5 tips for healthier pies

Adrienne Conza, Staff Writer

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is eating leftover pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the few days after Thanksgiving that our pies last. I know it doesn’t sound like the healthiest thing, but seriously, who has enough self control to limit themselves to one slice of pie a day? I sure don’t! But I also believe it is important to eat healthy foods, so I make my Thanksgiving pies a little more nutritious than your average pie so I don’t feel as guilty eating so much dessert. Here are 5 easy ways to make your Thanksgiving pies healthier, but just as tasty (if not more) than conventional pies!

1. Make your own pie crust. Many people like to save time and effort by buying pre-made pie crusts. However, store bought pie crusts contain lots of extra sugar and preservatives that are really not essential to make a delicious pie. Making your own pie crust allows you to control the ingredients (especially the amount of sugar you add) and it also allows you to skip the chemical preservatives! I personally don’t like to add much sugar, if any at all, to my pie crusts because having less- sweet pie crust actually brings out the sweetness in the pie filling and allows other flavors to shine. If you don’t have time to make pie crusts on Thanksgiving day, you can pre-make crusts beforehand and freeze them until you are ready to make your pies!

2. Use canned coconut milk instead of heavy cream. Many pumpkin pie recipes call for heavy cream, but you can actually substitute full fat canned coconut for heavy cream in any recipe. Coconut milk will give your pies the same creamy texture as heavy cream, but for almost half the calories. In addition, coconut milk is non-dairy, so vegans can eat it too. And if you are worried about your pies tasting like coconut, don’t be!

3. Use maple syrup, agave, or honey as a substitute for sugar or corn syrup. Many pie recipes call for cane sugar or corn syrup, which is really just highly processed, empty calories. Maple syrup, agave, and honey will all add sweetness to your desserts, but they have less calories and more nutritional value than cane sugar. This chocolate pecan pie is one of our family’s favorite recipes that uses agave nectar instead of corn syrup: https://theredhotread.com/2012/11/18/mouthwatering-chocolate-pecan-pie/

4. Use nut flour or whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour.  All purpose flour is extremely processed and is mostly empty carbs with very little nutritional value. Using nut flour adds healthy fats which reduce the amount of butter or other fat source required. The nuts also add protein and fiber, which add nutritional value to the crust and will keep you satisfied longer so you won’t feel the need to go in for a second or third slice of pie. If you are allergic to nuts, you can use whole wheat flour which also adds fiber and protein to the crust and is not as processed as all purpose flour.

5. Use a lattice top or no top at all. The majority of calories in a typical slice of pie actually come from the crust, which is mostly butter and flour. Therefore, opting for a lattice top, or even no top at all, can really save a lot of calories and fat from the butter used in pie crust. If you really like having a topping on your pie, sprinkle the top with oats or oats toasted in honey for a crunchy finish, or use cookie cutters to cut out small designs such as leaves out of extra pie crust and just add one or two pie crust cookies on top for a festive garnish.



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Categories: Arts & Culture, Food, Recipes, Recipes


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