Which is Healthier: Pumpkin or Pecan Pie?

by in Thanksgiving, November 22, 2012

pumpkin and pecan pie
These super-popular Thanksgiving desserts are going head to head. With both having single pie crusts and packed with good-for-you ingredients, the competition is fierce. Which gets your vote?

Pumpkin Pie

Pros:
According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should all be eating 2 cups of orange veggies each week. Pumpkin pie can help meet these recommendations plus that brilliant orange color provides the antioxidants vitamin A and lutein.

Cons:
Fatty ingredients like traditional pastry crust, butter, cream cheese, half-and-half, or shortening can sabotage the nutritional value. Mountains of sugar from canned pumpkin pie filling and spoonfuls of sugary toppings can also send calories through the roof. Topped with whipped cream or a la mode, a slice can weigh in at close to 500 calories.

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Tips:

  • Use gingersnap cookies for a lighter crust made without partially hydrogenated oils or make your own canola oil pie crust.
  • No need for mounds of sugar—let the sweetness of the pumpkin take over.
  • Steer clear of sugary or heavily-sweetened pumpkin pie filling. The canned pumpkin puree should have one ingredient; add your own spices from there.
  • Serve with one heaping spoon of freshly made whipped cream and fresh fruit like apples, oranges and pears.
  • Try Food Network Kitchens slimmed version.

Pecan Pie

Pros:
One ounce (about 19 halves) of pecans has 195 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 3 grams of fiber. It provides two-thirds of your daily recommended amount of manganese, an essential mineral that help with blood clotting and helps form bones, connective tissue, and sex hormones. It’s also a good source of thiamin and copper. Studies have found that pecans can help reduce your bad (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol.

Cons:
Pecan pie is traditionally made with a good amount corn syrup and/or brown sugar, which only contributes sugar and calories. Once again, your crust can be a big source of fat, especially artery-clogging saturated fat. Although pecans have many healthy attributes, more doesn’t mean it’s healthier. Mounds of pecans can contribute to high calories and fat in a pecan pie.
Traditionally prepared pecan pie has about 550 calories. With ½ cup vanilla ice cream, the calories go up to 700. That’s 35% of your recommended daily calories just for dessert.

Healthy Pecan Pie Tips:

  • Make your own healthier pie crust.
  • Use half the amount of sugary ingredients like corn syrup, maple syrup, or sugar.
  • If you need to go a la mode, use a light vanilla frozen yogurt or low fat ice cream.

YOU VOTE: Who’s the winner? Pumpkin pie or pecan pie?

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