Thanksgiving is famous worldwide for its heart-warming focus on community, family, and home cooked food, but the impact on weight loss efforts is often huge. According to recent data from the Harris Poll, Thanksgiving is now the second most beloved holiday in America, losing to Christmas by only a slight margin. During the festivities, Americans consume nearly 50 million pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving night alone, with the average dinner participant eating around 3,000 calories in just one or two servings.

MediPlan Diet Services have put together a quick list to help you sift through the three best and worst foods at your next Thanksgiving meal from a health and nutrition perspective.

The Three Best Foods to Serve

#1 Roasted Sweet Potatoes

According to research from Geography Realm, Americans turn around 1.8 billion pounds of sweet potatoes into side dishes during Thanksgiving. Thankfully, these vegetables are full of magnesium, potassium, iron, and Vitamin C. As long as you limit the refined and artificial sweeteners and salted butter in your sweet potato dishes, you can enjoy as much as you want.

TIP: Mix in cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and organic maple syrup instead of making candied yams; your waistline will thank you.

#2 Pumpkin Pie

Most Americans purchase pumpkins from organic farms in Pennsylvania, California, and New York for Thanksgiving. A pumpkin pie is rich in beta carotene and fiber, making this an ideal dessert, and leaving you feeling fuller for longer.

TIP: Remove the sugar-filled ice cream and whipped cream toppings for a much healthier dessert. Instead, use organic maple syrup, nutmeg, or cinnamon to build flavor without piling on empty calories.

#3 Herb Roasted Turkey

No Thanksgiving Day feast is complete without roasted turkey. The low-fat lean meat is rich in protein, potassium, zinc, and iron. However, turkey can also be a vehicle for unnecessary sodium and calories if you cook it that way.

TIP: Prepare your turkey with a range of natural spices like olive oil, pepper, salt, and herbs instead of store-bought artificial seasonings. Aromatics like rosemary, garlic, and sage perfume your home with the scent of Thanksgiving and whet the family’s appetite.

The Three Worst Foods for Thanksgiving

#1 Canned Fruit Sauces

Do not let bright labels and health-focused buzzwords deceive you for this Thanksgiving’s canned sauces. Canned fruit sauces practically coagulate sugar in the shape of a can.

Rather, prepare fruit sauces at home. It’s fast and easy, and most guests prefer homemade versions.

#2 Green Bean Casserole

Green beans are nutrient-dense vegetables, but the casserole’s heavy cream, fried onions, and butter overpower these health benefits. Half a cup of traditional green bean casserole contains 231 calories on average, most of them empty carbohydrates.

Rather, serve slightly seasoned green beans as a Thanksgiving side dish.

#3 Seven-Layer Salads

Traditional seven-layer salads have egg, bacon, cheese, and heavy cream that is comparable to a fast-food burger in empty calories. It is not a healthy side dish.

Rather, toss kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, or arugula with a healthy dressing.

Be Thankful For Professional Diet This Holiday Season

Food is a significant part of Thanksgiving’s cultural and social aspect, and it is difficult for people trying to lose weight. Throw in Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, and calories skyrocket. If you are trying to watch your weight through the festive season or big family events, why not seek support or guidance from our MediPlan Diet Services experts?

Call us at 901-362-7546 today for more healthy holiday food ideas and keep your diet on track.