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Health Benefits of Thanksgiving Dinner


With so much emphasis on the fat, calories, and potential dietary pitfalls of Thanksgiving dinner I thought I’d put a positive spin on the induglent meal. I mean, with all the eating you’ve got to be getting some kind of nutrients right? And, with the exception of canned cranberry sauce, (Uncle Joe insists on having it) everything on the table at my families’ Thanksgiving is homemade, and that has got to count for something!

Read on to see the HEALTH BENEFITS  of Thanksgiving dinner!


Just 5oz of turkey provides half the recommended daily allowance of folic acid and 32g of protein.



5oz of mashed potatoes pack 27mg of vitamin C—that’s 45% of the RDA.


String bean casserole made with frozen or canned vegetables maintains most of the nutrients including beta-carotene and B-vitamins.



A half-cup serving of sweet potatoes provides 330% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A!



One half-inch slice (about 1/8th of a can) of cranberry sauce is only 86 calories and .1g of fat. Even better, make your own for the full antioxidant, and infection-fighting benefits of cranberries!



Traditional stuffing doesn’t offer much but cook it in a separate dish, outside the turkey, to save yourself 70 calories per tablespoon!



A 5oz glass of wine is packed with the antioxidant reservatrol, which reduces bad cholesterol and prevents blood clots.



1/8th of a 9” pumpkin pie packs 4.2g of fiber and 288mg of potassium, which helps counteract the high levels of sodium in a traditional Thanksgiving meal.



Now you know what you stand to gain from a traditional Thanksgiving dinner—aside from pounds. Want to know what it takes to burn it off? Click here to see how much you need to exercise to negate everything from those mashed potatoes to the potassium-packed pumpkin pie.


As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.


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