined with the enjoyment of good food. We serve this dish because Grandma did, and it honors her when we make it. We make the recipe in that way because we always have, and because Uncle Johnny loved it.
Unfortunately, what your family may insist on as the must have dish at dinner can lead to a lot of frustration when logging calories. Dessert - often a mountain of pie and whipped cream - poses a particular problem because it is the end note, or exclamation point which formally concludes the holiday meal. It's also the exact part of the meal many of us at Calorie Count want to change or tweak.
We all react to this dilemma differently. The more easy going souls will eat the pie (and whipped cream), enjoy it, and just not log that day. Others will monitor the portion size, count up the calories, and log every delicious bite while licking the spoon or fork with enjoyment. The more determined to achieve consistency will look for alternatives to end the meal in a celebratory but lower sugar, fat, or calorie fashion. A few will find the holiday entirely disappointing because of the excess of calories and the argument that even proposing a change of food can bring.
My favorite way to handle it is to make all the most requested items (I ask everyone "what is required" to get a starter list) and add a new recipe each year - a recipe that suits the way I prefer to eat. If it is packed with sufficient deliciousness, I cross my fingers and hope someone will request it next year. If your family insists on no changes to traditional food, you are still in luck because Calorie Count has done all the work for you by accumulating a massive food database. We know that the piece of traditional pumpkin pie is not necessarily a diet ruining option. As with a lot of food, excess calories comes down to what you put on top of it. Ladling on spoonfuls of whipped cream easily doubles the fat and significantly increase the calories. I've learned to love pie unadorned.
Naturally sweet fruit is the perfect place to start when reconsidering dessert. The apple is low in calorie, high in fiber and brimming with the nutrition practically guaranteed to keep that doctor away and the pounds off. Consider making one of these recipes with your next holiday meal.
Sheila’s Crockpot Apple Pie is the perfect recipe for Granny Smith apples.
Baked Apples are a great way to serve fruit for dessert with a bit of panache and an A on the Calorie Count nutrition analysis!
Apple Blackberry Crisp is another lovely and yet simple way to enjoy fruit for dessert!
Are you a cake lover? Claire’s Best Ever Apple Cake is a very low calorie way to end a lovely meal!
Maybe you are not an apple fan and a beautiful bowl of mixed berries would make you quite content, but if your family clamors for something fancy because it’s the holiday, make this company pretty Vegetarian Times Cranberry-Pear Lattice Tart!
For those that just have to have pumpkin but want to make it calorie counting friendly bake up a lovely Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie. I found it with a simple search of the recipe bar at Calorie Count. This recipe even tells you how to make it gluten free!
If you can afford the calories and want to try making their own pie crust, this is the pie crust recipe I have made for the past 36 years.
Actively seek out recipes that you believe will appeal to your family's tastes and to your nutritional values. The sooner you start a new tradition of adding a healthier dessert option at each holiday meal, the sooner you will soon find a satisfying and delicious conclusion for your family's celebration.
What changes do you make at your holiday table to improve the nutrition and lower the calories? Did the family approve? Did you do a dramatic overhaul or just tweak like me? What is your favorite fruit dessert? Have you learned to love pie unadorned instead of loaded with a fatty topping? Do you have a favorite non-fatty or low calorie topping to add to pies? What is your favorite fruit pie? If you have a terrific recipe for a dessert or dessert topping you would like to share at the CC Palate, send it to me here.