JCC Writing Team
November 19, 2021
JCC Writing Team
Image Credit: ©alexraths - Deposit Photos
Classic Thanksgiving Foods Ranked from Best to Worst For Your Health
Thanksgiving is all about celebrating and being thankful about the blessings of the past year. And of course, it won't be complete without the traditional Thanksgiving feast. We're not about to tell you what to eat and what not to eat on this special day, but this is to enlighten you on which classic foods are good for your health and which ones are not that good.
Fill your plate wisely. Here is our ranking of the best to worst thanksgiving food based on how good they are for your health.
- Brussels sprouts: Taking the top spot is the veggie side dish, brussels sprouts. Apart from their natural cancer-fighting properties, they are also filled with protein, fiber, and vitamin K and C. One cup only contains 60 calories so you can keep eating them all day.
- Mushroom gravy: Meat gravy is not too bad in terms of calorie content but it has saturated fat. The best way to top your turkey to make it tastier and healthier would be to use mushroom gravy; it’s low-calorie, low-sodium, and low-fat so you can indulge in more treats.
- Roasted green beans: The traditional green bean casserole contains butter, cream of mushroom soup, cheese, and fried onions that make it a less healthy choice if you’re cutting back on sodium, fat, and calories. Try roasting your green beans with some olive oil for a healthier alternative.
- Corn on the cob: Eating one ear of corn is about the same calories as an apple. It also has about 2 grams of protein and fiber to keep you fuller for fewer calories. Go easy on the butter, or skip it altogether to reduce your saturated fat intake during the day.
- Cranberry sauce: Filled with fiber and vitamin C, and natural anti-inflammatory properties. Cranberries outrank most fruits and vegetables in terms of the level of antioxidants. Just be mindful of your sugar intake when using sweetened cranberry sauce.
- Red wine: With less sugar than white wine and fewer calories than beer, red wine is the healthiest choice. It has resveratrol that helps regulate weight gain, blood pressure, and sugar level. It also has several physical and mental health benefits. It's a good idea to keep an eye on your consumption as one glass has 125 calories.
- Turkey: Thanksgiving isn’t complete without turkey. Stay on the healthy side by eating white meat with fewer calories but packed with protein, iron, zinc, potassium, and vitamin B. Try to avoid dark meat and the skin as they have more calories.
- Mashed potatoes: Potatoes have a healthy amount of fiber and vitamins, but traditional mashed potato recipes call for unhealthy add-ins like milk, cheese, and butter which can hike up your calorie count.
- Biscuit: Biscuits are just calories with little nutritional value and it doesn't fill you up. By adding sour cream, gravy, or other toppers, you're just pushing up your calorie consumption even more. Try healthier alternatives like Greek yogurt topper.
- Sweet potato casserole: With 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving, the sweet potato casserole lands on the unhealthy side of this ranking, despite the beta-carotene, vitamins, and minerals it contains.
- Pumpkin pie: It's delicious and an indispensable thanksgiving food but a slice contains 300 calories and 15 grams of fat. But it is still the healthiest dessert option. The fiber and nutrients are all good but the unhealthy amount of cream and sugar will make you regret going for another slice.
- Stuffing: With 400 calories and 25 grams of fat per cup, stuffing lands on the least healthy non-dessert thanksgiving food. It's just bread, butter, and sausage with little nutritional value. So maybe cook your stuffing separately from the turkey to give your guests the option to skip it.
- Apple pie: At 411 calories per slice, you're eating the caloric equivalent of a full meal with turkey, gravy, corn, and red wine. The crust is heavy on the butter, while the filling is loaded with sugar. You can still enjoy this thanksgiving favorite just maybe in smaller portions.
- Pecan pie: Last on the list is the delicious but dangerous pecan pie. Containing a staggering amount of calories at 503 and 27 grams of fat, the pecan pie is something you might want to skip this year.
Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy and be thankful for bountiful blessings. So don’t be afraid to indulge yourself in your thanksgiving favorites, after all, it only happens once a year. Just be mindful of your portions and the number of calories you’re ingesting as you might end up regretting it the next day. Stay healthy this holiday season with informed choices and mindful eating.