Embracing the Bounty: The Nutrient-Rich Benefits of Your Thanksgiving Feast
As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us eagerly anticipate the joyous gathering around the table, surrounded by loved ones and a cornucopia of delicious dishes. Among the stars of this festive occasion are the turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and green bean casserole. While it's common to feel a twinge of guilt about indulging in such a lavish spread, it's important to recognize the numerous health benefits that come with this traditional Thanksgiving plate.
Turkey: A Power-Packed Protein
At the center of the Thanksgiving plate is the quintessential turkey, a lean source of protein that is crucial for building and repairing tissues. Protein is also essential for the production of enzymes and hormones, contributing to a strong immune system. Additionally, turkey contains important nutrients like selenium, which supports thyroid function and acts as a powerful antioxidant.
Cranberry Sauce: A Burst of Antioxidants
Cranberry sauce not only adds a burst of tartness to your plate but also brings a wealth of health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, cranberries help combat oxidative stress in the body, reducing inflammation and supporting cardiovascular health.
Mashed Potatoes: Complex Carbohydrates for Energy
Mashed potatoes, a beloved comfort food, provide a significant source of complex carbohydrates. Potatoes are rich in vitamin B6 and potassium, supporting immune function, brain health, and regulating blood pressure.
Sweet Potato Casserole: A Nutrient-Dense Treat
The sweet potato casserole on your Thanksgiving plate is not just a flavorful delight; it's super nutrient-dense. Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, which promotes healthy vision, skin, and immune function. Additionally, they provide a good dose of fiber, aiding in digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness.
Green Beans: A Veggie Delight
Green beans adds a vibrant touch to your Thanksgiving plate, contributing a host of health benefits. Green beans are a rich source of vitamins C and K, as well as folate. Vitamin K is crucial for bone health and blood clotting, while vitamin C supports collagen formation and acts as an antioxidant.
Pumpkin Pie: A Sweet Bite
The star ingredient, pumpkin, is a low-calorie, high-fiber superfood loaded with beta-carotene, supporting eye health and boosting the immune system. Spices commonly used in pumpkin pie, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Instead of surrendering to post-feast guilt, celebrate that your Thanksgiving plate is a treasure trove of essential nutrients. Embrace the goodness on your plate and celebrate the nourishment it provides for your body and soul. Thanksgiving is not just a time for gratitude but also a time to appreciate the wholesome goodness that comes with the traditional feast.
Kelly helps unite Healthy Dining’s think tank of dietitians with our team of innovation “techies” (software and digital team). She is an integral part of Healthy Dining’s nutrition team, acting as a liaison to restaurants and eateries across the USA on the development and launch of the MyMenu Guest Platform for restaurants and MyMenu Concierge for consumers and health, fitness and travel companies. Kelly works one-on-one with restaurants to ensure their menu items and nutrition, allergen and validated terms (vegan, keto, etc.) are accurately presented on MyMenu. Kelly has her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.