Probably none of us really want to think about Thanksgiving meal calories as our holidays really ramp up with extra meals, desserts and goodies. But knowing a few of the facts and planning ahead can hopefully help you not be one of the statistics, gaining 10 pounds during the holiday season! Below is an approximation of what Americans consume. Your meal and intake may be entirely different, but regardless, if you are gathering for a special meal, there will be sides and desserts that quickly increase the numbers. I’m including the items below that are in our normal Thanksgiving meal.
- Roast Turkey: 4 slices, approx. 320 calories. More than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten every year for a Thanksgiving meal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Bread Stuffing: 2 large spoonfuls (1 cup), approx. 350 calories. About 60 million boxes of Stove Top Stuffing are sold on Thanksgiving, according to Kraft foods.
- Gravy: 3 small ladles full (about 1/2 cup), approx. 100 calories. My mom’s secret to smooth gravy is to add the thickening agent-this can be flour or other-to water and shake it hard to completely mix. Then stir the broth over heat, gradually adding the thickening mixture.
- Mashed Potatoes: 2 large spoonfuls (1 cup), approx. 237 calories. The Idaho Potato Museum says the average American eats about 124 pounds of potatoes per year, while Germans eat about twice as much.
- Creamed Corn: 1 cup, approx. 184 calories, made with butter and heavy cream. My father used to grow corn and canned it. When he then made fresh creamed corn, no one passed it up!
- Green Bean Casserole: 2 large spoonfuls (1 cup), approx. 350 calories. Campbell’s created the Green Bean Casserole about 50 years ago while making new recipes for its annual cookbook. My husband used to work for the Campbell’s organization, Pepperidge Farm Division. We had to taste all the frozen goodies…darn!
- Cranberry Sauce: 1/4 cup, approx. 110 calories and usually expected at a Thanksgiving meal. 95% of cranberries are turned into cranberry juice, sauce and other products. I like the 100% juice with a bit of protein powder after my morning workouts.
- Biscuits: 2 biscuits, approx. 340 calories. I used to make homemade rolls every holiday, letting them rise and smothering them in butter. Of course they were incredibly delicious and fattening! Now I buy rolls that rise, such as Bridgeford, and they have that same homemade taste and are always a hit. Although, I usually pass on the bread to make room for dessert!
- Sweet Potatoes: 2 large spoonfuls (1 cup), approx. 285 calories. Sweet potatoes are the official vegetable of North Carolina. I have learned to appreciate sweet potatoes more from the “baked fries” than in the holiday dish, where I’ve usually passed on the serving.
- Homemade Pumpkin Pie: 1 slice (1/8 of a 9″ pie), approx. 320 calories. My favorite is Dutch Apple Pie, where 1 slice can add 370 calories, at least. But I’d rather forego the rolls and the a few other things to make room for a couple slices! I not only include Apple pie in our Thanksgiving meal, but for many other occasions throughout the year. A treat!
The grand total for all this is 2,646 calories. Of course, this depends on your serving size. When you go back for just a little bit more, you can easily ramp up between 3,000 and 3,500 calories. And what about that second piece of pie? Or the added iced cream or whipped cream? Yes, add those in your total as well! The smart way to think through our Thanksgiving meal is to enjoy it completely, but not over-do and definitely watch serving sizes. Also, get in a brisk walk or light workout. It will make you feel energized and refreshed. I wish you all a wonderful holiday and enjoyment of your Thanksgiving meal-every bite of it!
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