Leslie Beck's Q and A on Thanksgiving Day pie and calories
Published Wednesday, October 5, 2011 11:27AM EDT
Leslie, give us the bad news first. How many calories are in these pies?
Let's start with pumpkin pie, the lowest calorie pie choice for Thanksgiving. One slice has 315 calories, 14 grams of fat and 25 grams of sugar -- 6 teaspoons worth. The sugar comes from brown sugar and evaporated milk in the filling. If you top your pumpkin pie with whip cream you'll add 100 calories to your dessert.
Apple pie sounds like a healthy choice but that can change depending what toppings you add. One slice of homemade apple pie has 411 calories, 19 grams of fat and 34 grams of sugar -- 8.5 teaspoons worth. The fat comes from the shortening in the crust and the sugar is added to the fruit filling -- about 2 cups worth of sugar. If you add ½ cup of premium vanilla ice cream, your slice of apple pie now clocks in at 677 calories and 14 teaspoons of sugar.
Pecan pie is another Thanksgiving favourite. One slice has 500 calories, 27 grams of fat -- almost half a day's worth of fat for women -- and at least 27 grams of sugar, 7 teaspoons worth. Pecan pie is higher in fat than the other pies, but it's mostly healthy fat from the nuts.
How can make these desserts a little lighter?
Well for starters, you could eat less of the crust. If you eat only half the crust you'll save 70 to 100 calories. If you like the crust, then for apple pie choose a dough crust instead of a crumb crust -- you will save about 85 calories per slice.
As for toppings, your best bet is a dollop of whipped cream. If you add ¼ cup you are only adding 40 calories, 3 grams of fat and 1 gram of sugar. That's considerably lower than ice cream and frozen yogurt.
Let's say you want a slice of pie with the works. What would I have to give up to balance the calories?
Let's say you are going to have a slice of pecan pie with vanilla ice cream. This time we'll go with ½ cup of regular ice cream, nor the premium stuff. That dessert will cost you 640 calories. Here's what you'd have to give up in order to enjoy dessert without any guilt:
- 1/2 cup turkey stuffing, 180 calories
- 1/2 cup mashed potatoes, 125 calories
- 1/4 cup gravy, 100 calories
- Skip butter in vegetables, 2 teaspoons, 90 calories
- One 6 oz. glass of wine, 150 calories
The grand total is 645 calories! You can still enjoy all the Thanksgiving trimmings, but you need to go easy on portion size. And no seconds.