Thanksgiving Meal Tip #1 – Make a pumpkin pie

We like dessert first, too. But only in this tip series, not at the table.

We recognize no Thanksgiving meal is complete without dessert. It’s tradition, and it’s delicious. Pecan pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie and cheesecake: These are all traditional desserts, but one is better than the others.

So here’s our first Thanksgiving tip from the Brody School of Medicine to keep your meal calorie count in check:  If you’re going to make pie, choose pumpkin.


First, pumpkin is a vegetable! It’s not often your dessert counts as a vegetable serving. Pumpkin is full of fiber and beta-carotene (Vitamin A). Fiber is excellent for weight control and colon health. Orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin are good sources of beta-carotene, which is good for vision, immunity and overall health. Make sure you’re using canned pumpkin, not “pumpkin pie filling.”

Second, pumpkin pie only has one layer of crust. Pie crust, with its significant amounts of butter and sugar, is loaded with calories. Although apple pie may seem like a healthier option, the top crust adds as much as 100 calories per slice.

Pumpkin pie contains lots of sugar, but you can make it with Splenda or an alternative sweetener. Instead of ice cream, garnish with low-fat or sugar-free whipped cream.

Other dessert ideas:

  • Make minis – mini cupcakes or pies automatically control portion size
  • Go crustless – baked apples or pears with spices and nuts can be served with low-fat frozen vanilla yogurt
  • Copy Bill Cosby – Many pudding and Jell-O mixes have little to zero fat and few calories, but still satisfy a sweet tooth