The Benefits of the Thanksgiving Feast
Article written by Taylor Rather, Marketing Intern | November 24, 2015
Thanksgiving feasts are wonderful but often accompanied by feelings of guilt and regret. The average Thanksgiving meal can pack quite the calorie punch and leave you feeling nervous to step on a scale for the next few weeks. We all know this but it isn’t necessarily going to stop us from indulging.
Rather than feeling regret, try looking at the positive elements in that overflowing plate you’re about to enjoy. You may not know that there are actually plenty of health benefits to those holiday foods we love so much. Let’s take a look at some of the favorites and find out why you don’t have to feel so guilty when going back for seconds!
The star of most Thanksgiving meals. Not only is Turkey packed with about 65% of your daily protein level, but it also contains B6 Vitamins, which improve metabolism and immunity.
How to eat: We love to enjoy turkey on Thanksgiving but we often end up with a lot left over. A classic day-after turkey sandwich always hits the spot. Use turkey, a little bit of stuffing, lettuce and some [also healthful] cranberry sauce. Recipe.
You’ve always heard that the crust of bread is the healthiest part, so it’s a good thing that stuffing is stuffed with bread crust! Cancer fighting antioxidants are found in high concentrations in bread based Thanksgiving stuffing.
How to eat: Go classic with a toasted bread, sage, garlic, and onion mix. Recipe.
After a healthy dose of turkey and stuffing, you usually reach for the smorgasbord of sides. Sweet potatoes are a great fat-free side option, with high levels of Vitamin A, B6, and C, which help fight off colds and dry winter skin. They also have a low calorie count.
How to eat: Create a colorful concoction of slow cooked sweet potatoes with apples and some savory spices such as cumin, garlic, and salt. Recipe.
Cranberry is the perfect option. Cranberries are at the top of the good-for-you list due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. And half a cup of cranberries only contains 25 calories! Cranberries are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that can help lower the risk of urinary tract infections, prevent certain types of cancer, improve immune function, decrease blood pressure and more.
How to eat: For a twist on a classic, spice up your cranberry sauce with honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, and more! Recipe.
You really can’t go wrong with brussel sprouts, delicious bundles packed with all sorts of good qualities! They have a low calorie count, plus Fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin K which improve cardiac and brain health. Additionally, brussel sprouts have four specific glucosinolates (glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian) which can help protect against cancer – is there anything this veggie can’t do?
How to eat: Thinly slice raw brussel sprouts and add a flavorful and texturized combination of brown butter dressing, apples, and hazelnuts. Recipe.
Scoop up a large serving of green beans, because for very few calories you get a good amount of both protein and fiber, along with a slew of antioxidants to support your immune system against a winter cold.
How to eat: For a zestier option, make green beans with fresh thyme and orange. Recipe.
Needing one more veggie to ensure a healthy, well rounded meal? Squash helps in preventing cancer cell growth while also helping to control blood pressure, two extremely important health benefits worth paying attention to.
How to eat: Try some glazed acorn squash slices with savory seeds. Recipe.
|And finally, everyone’s favorite part- the dessert. But how can you satisfy that sweet tooth and stay guilt-free?|
Another surprising option is pumpkin pie. While pumpkin pie has higher levels of sugar and fat, 1 slice contains a healthy amount of potassium and fiber, which help to counteract the high levels of sodium that typically accompany a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
How to eat: Spice up the traditional dish with this pecan all-spice crust. Recipe.
Pecans are rich in fiber, boost heart health, and can promote digestive health – perfect to help you process that big meal.
How to eat: Use them to create a brown butter pecan and maple quinoa autumn harvest granola. Recipe.
So you see, burried in all those carbs and butter are very healthy and beneficial treasures you certainly don’t need to feel guilty about enjoying!
Happy feasting everyone and have a Happy Thanksgiving!