Subscribe to RSS

Best and worst Thanksgiving foods

By Nicci Micco, November 21, 2011 - 11:12am

  • Share

Let me first preface this by saying that if you want to eat a little of everything this Thanksgiving, you should. Gratefully savoring a little bit of every delicious course on this one holiday sounds like a healthy thing to do, to me. (Try these healthier versions of Thanksgiving classics.)

But if you’re wondering which, calorically speaking, are the best and worst Thanksgiving dishes to choose, I’ve got the skinny. Without further ado, allow me to present… Thanksgiving Smackdown!

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.

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 3/4 cup) is a lighter pick than sweet potato casserole (285 calories, 5 g fat per 3/4 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.
To try: Healthy Thanksgiving Casserole Recipes for Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole and More

Which is the skinnier pick: Pumpkin pie 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.
Don’t miss: 5 Holiday Food Temptations (and How to Beat Them)
Show-Stopping Thanksgiving Desserts

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 3/4 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. Better yet, make one of these easy Thanksgiving stuffing recipes.

Which is the skinnier turkey topper: Jellied cranberries or gravy?
Surprise! Gravy is actually the skinnier selection in this case. Per 1/4 cup, gravy delivers about 30 calories and 1.5 g fat, versus the cranberries, with 110 calories (and 0 g fat) per 1/4 cup. Why so high? Lots of added sugars.

Don’t Miss: Your 1,500-Calorie Post-Thanksgiving Detox Plan

What are you definitely putting on your Thanksgiving plate this year? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Nicci Micco, Diet Blog, Diet, Holidays, Thanksgiving, Weight loss

Nicci Micco
Nicci Micco is co-author of EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners. She has a master's degree in nutrition and food sciences, with a focus in weight management.

Nicci asks: What are you definitely putting on your Thanksgiving plate this year?

Tell us what you think:

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner