Eating pie on Thanksgiving is a beloved tradition for many, and for those of us working to lose weight, we can still do so with our dessert choices on the holiday. We checked in with registered dietitians, nutritionists and other health experts to learn more about the healthiest pie choice, in their opinion, for Turkey Day, and how to make it even more weight loss-friendly. One tip they all offered, however, is to not deprive yourself of pie this year! Read on to discover why you don’t have to, with tips from Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements and Liana Werner-Gray, certified nutritionist, natural food chef, and founder of the Earth Diet.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Pie
Best explains that pumpkin pie is "likely the healthiest pie on the Thanksgiving dessert menu," and, it is also "the easiest to make healthier," with just a few changes. Pumpkin, she says, is a "nutrient dense food that provides just 50 calories per cup." It is rich in carotenoids, phytonutrients that give pumpkins their vibrant colors, which Best notes act as antioxidants in the body. "Antioxidants have widespread health benefits from preventing illness, reducing inflammation and even potentially preventing cancer," she continues.
Gray agrees, and adds that the pie she would deem the 'healthiest' option for a Thanksgiving dessert is also pumpkin pie. "This classic dessert is the least caloric pie, compared to apple, pecan, chocolate pie, and more," she points out. "A slice of pumpkin pie is about 300 calories, which is 100-200 calories less than the alternatives," Gray says. In addition, she notes that pumpkin pie is full of Vitamin A, which helps support healthy skin and nails. "It also contains lots of fiber, which helps regulate the body's use of sugars," Gray goes on, "thus helping to keep the body's hunger and blood sugar in check."
Quick Tips To Make Your Pie Even Healthier
While pumpkin pie is probably your best bet on Thanksgiving compared to others, Best still shares something to keep in mind when preparing yours to gain even more health benefits. "To make it healthier, look for a recipe that replaces refined sugar with maple syrup, dairy milk with nut-based milk, and a pie crust made with whole grain flour or almond flour," Best advises. Gray adds that many believe that "the crust of the pie is the most unhealthy part of the pie," so "avoiding the crust is extremely weight-loss friendly" if you are looking for ways to cut out unnecessary calories. Happy Thanksgiving and pie eating!