As we approach the end of the year and see the holiday season coming fast and furiously, a lot of us decide dieting just isn’t worth it. Why bother trying to lose weight or get fit when you are just going to be eating candy, dessert, and let’s face it—just a general excess of food. Am I right? That seems to be the general consensus, except for the brave few who know the truth.
Here it is: It’s really not that hard to avoid the holiday weight gain. I know, it’s easy for me to say—I’m a nutrition nut, after all! But I was not always this way. Eight years ago, I ate the same way most Americans eat, otherwise known as the Standard American Diet (SAD). With just one little blog post I came across on Pinterest, my entire outlook on food changed. It changed slowly, but surely. I won’t say it was an easy change. My family thought I was crazy (though not much has changed in that!). It began with small changes and then bigger changes and that eventually led to a totally different way of thinking.
The key is starting with small changes. Making drastic and sudden changes will lead to failure and that is not what we want. We made drastic changes when my middle daughter developed a wheat allergy because we had to. That was a drastic change, but that’s another blog post altogether!
You are probably thinking that you don’t have the time to cook or the inclination to eat healthy during the holidays, but do you have the time to watch the Hallmark channel? I am a self-proclaimed dork. I love Sci-Fi, Harry Potter, all things nutrition, and the Hallmark channel at Christmas! I like to carve out time to watch my favorite movies, and sometimes it’s nice to have some dessert on hand. The recipe I am going to share here doesn’t take nearly as long as the inevitable conflict that will arise between the two main characters in your typical Hallmark Christmas film (you know what I’m talking about). It takes 15 minutes from start to finish and is very yummy. It is basically all the apple pie filling without the unhealthy parts. It can be used in many ways: as a topping, a side dish, with yogurt, or topped with homemade granola. The coolest part about this recipe is that it doesn’t include any refined sugar. Before you tune out, there is a sweet element to it (besides the yummy, yummy apples). A huge plus to this recipe is that it can be frozen well up to 3 months without losing any of the flavor, which means you can make a big batch at a time and it will keep.
Honey is a natural sweetener that your body knows what to do with. As with any sugar, you don’t want to overdo it, but unlike refined sugar it has some health properties. The first (and best in my opinion) is when you have local honey because it may help with your allergies. The bees are using what is growing around you and it helps you to develop a tolerance. Honey contains trace minerals and enzymes and is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Your body absorbs it much slower than other sweeteners, and it is lower in calories (if you’re into counting calories). You use less honey than regular sugar, which is an added bonus! I strongly believe that natural is best. Even the best “alternative sugars” aren’t any better than refined sugar. So, choose wisely!
The honey isn’t the only element that makes this recipe such a winner: the fiber-rich apples, the healthy fats from the grass-fed cow’s butter, and the cinnamon that helps balance your blood sugar all contribute in making this a great alternative to a sugary dessert. So, grab your glass (or two) of wine—you know, to get your antioxidants in, turn on a Hallmark Christmas movie, ignore your significant other’s eye roll and get to work! This seriously easy Cinnamon Apple recipe will be done before the couple’s first kiss!
Don’t let this recipe be the only one you try. Pinterest is full of healthy dessert ideas. My next venture is to test how good the edible cookie dip is. I’ll keep you posted.
(adapted from The Wholesome Recipe Box)
Yields: 12 servings
Total time: 15 minutes
4 pounds apples, cored and sliced (not too thin, or they will break up. Organic is best for health)
2 tablespoons grass fed cow’s butter
1/4 cup apple juice, unsweetened
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 teaspoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch,
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar – Braggs is best
Place the apples and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss until butter has melted and is coating the apples.
Mix apple juice, honey, cinnamon, allspice and salt and pour over the apples. Toss. Cover with a lid and simmer on medium-low heat for around 5 minutes.
Uncover and toss. Simmer until thickened.
While the apples are simmering, whisk the arrowroot or cornstarch with a tablespoon of water to avoid lumps.
Add arrowroot or cornstarch and toss quickly.
Stir in apple cider vinegar and serve hot.
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