The Healthiest Choices for the Thanksgiving Table

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If you gotta stuff your face, at least pick clean foods.

It’s no secret that Thanksgiving doesn’t exactly go hand-in-hand with the modern concept of health. Even if you put every other concern aside and focus solely on caloric intake, it’s still a veritable nightmare. Now, personally, I don’t have much of a problem cutting loose once per year and engaging in some old fashioned gluttony, but I’ve also dared Uncle Mancuso to down the entire gravy boat on more than one occasion, so I’m not the best example in that regard. If you want to keep at least some semblance of health in mind for your Thanksgiving dinner, there are at least a few things you can focus on.

When it comes to a healthier Thanksgiving, the name of the game is produce. Less turkey and gravy, and more organic fruits and vegetables. Luckily, while they’re not usually the stars of the show, Thanksgiving is already home to plenty of produce staples. For example, brussels sprouts are an excellent choice for a healthier meal. As a member of the same family as kale and broccoli, they’re already one of the healthier green veggies, loaded with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.

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For fruit, the classic move is cranberries. Cranberry sauce is the obvious call, though you should strive to make some yourself if possible. The canned stuff is usually loaded up with sugar and preservatives that cancel out any potential benefits. Fresh, whole cranberries have similar phytochemicals to brussels sprouts, so that’s two hits of anti-inflammation for your pleasure.

Finally, if you’re a little tired of produce, get some nuts in your diet. Pecans are another Thanksgiving native, and go great in desserts and breads. Pecans are an explosion of good stuff, packing important vitamins and minerals, protein, healthy fats, fiber, and you guessed it, antioxidants. They’re also US-native, so they’re pretty cheap and easy to get.