There are ways to make pie recipes more nutritious, just in time for your next summer get-together.

Barbeques, sunshine, summer holidays, oh my! Summer is officially here and that means you may have barbeques or backyard parties marked on your calendar. They may even include America’s unofficial favorite summer dessert – fruit pies.

Although delicious, pies can be full of sugar and other not-so-good-for-you ingredients, especially for cancer patients or those at high risk for cancer. We asked Maria Petzel, senior clinical dietitian for the Pancreas Surgery Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and a member of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s  Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, how pie recipes can be made in a more nutritious way.

“Pies can be a great way of enjoying summer fruits,” Petzel said. “Make pie recipes more nutritious by incorporating more whole grains, skipping the crust all together and using less sugar.”

Take a look at these recipes Petzel recommended from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) that use her tips for a more nutritious pie:

Incorporating more whole grains:

Petzel suggested using whole wheat flour crust or consider baking a cobbler using a whole wheat biscuit.

Using less sugar:

The fruit’s natural sweetness will be enhanced and concentrated by cooking, so for many fruit fillings using a sweet fruit, you can reduce the added sugar by half. Ensure the recipe calls for a thickening agent or ingredient (flour, cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca, etc.).

Skipping the crust:

Like Petzel, the AICR suggests leaving the crust behind (which saves 125 to 150 calories per slice), creating more of a custard or fruit cobbler.

Pancreatic cancer patients often have many questions and concerns about nutritional care. In addition to PanCAN’s Patient Central, both MyPlate and AICR provide resources on healthy diets, including eating well on a budget. A registered dietitian is also an invaluable resource for cancer patients with dietary restrictions.

Come back to our blog each week for a new installment of the Friday Fix.