Thanksgiving Food Facts

Food is the centrepiece of everyone’s Thanksgiving. Here’s some facts on everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving foods, as well as some healthier alternatives. Remember though Thanksgiving is only one day so whatever you eat isn’t going to have a huge impact on your overall weight or health.

Turkey is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving. While it’s often blamed for post Thanksgiving meal fatigue, turkey’s not the culprit. While turkey does have tryptophan, it’s comparable to other meats. So why are you getting sleepy? It’s likely due to the large amount of food that you’re eating or the extra energy and stress of hosting or preparing a Thanksgiving dinner.

As for the white meat dark meat debate, both are pretty healthy for you. A serving of turkey is 3 ounces, roughly the size of a deck of cards and contains 24 grams of protein.  White meat has slightly less fat and fewer calories while dark meat has more iron and zinc. The differences are small and both have their pros and cons so you should probably just eat the one that you like better though.

Coming in a close second in iconic Thanksgiving dishes is pumpkin pie. Let’s start off by looking at the pumpkin.  Like other orange fruits and vegetables, pumpkin has a lot of the antioxidant beta-carotene which gets converted in Vitamin A. Pumpkin also has a good amount of fiber and is relatively low in calories. Canned pumpkin usually has more fiber and protein than fresh pumpkin so if you don’t want to lug a big pumpkin with you and go to the work of cutting and scooping, don’t fret. If you do enjoy buying fresh pumpkins though, the healthiest part of the pumpkin is the seeds so make sure to use them if you buy a fresh pumpkin.

While pumpkin pie may not be the healthiest way of eating pumpkin, remember Thanksgiving is just a one day affair, so don’t fret too much. If you want to try making a healthier version this healthier pumpkin pie recipe is faster than making a regular pumpkin pie, just ignore the paleo and organic references. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to use pumpkins more in your other cooking as well.

Lastly, who can forget the cranberry sauce with the turkey? Cranberries are very high in antioxidants and a good source of Vitamin C, A and K and fiber. While it has long been thought that cranberries/cranberry juice helped with UTI infections this has been proven to be untrue. As well as the above nutritional benefits though they may help your teeth stay clean and some of its antioxidant properties are still being explored for possible health benefits. Cranberries also keep well in the fridge and freezer. Like pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce isn’t the best way to eat cranberries. There are a couple recipes for some healthier cranberry sauce though Cranberry 1 Cranberry 2.  Remember if you’re using juice to check how make sugar it has. Also consider using cranberries for muffins and smoothies.

Lastly if you want to change up your mashed potatoes and save some time, try out these  Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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