Many people gain a few pounds around the holidays. No wonder. The abundance of pies, cakes, cookies and candy treats would challenge anyone’s healthy eating habits. Even the most dedicated clean eaters have a hard time resisting indulging in a treat or two when family and friends gather around the Thanksgiving dinner table. But if you want to limit the damage, choose your indulgences wisely. You can still enjoy something sweet and a decadent, but do less damage by making smart choices. Here’s a rundown on Thanksgiving pies. Find out which is more waistline friendly and which isn’t.
Thanksgiving Pie Swaps: Pumpkin Are In, Pecans Out
If you’re eyeing that piece of pecan pie, think twice. A single piece of this gooey dessert has around 500 calories and 30 grams of fat. Not to mention the 60 grams of carbs. Pecan pie tastes sweet for a reason. A better choice is a slice of pumpkin pie. It has only 320 calories, 15 grams of fat and 40 grams of carbs per slice. Still a splurge, but you’ll also benefit from the beta-carotene in the pumpkin. Beta-carotenes are good for eye health and your immune system. You need a little extra immune protection during cold and flu season.
Thanksgiving Fruit Pies Can Fool You
Cherry pie sounds like a healthy choice. After all, apples rank high on the antioxidant scale, and cherries are rich in natural chemicals that reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, cherry pie suffers the fate of most fruit pies; it’s made with too much sugar. It tops to list of fruit pies highest in sugar and calories. The average slice has almost 500 calories and 70 grams of carbs. You’ll feel your insulin levels soaring after eating a piece of this popular holiday pie.
If fruit pie strikes your fancy, choose blueberry pie instead. It has around 360 calories per slice and 50 grams of carbs. Blueberries are a good source of antioxidants called anthocyanins that keep your brain healthy.
Another good choice is lemon meringue pie. A full slice of this tart but sweet dessert has only 300 calories, 50 grams of carbs and about 10 grams of fat. Lemons contain limonene, a compound that has anti-cancer benefits in animals. They’re also a good source of vitamin C.
Of course, you can always pass up the pie entirely, and enjoy a bowl of fresh berries with a touch of whipped topping or a yogurt parfait. Remind yourself that pie is a little over-rated anyway. Then think about how many times you’ll have to run around the track to work off the calories.
Other Thanksgiving Pies to Avoid
If you see peanut butter or chocolate-peanut butter pie on the table, look the other way. This one’s a real waistline expander. A single slice of peanut butter pie can have over 700 calories. Sure, peanuts are good for you, but not when they’re suffocating in sugar and fat.
Other Ways to Reduce the Damage
Hold off on the whipped cream, and only eat a portion of the pie crust. You can knock off 150 calories and 20 grams of carbs by eating the filling only. If you want to eat the pie filling and the crust, divide a slice into two pieces and eat only one. Chances are you’ll be just as satisfied with fewer bites. Another option is to drink a hot chocolate or cappuccino made with low-fat milk and a natural, no-calorie sweetener such as Stevia. It’ll satisfy your sweet tooth without giving you dessert eater’s remorse – and that’s a good thing.
World’s Healthiest Foods website.