Health Benefits of Thanksgiving Dinner

November 6, 2017 by Terri Mozingo, RD0

Each year on the fourth Thursday in November, Americans gather for a day of feasting, football and family. While today’s Thanksgiving celebrations would likely be unrecognizable to attendees of the original 1621 harvest meal, it continues to be a day for Americans to come together around the table—albeit with some updates to pilgrim’s menu.

With so much emphasis on the fat, calories, and potential dietary pitfalls of Thanksgiving dinner I thought I’d put a positive spin on the indulgent meal. I mean, with all the eating you’ve got to be getting some kind of nutrients, right? And, with the exception of canned cranberry sauce, (Uncle Joe insists on having it) everything on the table at my families’ Thanksgiving is homemade, and that has got to count for something!

Read on to see the HEALTH BENEFITS of Thanksgiving dinner!

  • Just 5oz of turkey provides half the recommended daily allowance of folic acid and 32g of protein.
  • 5oz of mashed potatoes pack 27mg of vitamin C—that’s 45% of the RDA.
  • String Bean Casserole made with frozen or canned vegetables maintains most of the nutrients including beta-carotene and B-vitamins
  • A half-cup serving of sweet potatoesprovides 330% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A!
  • One half-inch slice (about 1/8th of a can) of cranberry sauce is only 86 calories and .1g of fat. Even better, make your own for the full antioxidant, and infection-fighting benefits of cranberries!
  • Traditional stuffing doesn’t offer much but cook it in a separate dish, outside the turkey, to save yourself 70 calories per tablespoon!
  • A 5oz glass of wine is packed with the antioxidant reservatrol, which reduces bad cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
  • 1/8th of a 9” pumpkin pie packs 4.2g of fiber and 288mg of potassium, which helps counteract the high levels of sodium in a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

 

Now you know what you stand to gain from a traditional Thanksgiving dinner—aside from pounds.  Happy Thanksgiving!

 


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