Thanksgiving Day is not a time to be counting calories—enjoy yourself! But while nomming on a rich meal once a year isn’t exactly a healthy diet deal-breaker, it’s smart to keep an eye on what you’re consuming so you don’t go too crazy with that fifth slice of pie.
According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American chows down on 4,500 calories worth of turkey, stuffing, and cornbread at Thanksgiving dinner. The American Council On Exercise and The New York Times aim a little lower, saying the number is really around 3,000 calories. Either way, all sources estimate that we eat more in one sitting on Thanksgiving than we’re normally advised to eat in an entire day!
If that data is tough to visualize, here’s a breakdown of what 3,000 calories looks like in a few non-holiday foods.
The moral of this story? It’s possible to cut down a teeny, tiny bit on Thanksgiving (without feeling deprived) and save the amount of calories in four or five Taco Bell tacos. Think about it!
Turkey Day Tips
In years past, we've created a slew of guides and recipe roundups to help you enjoy a healthier holiday. Here are some of our favorites:
What's 4 ounces, 78 grams, or a ¼ cup exactly? This handy guide compares classic Thanksgiving dishes to common household objects to help you enjoy your holiday meal—minus the elastic-waisted pants.
This guide includes instructions for how to handle traditional Thanksgiving dishes for gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan, and no-nut folks—we know those are hardly the only diets out there, but everyone can modify these guidelines to suit their own particular eating habits.
Find all the recipes you could possibly need to prepare a successful dinner for any sized family.
Our favorite vegetarian main dishes that are far from boring, tasteless, or the dreaded (and oft-joked about) Tofurkey.
We’ve pulled together the best tips and hacks on how to craft the most beautiful, tastiest Thanksgiving turkey, from fridge to table.
Vegans—who choose to eschew all animal products and byproducts for environmental, health, and/or ethical reasons—are particularly hard-pressed to find viable fair amidst traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Luckily this recipe roundup is here to help.