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Healthy Holiday Eating: Which Pie is Healthier?

By Tasha McRae

December is here and with it comes multiple holiday parties. Recently, I wrote about How to Navigate the Cheese Plate. Today, I have a a fun holiday food quiz that we recently did in our clinics with LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic members.

Today’s question is about making healthier pie choices when faced with delicious deserts. Although I am not encouraging you to eat pie, eating healthy is not about constant restriction and never eating the foods you love. In fact, saying no all the time can lead to a willpower breakdown and over-indulging.

And it can be very hard to say no in a party environment when everyone around you is loading their plates with goodies. Sometimes you need to make room for a small treat.

If you decide you are going to have a slice of pie:

Q: What is the best choice when you’re choosing pie at a holiday party?

A) Pumpkin Pie

B) Pecan Pie

C) Apple Pie

**ANSWER: A **

Pick pumpkin. Most slices of pumpkin pie have significantly fewer calories than the same serving of other pies including apple and pecan. Although the nuts in the pecan pie might sound heart-healthy, pecan pie is typically made with corn syrup, sugar, butter, and eggs. You can end up with twice the fat of pumpkin pie and all the sugar.

Apple pie can be sweeter than pumpkin and has a top crust which doubles the amount dough you ingest, and the flour and butter.

Remember that whatever pie you choose, your portion size is important. All of the pleasure is in the first few bites as your taste buds light up with the flavours. Each additional bite loses it initial dazzle. If you savour your chosen piece slowly and mindfully and you might not feel the need to finish the whole piece. Alternatively, you could share your slice with a loved one to cut down on calories but still get a taste.

Good luck with your food choices this holiday season! Remember, moderation is key.

Tasha McRae, BHK, ACSM, CES/CET, is a certified exercise physiologist and Director of Programs and Training at LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic