Time for Dessert: Pumpkin Pie or Pecan?
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without pie, even if it does meaning bringing your daily caloric intake to nearly 2.5 times what it should be. Pecans have healthy fats, and pumpkin is technically a vegetable, so both are good choices, right?
Go with…pumpkin pie. As Eat This, Not That notes, the healthy fats in pecans aren’t enough to compensate for the unhealthy filling—solidified corn syrup. Pumpkin pie with low-fat whipped cream has 335 calories, 15 grams of fat, and half the sugar content of pecan pie, which is loaded down with 450 calories and 21 grams of fat, even without the whipped cream on top! (By the way, if you're the pie maker in the family, see our story on holiday pies for tasty, easy recipes.)
Other Tips to Keep It Healthy
There are some dishes that may be too ingrained in family tradition, such as your grandma's stuffing (which can have 175 calories and 14 grams of fat), to replace. You can cut down on calorie counts, however, by varying your offerings:
• Rather than make green bean casserole with condensed cream-of-mushroom soup and fried onions, serve fresh green beans with sautéed onions (100 calories and 6 grams of fat).
• Serve whole wheat dinner rolls, rather than refined white-flour rolls or cornbread.
• Work some leafy greens into the menu. Kale, spinach, and broccoli are reaching the end of their season, but if you can find these fresh, nutrient-rich greens, toss a few onto your table. They're high in fiber, which is filling and helps control blood sugar, so you're not as susceptible to that after-dinner slump.
If you're doing some or all of the cooking this year, see our story on healthy versions of classic Thanksgiving side dishes…or email a link to whoever's on kitchen duty.
Published on: November 23, 2009
Updated on: November 22, 2010