If you’re trying to watch your weight, you may approach Thanksgiving Day with some trepidation. Do you throw caution to the wind and splurge? Or do you refuse the big meal altogether? Fortunately, the choice need not be so drastic. There’s a way to enjoy the bounties of the holiday without undermining your eating goals. Thanksgiving is not a total diet destroyer because of the vast array of food choices—many with strong health benefits. The trick is to eat in moderation and to seek out foods that will support your healthy eating goals.

thanksgiving-the-healthy-way

Turkey

The turkey is the main fare in any Thanksgiving feast. Turkey meat is loaded with protein, with the white breast meat being healthier than the dark meat portions. A serving of white turkey meat has about 214 calories and 32 grams of protein, which constitutes 65 percent of the recommended daily protein intake. Turkey meat may also help in maintaining healthy skin because of its rich zinc content.

The Sides

Many Thanksgiving dinner side dishes constitute healthy choices. Potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals, including a number of phytonutrients. Moderation comes into play with potatoes, though. A regular potato has about 110 calories so people watching their diet should opt for a smaller portion such as a half potato. Baked potatoes are fine, but bewary of mashed potatoes which are often awash in cream and butter.

Sweet potatoes are especially healthy. They are rich in vitamins and minerals plus carotenoids. Cranberries are a great choice too, either as relish or cranberry sauce. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and fiber and are useful in aiding digestion and burning unwanted body fat.

Pumpkin completes the Thanksgiving dinner. It is served either mashed or as filling in pumpkin pie for dessert. Pumpkin is rich in fiber and vitamins. A cup of mashed pumpkin has 49 calories and 3 grams of fiber. Pumpkin pie, however, is loaded with calories because of the high sugar content. Stick to a small slice of pie.

Stuffing or dressing is made of vegetables, spices, herbs, eggs, and bread. Stuffing is loaded with calories but also rich in the antioxidant pronyl-lysine found on bread crusts. As with other more fattening foods, opt for a small serving of stuffing.

Healthy Food

Thanksgiving dinner has a lot of healthy food items. People can enjoy the camaraderie of family and friends while appreciating life’s bounties represented by a tasty, communal meal. Start or finish your day with some exercise. Take a family walk or head to the park for some outdoor fun. By staying active and making wise food choices, you can make Thanksgiving dinner healthy and memorable.