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  • Sharon Benzvi

So what should I actually eat on Thanksgiving?

I hope you enjoyed my previous advice and you’re now ready for the specifics…

First off, I know it’s difficult to know all the nutritional facts when you’re not hosting. Don’t feel bad asking the hosts some questions. Don’t play detective and interrogate them, but be open-minded and curious about how he/she made it and the recipes they used ;)

Ok, let’s talk business…

The traditional Thanksgiving menu is typically–

Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, and pumpkin pie.

If you’re hosting or assisting the hosts in bringing some dishes – it will be easier as you have more control of what’s in the dish.

Let’s break it down –

Turkey –

The good - it’s a protein; it will keep you full for a longer period of time.

The bad – it depends how it’s cooked; roasting is healthier than deep-frying.

The verdict – check how it was cooked and if it wasn’t deep-fried, it’s a good choice.

Stuffing –

The good – It might contain vegetables and herbs.

The bad – Lots of (usually) white bread.

The verdict – skip or eat in moderation.

Cranberry sauce –

The good – if it’s home made/lightly sweetened with maple syrup.

The bad - This might sound like a safe bet. Cranberries are a fruit, so how bad can it be? However, cranberries are naturally sour so store bought is usually packed with sugar. ¼ cup Ocean spray cranberry sauce has 22 grams of sugar! Yes, you read that right. Is that really worth it?

The verdict – If it’s home made – eat in moderation, store bought – skip or read the label and see ingredients and sugar content.

Mashed potato with gravy –

The good – Mashed potatoes are considered vegetables, right?!

The bad – How much butter is in the mashed potatoes?

Gravy is usually made of butter, white flour, and broth.

The verdict – Eat some mashed potatoes without the gravy.

Sweet potatoes with marshmallows-

The good – roasted or steamed sweet potatoes are not a bad option

The bad – marshmallows?!... Do I need to say more?...

The verdict – Either bring your own roasted sweet potatoes or skip it.. If you HAVE to try it – limit it to a spoonful.

Green bean casserole

The good – Green beans are great… when they’re steamed or stir-fried with a little olive oil!

The bad – Oh, where do I start? The cream of mushroom soup or the fried onions?

The verdict – If it’s your favorite dish – eat in moderation, if it’s not – skip it.

Dinner rolls –

The good – hmm… the smell?

The bad – unless they’re home made from scratch with spelt flour (or from a small bakery that you know) – then it’s not a great choice.

The verdict – honestly, even if they’re home made – skip it. There are better options tonight…

Pumpkin pie –

The good – maybe there was a pumpkin here a while ago…

The bad – sugar, whipped cream…

The verdict – Have a slice, savor it, enjoy it, zip it.

I hope that was helpful. If you haven’t read Thanksgiving Parts 1 and 2 go back for some more holiday tips…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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