Thanksgiving Superstar Foods

Published: November 23, 2015

By Stamford Hospital Nutrition Services Department

Thanksgiving... The warmth of family, the liveliness of dinner conversation, and the potential over-abundance of food. We all want to sample every bit of autumn’s bounty at the table, but how can we do so without falling into a food-induced slumber? Here are some delicious and nutritious pointers to follow for the upcoming Turkey Day feast.

Turkey: White meat such as turkey breast is a lean source of protein; dark meat and skin have more fat. Turkey contains tryptophan—an amino acid that is a building block of the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep cycle. So if you feel tired after your Thanksgiving meal, it’s more likely due to the high amount of carbohydrate-rich foods consumed in one sitting. This causes your blood sugar to spike and makes you feel tired afterward.

Sweet Potatoes: These brightly hued potatoes don’t need marshmallows to lend their sweetness to your plate. One half-cup serving yields 80% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A—which maintains your vision and keeps your skin, gums, and teeth healthy. Sweet potatoes are also packed with fiber to prevent you from overeating and keep you satisfied.

Green Beans: For a healthy and easy dish, skip the calorie-laden casserole (and the extra prep work) and simply roast green beans: Toss trimmed beans with olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet and season with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees in a single layer, tossing halfway through, for 15-20 minutes or until edges are brown and crisp.

Mushrooms: Did you know mushrooms are the only plant-based source of vitamin D? They have also been shown to help boost immunity by fighting off infections, just in time for flu season! Delicious and versatile, mushrooms can be easily added to the holiday stuffing to for extra nutrients.

Cranberries: These potent red berries add more than just a brilliant red color to your plate. They’re not only rich in disease-fighting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but help improve cardiovascular health by reducing cell damage and inflammation. So, bring on the cranberry sauce, but not in excess. It does contain sugar, after all.

We encourage you to enjoy holiday festivities to the fullest. That’s why our Nutrition Counseling Center offers Medical Nutrition Therapy and individualized nutrition counseling so you can “have your cake and eat it, too.” Our team is staffed with certified, registered dietitians who are ready to assist you, no matter your age or specific nutritional needs. We’re open by appointment Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at Tully Health Center.

Please give us a call at 203.276.4510 if you’re interested in setting nutrition goals in a team-oriented environment.

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