Are Thanksgiving Dinner Side Dishes Healthy?

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Thursday is Thanksgiving Day and also the official start of the holiday season. Most people admit they overeat on Thanksgiving Day, but don’t realize they consume almost 2,000 calories at dinner alone. Eating a big meal could be hazardous to your health as well as your waistline. WHAT ARE THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF EATING A BIG MEAL? Eating large meals not only stimulates fat synthesis and fat storage leading to weight gain but also puts stress on the body. Big meals increase insulin levels and blood fats, resulting in increased triglyceride levels, LDL levels and inflammation, while lowering HDL levels. This can be especially dangerous for people with diabetes and heart disease because it increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. WHAT CAN WE DO TO PREVENT THESE HARMFUL EFFECTS? There are several things to do: --Eat small meals during the day - a light breakfast takes the edge off, so you don’t overeat later --Focus on the foods you love the most --Eat more slowly to control your appetite, satiety and portion sizes --Watch alcohol intake because it stimulates appetite and removes inhibitions --Include foods high in fiber and antioxidants to minimize the damage to cells TURKEY IS HEALTHY, WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE MENU? Starchy Sides Bread dressing or stuffing ½ cup = 180 calories Macaroni & cheese ½ cup = 250 calories Wild rice casserole ½ cup = 125 calories Rich Vegetables Mashed potatoes ½ cup = 119 calories (2 T gravy = 82 calories) Candied sweet potatoes ½ cup = 150 calories Green bean casserole ½ cup = 111 calories Salads & Condiments Cranberry sauce ¼ cup = 105 calories Gelatin fruit salad ½ cup = 160 calories Sauerkraut ½ cup = 15 calories (200mg sodium) Desserts Pumpkin pie 1 slice = 315 calories (2 T whipped cream = 51 calories) Bean pie 1 slice = 427 calories (35g sugar) Apple pie 1 slice = 410 calories