Aren’t we all looking forward to Thanksgiving Day? The turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans, and who doesn’t love stuffing?  These traditional Thanksgiving meals are delicious and satisfying, but how much stuffing is too much?

At a Thanksgiving meal, one person consumes about 3,000 calories…In just one meal!  Throughout Thanksgiving Day, that number jumps to about 4,500 calories.  In order to burn those calories, one person would have to run for four hours or walk 30 miles to burn off his or her Thanksgiving meal.  So how can we control the amount of calories consumed on this day of thanks?

We can start by eating in moderation! Instead of eating throughout the day, which can add up to a considerable amount of undesired calories and fat, save your cravings for dinner with the family.  You can also modify some (not all) Thanksgiving recipes to include ingredients with less fat.  For example, use low fat milk in mashed potatoes and avoid eating the turkey skin.

Did You Know?

  • Thanksgiving was originally supposed to be a day of fasting and thanks
  • In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to make Thanksgiving one week early in hopes that it would spur retail sales during the Great Depression
  • A surplus of Thanksgiving leftovers in 1953 created the first TV dinner

Yummy Thanksgiving Substitutes

Lighten the load, with these delicious Thanksgiving options

  1. Instead of candied yams, try glazed sweet potatoes and REDUCE sugar in your meal
  2. Mash a heart-friendly choice such as butternut squash, which has an ample dose of dietary fiber
  3. Stuff your turkey with meat-less stuffing
  4. CHOOSE whole grain dinner rolls TO reduce your risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease
  5. Make your own cranberry sauce instead of buying a can, which can contain up to 105 grams of sugar
  6. Try a vegetable-based gravy
  7. Enjoy a vegan pumpkin “cheese” cake for dessert

Visit Shape.com for more healthy recipes!

Sources: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, LiveStrong.com, TIME, National Institutes of Health, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The HealthTip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.