Thanksgiving Dinner

TheActiveTimes.com

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and while certain staple foods should be avoided, there are some healthy foods that you can safely eat.

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner usually consists of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, candied yams, cranberry sauce and apple pie. But the truth is that almost everything mentioned is bad for your health. Make sure you're eating the white meat of the turkey instead of the dark meat; substitute candied yams for plain yams, and replace apple pie with a pumpkin pie.

A healthy diet is essential for helping maintain your body's everyday functions. Nutritious foods are those that contain vitamins and minerals — calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D, and potassium, to name a few. Try to minimize your intake of processed foods, saturated fats, artificial sweeteners and refined grains. Before you pick up your fork and begin to indulge in your Thanksgiving meal, it's important to educate yourself on the foods that are actually good for you.

Thanksgiving Foods That Are Actually Good For You

Green Beans
 

Green Beans

Green beans are one of the most underrated vegetables, says Ilana Muhlstein, R.D., Nutritionist for Explore Cuisine. "Their deep green color is not only rich in chlorophyll like other green vegetables, but they are also rich in protective carotenoids, the cancer fighting pigment present in carrots and tomatoes." One cup of green beans contains 13 percent of your daily dose of fiber.

Red Wine
 

Red Wine

Drinking red wine in moderation during your Thanksgiving meal may actually benefit your health. The resveratrol – a polyphenol – found in red wine has antioxidant properties that have shown to lower your risk for many diseases. Red wine has been proven to help protect against Alzheimer's, aid in weight loss, fight off the common cold, promote healthy skin and even prevent signs of aging.

Turkey
 

Turkey

Turkey is a staple Thanksgiving food. It is "low in fat and calories and really high in protein, iron and flavor," Muhlstein explains. "Four ounces of turkey breast with skin has the same amount of calories, fat and protein as dark meat without the skin. So if you like the juicy dark meat, just be sure to remove the skin."

Brussels Sprouts
 

Brussels Sprouts

Instead of reaching for the sweet potato casserole put a few Brussel sprouts on your plate. According to SELFNutritionData, a half cup of Brussels sprouts, cooked, boiled and drained, doesn't have any fat or cholesterol. It contains only 28 calories, 6g of carbs and 16mg of sodium, and has Vitamin C, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin K and potassium.

Pumpkin Pie
 

Pumpkin Pie

Substitute your apple pie for pumpkin pie instead. According to SelfNutritionData, one piece of pumpkin pie has about 316 calories, 14g of fat, and 41g of carbs, compared to a slice of apple pie, which has about 411 calories, 19g of fat, and 58g of carbs. Pumpkin pie is a great source of water-soluble B vitamins, calcium and iron.

Mashed Potatoes With Cauliflower
 

Mashed Potatoes With Cauliflower

This is an ideal side. "Potatoes are rich in vitamin C and fiber and when combined with cauliflower, the dish saves a lot of calories and carbs, without losing out on any flavor," Muhlstein explains. "Just boil 3 cups of cauliflower florets with 2 cubed of cauliflower florets with 2 cubed yukon potatoes until tender and then mash them up along with some warm milk, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper."

Cooked Spinach
 

Cooked Spinach

With only 21 calories per 1 cup, spinach makes for the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. It is low in cholesterol and fat, and high in zinc, fiber, potassium, magnesium, protein, and niacin. According to whfoods.com, the vitamin K in spinach is important for maintaining bone health, and the carotenoid and flavonoid nutrients found in spinach provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

previous next

For the complete list of Thanksgiving Foods That Are Actually Good For You, go to TheActiveTimes.com.

More From The Active Times:
-- Foods That Nutritionists Would Never Eat On Thanksgiving
-- Cardiologists Refuse To Eat These Foods
-- Best Turkey Trots
-- 25 Best Exercises To Tone Your Abs (And None Are Crunches)