3 Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts for 2021

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. And whether you’re a white meat or dark meat kind of guy, you call it “stuffing” or fall into the “dressing” camp, or whether you will only eat homemade cranberry sauce or embrace the canned variety with all of its iconic ridges, everyone around the Thanksgiving table can agree on one thing: Thanksgiving desserts often make the holiday. Variations of apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato pie are among the most popular sweet treats to end the holiday feast, and many people look forward to their post-dinner slice nearly as much—if not more—than the meal itself.

However, with the richness of a large Thanksgiving dinner, the indulgence of dessert following the meal can further derail diet goals, which can be stressful for people trying to stick to their healthy lifestyles through the holidays. Although one day of over-indulging certainly isn’t going to make or break a weight loss plan in the long term, you might consider a more nutritious spin on classic Thanksgiving desserts. With that in mind, we’ve created a few recipes that lighten up classic pies. We think these healthier Thanksgiving desserts will be just as enjoyable and may just be the uniting factor that everyone around your holiday table finds delicious.

Pumpkin Pie Bar Recipe

Pumpkin Pie Bar Recipe.

These pumpkin bars are gluten-free and have fewer refined ingredients than your standard slice of pumpkin pie. The recipe yields nine bars, and each serving has just under 150 calories. If you are more of a sweet potato pie fan, you can try swapping out the pumpkin for a can of sweet potato puree.

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 1 can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • .5 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2.5 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • .5 tsp ground nutmeg
  • .25 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt

Crust

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • .5 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • .25 tsp nutmeg
  • .5 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line an 8 x 8-inch or 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease it.
  3. In a medium bowl, prepare the crust of the bars by combining the crust ingredients and until a dough is formed.
  4. After the dry ingredients are fully combined, fold in the ghee and gently mix until a somewhat crumbly dough forms.
  5. Press the crust into your lined and greased pan, ensuring you have an even layer, and bake it for 10 minutes.
  6. While the crust bakes, make the filling by whisking together the canned pumpkin and coconut sugar until smooth. Then add the coconut oil and beaten eggs, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Combine thoroughly until silky.
  7. Pour the filling over the baked crust and put the pan back in the oven for another 22-28 minutes or until set.
  8. Let the bars cool in the pan before cutting them.
  9. Serve with vanilla frozen yogurt or a drizzle of melted dark chocolate.

Light and Nutty Apple Crisp Recipe

Light and Nutty Apple Crisp Recipe.

Traditional apple pie is high in calories, saturated fat, and sugar. This lightened-up apple crisp recipe cuts out all refined sugar and is lower in fat and calories. It is also vegan and gluten-free, yet very flavorful, with a pleasant crispy texture from the crumb topping and the same luscious apples found in our favorite apple pies.

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium or large granny smith apples (or gala, pink lady, honey crisp)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • .5 tsp ground nutmeg
  • .5 tsp ground cloves
  • 1.5 cup rolled oats
  • .5 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • .5 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Peel and slice the apples and add them to a large bowl.
  3. Coat with half of each of the spices, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and 2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice.
  4. Pour the seasoned apples into a greased 9 x 9-inchbaking pan.
  5. In a different bowl, prepare the crumb topping by mixing the oats, almond meal, chopped nuts, 1 tbsp maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and the remainder of the spices.
  6. Cover the apples with the crumb topping.
  7. Bake, covered loosely with aluminum foil for 30 minutes, then uncover the pan and continue baking another 15-20 minutes or until the apples are tender and the crumb has browned.

Healthy Pecan Pie Truffles Recipe

Healthy Pecan Pie Truffles Recipe.

A typical slice of pecan pie packs a whopping 500 calories due to the rich nuts, butter, and sugar. These pecan pie truffles are certainly not quite as nostalgic as a slice of your grandmother’s signature pecan pie, but the flavors are spot on and you can’t argue with the calorie savings. The truffles are also gluten-free and low in sugar.

Ingredients:

Truffles 

  • .5 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • .25 cup almond butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of sea salt

Coating

  • .25 cup chopped pecans
  • .5 cup dark chocolate chips
  • .5 tsp coconut oil

Method:

  1. Using a food processor, blend together all of the ingredients in the truffles (almond flour, pecans, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt).
    Use a small ice cream scoop or your hands to roll and form balls of the dough (roughly 1.5—2 tbsp in size), and then place them on a cookie sheet and into the freezer for 30 min.
  2. While the truffles are chilling, melt the chocolate with the coconut oil in a small saucepan on low heat until completely melted and silky smooth.
  3. Remove the truffles from the freezer, coat in the melted chocolate, and then sprinkle them with the chopped pecans.
  4. Put the truffles back on the tray and into the freezer for 30 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
  5. Let them thaw a little at room temperature before enjoying!

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