10 Thanksgiving Foods That are Actually Good for You from 10 Thanksgiving Foods That are Actually Good for You
10 Thanksgiving Foods That are Actually Good for You
10 Thanksgiving Foods That are Actually Good for You
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and while certain staple foods should be avoided, there are some healthy foods that you can safely eat. Make sure you’re eating the white meat of the turkey instead of the dark meat; substitute candied yams for plain yams, and replace apple pie with a pumpkin pie.
A healthy diet is essential for helping maintain your body’s everyday functions. Nutritious foods are those that contain vitamins and minerals — calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D, and potassium, to name a few. Try to minimize your intake of processed foods, saturated fats, artificial sweeteners, and refined grains.
Before you pick up your fork and begin to indulge in your Thanksgiving meal, it’s important to educate yourself on the foods that are actually good for you.
Green beans are one of the most underrated vegetables, says Ilana Muhlstein, R.D., Nutritionist for Explore Cuisine. “Their deep green color is not only rich in chlorophyll like other green vegetables, but they are also rich in protective carotenoids, the cancer fighting pigment present in carrots and tomatoes.” One cup of green beans contains 13 percent of your daily dose of fiber and 2 grams of protein for fewer than 40 calories, Mulstein adds. “Make sure to have one to two cups, if not three, at your Thanksgiving meal!” Tip: Looking for a healthy, gluten-free, green bean casserole recipe? Click Here!
Drinking red wine in moderation during your Thanksgiving meal may actually benefit your health. The resveratrol – a polyphenol – found in red wine has antioxidant properties that have shown to lower your risk for many diseases. For instance, red wine has been proven to help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, aid in weight loss, help fight off the common cold, promote healthy skin, and even prevent the signs of aging.
Turkey is a staple Thanksgiving food. It is “low in fat and calories and really high in protein, iron and flavor,” Muhlstein explains. “Four ounces of turkey breast with skin has the same amount of calories, fat and protein as dark meat without the skin. So if you like the juicy dark meat, just be sure to remove the skin.”
“Now is the perfect time to mix n match gorgeous seasonal produce to assemble beautiful autumn salads,” Muhlstein says. “Arugula, fennel, red apple and pecans would add a wonderful boost of color and nutrition to your Thanksgiving table scape and plate. These foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein to get you and your guests feeling full and satisfied, yet not uncomfortably stuffed like the Turkey.”
Instead of reaching for the sweet potato casserole put a few Brussel sprouts on your plate instead. According to SELFNutritionData, a half cup of Brussels sprouts, cooked, boiled and drained, doesn’t have any fat or cholesterol. It contains only 28 calories, 6g of carbs and 16mg of sodium. Vitamin C, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin K, and potassium are just some of the many vitamins in Brussels sprouts.
Roasted Butternut Squash
“Butternut squash is amazing because when cubed and roasted with a touch of olive oil and sea salt or cinnamon, it makes a beautiful, vitamin A-packed side dish that everyone loves,” Muhlstein says. “Plus, it has all of that natural sweetness and creamy texture as a sweet potato but with half the calories, carbs and sugar!” Try butternut squash with Explore Cuisine’s Organic Red Lentil Spaghetti in a Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta created by Cindy Gordon from Vegetarian Mamma; Click Here for the recipe!
Substitute your apple pie for pumpkin pie instead. According to SelfNutritionData, one piece of pumpkin pie has about 316 calories, 14g of fat, and 41g of carbs, compared to a slice of apple pie, which has about 411 calories, 19g of fat, and 58g of carbs. Pumpkin pie is a great source of water-soluble B vitamins, calcium and iron.
Mashed Potatoes With Cauliflower
Mashed potatoes and cauliflower is an ideal side dish for a delicious Thanksgiving meal. “Potatoes are rich in vitamin C and fiber and when combined with cauliflower, the dish saves a lot of calories and carbs, without losing out on any flavor,” Muhlstein explains. “Just boil 3 cups of cauliflower florets with 2 cubed yukon potatoes until tender and then mash them up along with some warm milk, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.”
With only 21 calories per 1 cup, spinach makes for the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. It is low in cholesterol and fat, and high in zinc, fiber, potassium, magnesium, protein, and niacin. According to whfoods.com, the vitamin K in spinach is important for maintaining bone health, and the carotenoid and flavonoid nutrients found in spinach provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Whole Wheat Bread
Swap out white bread for whole wheat bread instead. Whole grains are loaded with nutrients. They are high in fiber and protein, and are rich in antioxidants. According to WebMD, “a diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer.” They also explain that whole-grain diets help maintain regular bowel movements and promote growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.