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Baking Hacks That Make Your Holiday Pie Secretly Healthier

  • Jacob Fox

    Go Topless

    Many fruit pies, like apple, are prepared with a top and bottom crust. Build yours with just the bottom half of pastry to save about 80 calories per slice.

    Related: Easy as Pie: 8 Guilt-Free Pie Recipes

  • Shutterstock

    BYO Crust

    Rather than grabbing store-bought pie crust, follow Iserloh's lead and build your own. "A homemade gluten-free crust can please your whole crowd. Pulse 1 cup oats and 1 cup coconut flakes in a food processor, then stir in 2 tablespoons flax seeds, 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or grass-fed butter, and a dash of cinnamon," she suggests. No preservatives and no need to bake it solo before filling!

  • Andy Lyons

    Think Thin

    If you're using a pastry crust, roll it nice and thin before placing it in the pan to bake. You'll still get the flaky sensation but for a couple dozen fewer calories than usual. (Just think of thin vs. thick crust pizza.)

  • Andy Lyons

    Skip Canned Filling

    "The bases of many holiday pies–whole fruit, cooked squash, and eggs—are really good for you," Iserloh says. When you grab a can of pumpkin pie or apple pie filling, however, you're often consuming about two tablespoons of sugar per serving (often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup). Again, it pays to DIY.

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    Halve the Sugar

    Make a skinny pie filling by mixing 2 cups of fruit, like cherries or apples, with the zest and juice from 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and about 3 tablespoons water and heating in a saucepan. Then add half as much honey or sugar as your usual recipe calls for and two packets of stevia. "This formula is still sweet enough and your taste buds will acclimate to the lower sugar level. Each time you make a pie, trim down on the sugar a bit more and you won't even notice the difference," Iserloh says.

  • Add Natural Sweeteners

    For apple or chocolate pies, fold in a handful or two of raspberries. The fruit's natural sugars will please your sweet tooth while the fiber from the fruit (8 grams per cup!) will satisfy your hunger.

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    Whip It Good

    Leave the spray cans of light "whipped cream" on the shelves at the supermarket and buy a container of cream from a grass-fed dairy, Iserloh suggests. Whisk it on high in your mixer until soft peaks form for a rich, all-natural pie-topper.

  • Shutterstock

    Or Cool Things Off with Kefir

    If you prefer your pie à la mode, mix a bottle of kefir (a fermented dairy drink that's packed with stomach-friendly probiotics and may have antioxidant properties) with a spoonful of stevia and freeze. Then just scoop it like ice cream!

  • Eating Well

    Crank Up the Seasonings

    When you're cutting down on sugar, warm spices like cinnamon and ginger can offer a similar sensation for next to no calories. Try this strategy in our Deep-Dish Apple Pie—it calls for nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon.

  • Jacob Fox

    Opt for Quality Ingredients

    "Remember, it's a holiday. If you're craving a slice of pie, make your own with the best ingredients you can find and afford, cut a small piece, and enjoy it!" Iserloh says. If you followed her crust and filling pointers, you'll be feeding your body with good-quality fats, fiber, and antioxidants.