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Pie Nutrition: How to Pick a Healthy Slice

pumpkin-pieby Carol Bareuther, M.S., R.D.

Back in the 19th century, folks regarded fruit-filled pies as a good hearty meal before a hard day’s work. Today, we consider our versions to be decadent desserts. So which is it? Does a slice of pie rate as friend or foe in terms of healthfulness? It’s all in your choice of filling!


P.S. Scroll down for links to healthy Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes.



Pie slice* Calories Saturated
Cholesterol Fiber Dietitian's Tips
Pumpkin 229 1.9 g 22 mg 2.9 g One slice of this Thanksgiving classic serves up 50 percent of the daily recommendation for the eyesight-saving vitamin A. Of course, a big handful of baby carrots from the relish dish will do the same thing.
Coconut Custard 270 6 g 36 mg 1.9 g Nearly half the fat in this pie comes in the artery clogging saturated form. If you're baking your own, replace the flaked coconut in the filling with 2 teaspoons of coconut essence and then just sprinkle a tablespoon or two of the flaked coconut over the top.
Blueberry 271 2 g 0 mg 1.2 g If you're going to fork into a slice of pie, make it this type. Blueberries are renowned for their antioxidants. Skp the crust and you've got a fairly healthy dessert.
Apple 277 4.4 g 0 mg 1.9 g The U.S. Apple Association cites research linking apples with heart health, brain health, cancer prevention and more. Of course, this is a pie ...
Lemon Meringue 303 2 g 51 mg 1.4 g One of the skinnier treats on this list, the added benefits are the antioxidants in lemons. Of course, these benefits don't double by eating the whole pie.
Cherry 304 3 g 0 mg 0.9 g Believe it or not, cherries have lots of melatonin and might help prevent jet lag. Lots of sugar, however, is not a good sleep remedy.
Chocolate 344 5.6 g 6 mg 2.3 g Yes, chocolate has disease-preventing antioxidants, but this version comes with heavy cream. Go for a bite-size dark-chocolate bar instead.
Pecan 452 4 g 36 mg 4 g Pecans are pretty heart-healthy—but not so much when they're served up alongside such high-calorie ingredients as sugar and butter. Instead, just down a handful from the nut bowl.

*One-sixth of an 8-inch pie, commercially prepared.

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database

CAROL M. BAREUTHER, R.D., is a nutritionist with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

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Healthy Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes:

Last updated and/or approved: November 2010.
Original article appeared in November/December 2007 former print magazine. Bio current as of that issue. This general health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.
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