How is Thanksgiving this week? That means Christmas is right around the corner! I’m getting ahead of myself, today we’re focusing on Thanksgiving. I’m all about giving every holiday its undivided attention (other than the Christmas music I’m currently enjoying…). Really though, I love Thanksgiving. It involves 3 things I feel very strongly about: gratitude, family, and food. What’s not to like? We always focus on the calories that come from the big feast, but let’s show a little gratitude for our Thanksgiving dinner and focus on the nutrients today.
Nuts: We always used to get cashews when we went to Thanksgiving dinner at my Grandma’s house. It was my favorite! If you are planning on offering nuts as an appetizer, here are the health benefits: protein (build muscles!), fiber (lowers cholesterol!), and unsaturated fats (heart healthy!). If you’re kids are old enough to not choke on them, providing nuts before the meal to tide them over is a great option.
Turkey: Turkey is a lean meat that provides a whopping 26 grams of protein for 3 ounces. That should help keep your kiddos full and satisfied for at least a few hours post-feast. Yes, turkey does contain the amino acid tryptophan, but don’t count on that helping your kids take a longer afternoon nap. While tryptophan may cause sleepiness, there is not enough tryptophan in your serving of turkey to make you want to nap. It’s more likely caused by an overabundance of food and a satisfied stomach. However, tryptophan is the precursor to niacin, an important vitamin for your littles’ nerves. Turkey also contains vitamins B6 and B12, as well as Zinc.
Mashed Potatoes: After the cream and butter have been added these may not be the lightest dish at your Thanksgiving table, but russet potatoes do pack a powerful nutritional punch. They contain vitamin B6, potassium, copper, and vitamin C. If you leave the skins on you also have some additional fiber mashed in, not to mention littles tend to love eating these (or playing with them…).
Cranberry Sauce: Not only is cranberry sauce colorful, cranberries are a powerful antioxidant. They also help treat UTI’s and contain a compound that helps prevent bacteria from sticking to your kiddos teeth. Worried about the high sugar content? Make your own with fresh berries and try adding vanilla and spices for flavor, or use orange juice as a sweetener.
Pumpkin Pie: Who doesn’t love pumpkin pie?! Actually, I know several people who don’t but what they don’t realize is that they are missing out on one of the healthiest holiday dessert options. Pumpkin is low in fat and contains vitamin A, fiber, manganese, copper, magnesium, and zinc – all of which play an important role in your sprouts bodily functions.
Now you and your littles can enjoy your Thanksgiving feast and be sure to share your nutritional knowledge with those you love. We hope you and your family have a wonderful, healthy, happy holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!