Health Benefits of Thanksgiving Foods

by in Thanksgiving, November 19, 2012

Here’s a little something to make you feel better about all the eating that comes along with the Thanksgiving meal! A whole bunch of those holiday staples have serious health benefits.

Packed with hunger-fighting and muscle-building protein — even the dark meat is good for you!. Turkey a great centerpiece for a healthy Thanksgiving table, as long as you pass on the fatty skin.

Sweet Potatoes
Low in calories, yet bursting with natural sweetness and powerful antioxidants like lycopene. And there are so many ways to eat sweet potatoes: baked, stuffed, mashed, roasted or whipped into sweet potato pie.

Fresh or dried, cranberries are packed with fiber, cell-protecting anthocyanins and vitamin C. Add some to stuffing, grain salads, desserts or good old cranberry sauce.

Green Beans
These tasty beans give you vitamins C, A and K, plus iron and fiber – all for about 35 calories per cup.

This holiday classic can make its way to your meal in a variety of fashions – straight up kernels, casserole and (my fave) cornbread just to name a few. These honey-sweeten muffins are a fabulous choice.

Keep the doctor away with vitamins A and C and the inflammation-fighting phytochemical called quercetin. Keep the peels on when you make pies, tarts and applesauce – there are lots of nutrients in there.

Add both the flesh and seeds to your holiday dishes to get vitamins, minerals, omega-3s and antioxidants like lutein and beta carotene. Cooked pumpkin adds lots of silky creamy texture without fat and cholesterol.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without this robust herb. A little goes a long way, giving big flavor for a smidge of calories. Read more about this quintessential fall flavor.

Cinnamon is a powerful spice – it gives savory dishes warmth and depth and brings out the flavor of fall favorites like apples, pears and pumpkin. You’ll also get a dose of fiber, calcium and iron. Regular consumption of this toasty spice may also help keep blood sugar and cholesterol in check.

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