Last year Americans consumed around 736 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving[i], which was likely served with several favorite holiday side dishes and courses. This belt busting MEAL can have up to 3,450 calories, which is astounding when you consider that the average amount of calories consumed PER DAY for males is 2,475 and for females is 1,833[ii].
Though your traditions and recipes may make some of your Thanksgiving foods non-negotiable—such as a family recipe for gravy, or maybe this year it is your turn to get one of the savory dark meat legs— perhaps you just didn’t realize how many calories are in some foods, or you never thought to consider other options. You never know, you just might end up loving sweet potato pie, but never considered having anything else but pumpkin pie.
Below is a table with the most popular Thanksgiving Day foods and some healthy options for you to consider. Who knows, maybe this year will be the beginning of some new Thanksgiving dinner traditions that have you feeling energized and invigorated instead of sleepy and uncomfortable.
|Food||Portion Size||Calories||Healthy Option (same portion size)||Healthy Option CALORIES||Healthy Option Calorie Difference|
|Turkey, dark meat w/skin||4 oz.||249||Turkey, light meat no skin||189||60|
|Mashed Potatoes w/ sour cream and butter||1 cup||313||Mashed Potatoes w/ milk and butter||212||101|
|Stuffing (Bread)||1 cup||404||Stuffing (Cornbread)||358||46|
|Gravy, made w/meat drippings||1 cup||271||Gravy, made w/out fat||71||200|
|Green Bean Casserole||1 cup||276||Cooked green beans||44||232|
|Bread Rolls (white)||Medium size (about 2.5” across)||147||Bread Rolls (100% whole wheat)||96||51|
|Cranberry Sauce||1 cup||418||Fresh Cranberries||51||367|
|Candied Yams||1 cup||293||Baked Yams||165||128|
|Apple Pie||1/8 of 9” pie||356||Sweet Potato Pie||265||91|
|Pumpkin Pie||1/8 of 9” pie||374||Sweet Potato Pie||265||109|
|Pecan Pie||1/8 of 9” pie||464||Pumpkin pie||374||90|
|Soda, cola||12 oz.||136||Diet Soda, cola or Water||0||136|
|Beer||12 oz.||155||Skip it||0||155|
|Wine||5 oz.||125||Again, skipping the alcohol is the healthiest option||0||125|
|Squash w/butter and brown Sugar||1 cup||154||Squash w/salt and sugar, no butter||121||33|
If none of these options work for you, you could just make sure to keep your portions reasonable, but keep in mind that you are having more courses during this particular meal than you may be used to.
Some of you may have noticed that today’s article was not our normal Monday post of REAL STORIES, and was instead a TOP TIP. We wanted to make sure you had this information before the holiday since TOP TIPS posts every Thursday. So look for another great TOP TIP on Thanksgiving day, and REAL STORIES about real people accomplishing their health and fitness goals will resume on its regularly scheduled day again next Monday.
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[i] Information was obtained from http://www.eatturkey.com/consumer/history/history.html
[ii] Information was obtained from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes/databriefs/calories.pdf