Why You Should Add Collagen To Your Thanksgiving Desserts

Contributing Food Editor By Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
Liz Moody is a food editor, recipe developer and green smoothie enthusiast. She received her creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody is the author of two cookbooks: Healthier Together and Glow Pops and the host of the Healthier Together podcast.
The One Ingredient That'll Make Your Thanksgiving Desserts Healthier

Photo by Hugo Aitken / Unsplash / Unsplash

While I'm all about making healthier versions of classic desserts, sometimes I just want to make the originals a little bit healthier.

And that's where my favorite dessert booster comes in: collagen peptides. You may already be familiar with it as the ingredient you froth into your matcha lattes or scoop into your morning smoothies. What you may not know, however, is that, in reasonable amounts, it doesn't change the flavor or texture of baked goods (unlike its cousin, gelatin, which is basically the OG texture manipulator).

"Collagen is a family of fibrous proteins that are actually the most abundant proteins in the animal kingdom," explained mbg health contributor Gretchen Lidicker. "There are at least 16 different types, and each helps make up the structure of our skin, bone, cartilage, and muscle."

It's known for helping with gut health, skin health, and inflammation—according to William Cole, D.C., IFMCP, a functional medicine expert and mbg Collective member, his patients experience "their skin becoming brighter, nails becoming stronger, hair becoming more luminous, and they often experience less joint pain!"

The main reason I'm adding it to my Thanksgiving desserts, though? Its protein content. Collagen contains about 18 grams of protein per serving, and all of that protein helps stabilize blood sugar when you're consuming a lot of sugar—say, when you're diving into that third helping of Grandma's pumpkin pie.

To reap the benefits and step off the blood sugar roller coaster, just add two scoops of unflavored grass-fed collagen (I buy Vital Proteins, which is derived from pastured cows and third-party tested to be heavy-metal-free; Primal Kitchen is also a good choice) to the liquid part of any pie batter, healthy or otherwise, then carry on with the rest of the instructions as listed.

One note: If there are any vegans in your family, you'll want to eschew the collagen, as it's derived from cows (for bovine collagen) or fish (for marine collagen). If you want to reap the same benefits, I love sprinkling hulled hemp hearts on the top of the pie for the last 5 minutes of baking. They add a decent amount of complete protein (rare for a plant protein!) and, when they turn golden, add a lovely, nutty crunch that plays well with most dessert flavor profiles. Just watch them carefully to make sure the delicate fats don't burn!

Want some dessert inspo for your base?

This pumpkin pie is grain-free.

This pumpkin pie features a gut-healing secret ingredient! (Any guesses?)

This chocolate pie features squash (!!).

This vegan apple pie melds modern and traditional flavors.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

More On This Topic

The Elimination Diet

The Elimination Diet
More Food

Popular Stories

Latest Articles

Latest Articles

Sites We Love

Your article and new folder have been saved!