Breaking Down: Thanksgiving Meals

Classic Thanksgiving Menu and Recipes

For centuries, Thanksgiving has been a holiday most commonly celebrated with food. Large amounts of it. As time has gone on, people have brought their own unique innovations into the holiday, and the food is what makes it special. But now, as obesity rates skyrocket, can we afford to continue making these unhealthy choices? Read on to see how we can improve our diets every time we eat a Thanksgiving meal.

Some of the staple items at a Thanksgiving table are the following: a roasted turkey, a pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and a sweet potato casserole. Other items that could be served include different meats, such as ham and chicken. There are also many vegetable based dishes.

A 3 ounce serving of turkey contains 173 calories, over 5 grams of fat, and over 20 grams of protein. Turkey is also high in vitamins and minerals. This doesn’t seem unhealthy, but the portion size of turkey is often over the recommended 3 ounces, and the grams of fat keep on piling up. The pumpkin pie is the next item that needs to be broken down. Check yesterday’s fast fact about pumpkin pie for further information on this iconic dessert. A 5 ounce serving of pumpkin pie contains 323 calories, 13 grams of fat, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, and 318 milligrams of sodium. If you thought the unseasoned turkey was unhealthy, then this is unacceptable. And most people eat multiple slices of pie, thinking “It’s only once a year…”. If you want to take it even further, with the third of the Holy Trinity in Thanksgiving food, let’s take a look at mashed potatoes with gravy. A 10 ounce serving of mashed potatoes contains 265 calories, 20 grams of fat, 1143 milligrams of sodium, and 42 grams of carbohydrates. Mashed potatoes are among some of the worst food items to overeat. The sodium and carbohydrates build up and are the biggest factors to blame for heartburn.

A Thanksgiving meal is not to blame for what this holiday has turned into. The lack of portion control for each item individually has caused the holiday to be known for gaining weight and making unhealthy choices. As the holiday continues to be innovated, there are healthier recipes everywhere. Be encouraged to try them out. Stay healthy!

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