How to eat healthier on Thanksgiving
You're not wrong if you think of Thanksgiving dinner as a bit of salt, sugar, and fat overload. While there's nothing wrong with having an occasional indulgence, you might be in the market for some healthier, more nutritious options this Thanksgiving. Here are some of the most nutrient-dense traditional foods you can enjoy on Turkey Day:
Three ounces of white meat only contain 115 calories. Plus, it's a great source of protein—one serving has 26 grams. It's also packed with iron, zinc, and B vitamins. For a healthier option, make sure to eat the white meat without the skin, and don't overdo it with the gravy.
2. Kale salad
Kick off your Thanksgiving meal with a salad. It'll help you feel more satisfied with all the fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. One serving of kale salad only has 150 calories, a ton of fiber, and 6 grams of fat with one tablespoon of dressing.
3. Roasted green beans
Green beans are a low-calorie vegetable rich in fiber and contain various nutrients, such as vitamins A and C. Each cup only has 65 calories and 5 grams of fat. Try to avoid green bean casseroles, which are loaded with calories and fat.
4. Mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes can be a healthy choice when made with the right ingredients. If they're made with butter and whole milk, one serving of mashed potatoes contains about 237 calories and 9 grams of fat. But, if you substitute non-fat milk and cauliflower for half of the potatoes, you'll lose 100 calories and 8 grams of fat, plus add some fiber.
5. Roasted Brussels sprouts
A one-half-cup serving of Brussels sprouts has 136 calories and 7 grams of fat. They're filling, nutritious, and tasty. This cruciferous vegetable is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as dietary fiber and potassium.
6. Sweet potatoes
One medium sweet potato has only 112 calories. A powerhouse vegetable, sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and C, and they also contain phytochemicals like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
7. Wild rice
Often used in stuffing, wild rice contains 160 calories per cup. It's chewy and nutty, and wild rice has fewer carbs and more protein than brown rice.
8. Roasted carrots
One cup of roasted carrots only has around 60 calories. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A. But when they're cooked, carrots' levels of beta-carotene and phenolic acids are actually boosted.
9. Corn on the cob
Corn has a ton of health benefits. Corn is high in fiber and contains B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. If you choose to boil or grill corn, it's also relatively low in calories. One ear of corn only has around 155 calories.
10. Baked acorn squash
Acorn squash is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. It's also high in fiber and contains carotenoid antioxidants. One cup of cooked acorn squash only has around 115 calories.
What about Thanksgiving desserts?
When choosing desserts, stick with either pumpkin pie or apple crisp. One serving of pumpkin pie contains a reasonable 323 calories and 13 grams of fat, and a serving of apple crisp only has 228 calories and 5 grams of fat per half-cup serving. One Thanksgiving classic you may want to skip? Pecan pie has a whopping 500 calories and 27 grams of fat per slice.
- "The 7 Healthiest Foods on Your Thanksgiving Menu," Eating Well, n.d.
- "The Healthiest (and Least Healthy) Thanksgiving Foods," Glamour, November 23, 2016.
diet | weight loss | nutrition