This apple baked oatmeal checks off all the healthy boxes: clean, refined sugar free, gluten free, and dairy free. It’s a moist, dense filling treat that is perfect for breakfast, after-school snack or even dessert!
Bring on the Fall Comfort Food? Yes & No
I’ll be honest here. When fall comes, it’s all the temptation to bring on the warm, cozy, comfort food. I know I’m not a bear going into hibernation needing those extra layers of fat, but there’s something in my head that seems to justify a few extra pounds because, well, summer is still a whole year away and I can deal with it later.
But fall comfort food doesn’t have to be either/or. You can still enjoy some amazing fall treats without putting on bear weight.
How I Put on the ‘Hibernation Weight’
After a stressful year of selling our house in 2017-2018 and then another year (2018-2019) of getting used to forging a new life in a new state, the extra pounds started to creep on. It was stressful eating. It was making treats for my boys and dipping in a few times too many. But all said and done, the clothes became tighter, and soon didn’t fit.
Just 2 years after the weight loss, I put on 30 lbs. It was super-disheartening. To the point where I’d just about cry getting dressed for church because I had nothing I could wear that looked right or fit.
Healthy Clean Eating Just Makes Sense
I just couldn’t figure out a plan to get this weight off. I tried Weight Watchers, which had worked in the past. But I couldn’t get it together. The counting points, the measuring – I was constantly being distracted by my twin preschool boys, I was just not consistent.
Then I tried Keto, which works so well for so many – but it was a disaster for me. I was close to resigning myself that maybe this was just the ‘new me.’
But I truly felt awful – and not just guilty because I was eating badly or unhappy about how I looked – I felt lethargic, cloudy-headed, achey… weight aside, I did not want to live like this, and I knew food had a lot to do with it.
Finally, I just decided I needed to eat clean – eat the foods God made – no cutting out fruit or beans or all grains or anything else that was from nature. But I was going to cut out refined sugar, processed food and a lot of dairy (I’m not against organic dairy; I just don’t feel great when I eat too much of it). I was going to watch my portion sizes – no measuring – and just listen to my body and eat when I was hungry.
And it worked.
I’m still in the process of it, but I feel a TON better when I eat clean, and I’m pretty committed to this lifestyle, regardless of how fast or slow the weight comes off.
So, that’s what inspired this recipe today. I KNOW there are so many healthy alternatives to many favorites, many fall comfort foods, and I’m determined to not let winter hibernation get the better of me.
All the Apple-y Things: Healthy & Clean Apple Baked Oatmeal
On Long Island, where I’m originally from, this is apple picking time. East end, upstate – it’s become something of a tradition and a family rite of passage to go and pick apples. It’s something we did every year when I was a kid, and we’ve done it with our boys, too. I’ve yet to find a place here in Tennessee where we can do that, but I’m hoping we will.
But I remember that we’d always end up with a TON of apples because we’d all want our own bag. I remember a huge basket in the pantry full of our apples.
To me, apples equal fall, even before pumpkins do. This baked oatmeal checks off all the healthy boxes: clean; refined sugar free; dairy free; gluten free. And it’s delicious. This is a dense, hearty, moist treat that is great for breakfast, for an after-school snack, or even for a dessert, if you want to indulge with a scoop of ice cream or a little whipped cream.
I based this recipe off of a similar recipe from Kim’s Cravings, with just a few tweaks.
I had my boys help me put this together – it’s that easy, and we had a blast. Basically, just mix all the ingredients in a bowl together, pour in a baking dish and bake. That’s it.
If you’re looking for more apple inspiration to use up those apples, or if you apples means fall to you too, here are 28 more apple recipes that are HEALTHY, CLEAN, and TASTE AMAZING.
Some Tips for Apple Baked Oatmeal
This is a super easy breakfast/snack/treat to make – there aren’t a whole lot of tips or a whole lot of ways it could go wrong. But here are a few things I found helpful:
1|The Kind of Apple You Use
There’s only 1 apple in this recipe (plus some applesauce). Depending on whether it is tart or sweet, your apple baked oatmeal can have a different flavor. I found this chart on Facebook and this may help you if you’re wondering what kind of apple to get. I used Gala because it’s my favorite and it’s what I had on hand.
2| Cooking Time
The recipe calls for 25-30 min. If you happen to like dishes that are a little more moist, start checking it around 20 or 25 minutes. Use the knife or toothpick test. There will be a little residue on the knife if you like it a little more moist. If you like it drier, you might be cooking for 30-35 minutes.
It could also depend on the baking dish you use. I used an 8 x 8 because I wanted a thicker bar type snack. If you want it thinner, your cooking time will be less.
3 | Healthy vs Healthy-Ish
You really can make this as healthy or indulgent as you want. The recipe I have here is gluten-free, refined sugar free and dairy free. But if you aren’t too concerned about that, you can use brown sugar instead of maple syrup, regular milk, and put in whatever add-ins you want: M &M chunks, chocolate chips, sweetened coconut. You can custom make this however you want.
You can also adjust the spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, depending on your liking.
4| Get the kids involved
This is a great activity to do with your kids. This is a super-simple recipe, and it’s really just throw the ingredients together and throw it in the oven. My boys had a lot of fun doing this with me, and they were more willing to try it because they were a little more invested in it.
OK, let’s get on to the recipe!
Healthy, Clean Apple Baked Oatmeal Recipe: Refined Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
All the Healthy Fall Goodness
This was a hit with our boys. And I loved knowing I could eat it for breakfast or a snack, and it was in no way hurting me with my clean eating lifestyle. Fall is all about the yummy comfort food, but it can be healthy, too! If you’re looking for more fall treats, try these Healthy & Delicious Pumpkin Desserts – All Clean or Paleo!
If you made these any of this healthy apple baked oatmeal – or any of the other clean apple or pumpkin desserts, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag me on Instagram – @100affections.