Best and Worst Thanksgiving Foods

We pick the skinniest, healthiest food choices for your Thanksgiving plate.

If you want to eat a little of everything this Thanksgiving, you should. Gratefully savoring a delicious home-prepared meal on this one holiday sounds like a healthy thing to do, to me. But if you’re wondering which, calorically speaking, are the best and worst Thanksgiving dishes to choose, I’ve got the skinny. Download a FREE Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipe Cookbook!

—Nicci Micco, Editor-at-Large

Watch: See our tips for a healthy turkey


Which Is the Skinnier Pick: White or Dark Meat (Turkey)?

Which Is the Skinnier Pick: White or Dark Meat (Turkey)?

White meat. Per 3 ounces, opting for the “white” turkey breasts over the “dark” meat will save you 50 calories and 4 grams of fat: 115 calories and 7 grams of fat versus 160 calories and 11 grams of fat, respectively.

Related link: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes


Which Is the Skinnier Pick: Green Bean Casserole or Sweet Potato Casserole

Which Is the Skinnier Pick: Green Bean Casserole or Sweet Potato Casserole

Even with its creamy mushroom soup and crispy fried onions, traditional green bean casserole (161 calories, 9 g fat per ¾ cup) is a lighter pick than sweet potato casserole (285 calories, 5 g fat per ¾ cup). Part of the reason is that green beans are so low-cal to start. That said, the starchier sweet potato is full of good-for-you nutrients, including beta carotene, a potent antioxidant and precursor to vitamin A.

Related link: Healthier Thanksgiving Casseroles


Which Is the Skinnier Pick: Pumpkin or Apple Pie?

Which Is the Skinnier Pick: Pumpkin or Apple Pie?

At 316 calories and 14 g of fat per slice (1/8 of a 9 inch pie), pumpkin is a slimmer choice than apple, which will cost you 411 calories and 19 g of fat for that same-size slice. One explanation for the higher calorie count: the double crust. Another bonus of picking the pumpkin: whipped topping has significantly fewer calories and less fat than the vanilla ice cream often served atop apple.

Related link: Thanksgiving Pie Recipes


Which Is the Skinnier Pick: Traditional Sausage Stuffing or a Dinner Roll with Butter?

Which Is the Skinnier Pick: Traditional Sausage Stuffing or a Dinner Roll with Butter?

If you’re all about the calories, go for the dinner roll with a pat of butter, which will set you back 140 calories and 4.5 g fat, versus the 371 calories and 19 g of fat you’ll gobble down in ¾ cup of the stuffing. But if you love stuffing, go for it—maybe just go for a smaller serving—Thanksgiving comes but once a year, after all.

Related links: 9 Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipes
How to Make Homemade Dinner Rolls


Which Is the Skinnier Turkey Topper: Jellied Cranberries or Gravy?

Which Is the Skinnier Turkey Topper: Jellied Cranberries or Gravy?

Surprise! Gravy is actually the skinnier selection in this case. Per ¼ cup, gravy delivers about 30 calories and 1.5 g fat, versus the cranberries, with 110 calories (and 0 g fat) per ¼ cup. Why so high? Lots of added sugars.

Related links: Gravy Recipes
Thanksgiving Cranberry Recipes