Most of us are well aware of the not-so-healthy food offerings available at the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Instead of scaring you with terrifying nutrition facts about how many calories are consumed during a typical feast, we want to share some of the health benefits of a traditional Thanksgiving meal!
At the center of the Thanksgiving spread, of course, is the turkey! The perfect portion of this protein powerhouse is three ounces – about the size of a deck of playing cards. Aside from offering lean protein, turkey is packed with folic acid, iron, zinc, B6, and niacin. Also, dark meat, while higher in fat than white meat, has more iron per serving.
Mashed potatoes are the epitome of what constitutes a “comfort food,” but potatoes are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Leaving the skin on your potatoes before mashing adds more fiber and B vitamins. Sticking with a ½ cup serving (the size of a billiard ball) will help you stay on track. Ladle on no more than ¼ cup of gravy (the size of an egg) to keep saturated fat and sodium to a minimum.
Green bean casserole, while not necessarily considered low-calorie, boasts high amounts of fiber and folate, as well as vitamins A and B. Antioxidant-rich green beans also contain lutein and zea-xanthin, both powerful compounds that help to fight free radicals. Minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium are also plentiful in green beans, assisting in metabolism processes. Play it smart with a ½ cup serving of this dish.
Sweet potatoes are the super-food of the meal, boasting high amounts of B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron and magnesium. Bake, roast, or mash for the healthiest preparation and scoop up only a ½ cup serving.
Cranberry sauce is most healthful when made from whole cranberries. However, don’t sweat it if you prefer the canned variety. Cranberries are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Although high in calories, cranberry sauce is low in fat. Limiting your portion to ¼ cup will keep unwanted calories and sugar at bay.
No matter how you slice it, pie is pie. Pumpkin pie, however, contains fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. To be more specific, 1/8th of a 9-inch pie has a little over 4 grams of fiber and 288 grams of potassium per serving!
While over-indulging in a thanksgiving feast can induce heavy feelings of guilt, it doesn’t have to. Remember that portion control is key, and indulge instead in the time spent with your friends and family. Those types of indulgence won’t expand your waistline, only your heart (in a good way, of course).
Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Trilogy!
Enjoy this Banana Salad recipe contributed by one of our residents!