Healthy Holiday Pie Makeovers

From classic apple and blueberry to delicious pumpkin, pie has always been the quintessential American holiday dessert. And with a few healthy ingredient swaps, you can enjoy a slice of your favorite on Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet. Here’s how:

For the crust: Replace refined white flour with whole-wheat flour, white whole-wheat flour, or nut flour (made from ground almonds, pecans, and/or walnuts, for example). Feel free to combine some old-fashioned rolled oats with the flour to give the crust more texture and fiber. You can also use whole-wheat phyllo dough for a lighter crust. Or crumble and press some South Beach Diet Gluten-Free Chewy Nut Bars into a pie pan and add a no-cook filling of your choice. Be sure to limit the crust on any pie you make to one, however.

For the filling: Take advantage of the fall season’s freshest produce and fill your pie with apples, pears, quince, or pumpkin, or use canned pumpkin purée or frozen fruits of your choice. For other pie-filling ideas, enjoy natural peanut butter, nonfat or low-fat artificially sweetened flavored yogurt (such as raspberry or strawberry), or sugar-free pudding. Be sure to use granular sugar substitute (or agave nectar or monk fruit for a natural sweetener) and use fat-free half-and-half instead of heavy cream and trans-fat-free margarine (vegetable-oil spread) or canola oil rather than butter. You can also use no-sugar-added chocolate powder and unsweetened cocoa powder, but remember to count them toward your daily Sweet Treat allowance of 75 to 100 calories. Among the traditional pie flavorings, we recommend pure vanilla or almond extract, ground cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, freshly grated nutmeg, and ground cloves.

For the topping: Rather than using a second crust, there are many delicious ways to top your cooked pie. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Lemon or lime zest
  • Dark-chocolate shavings
  • Sugar-free maple or chocolate syrup
  • Bittersweet dark or semisweet dark chocolate chips
  • Pecans, slivered almonds, or walnuts
  • A small amount of fat-free dairy whipped topping
If you’re not in the mood for pie per se, try our Oatmeal Pear Crumble (Phase 2).

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