Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Director of Child Wellness and Registered Dietitian, Trisha Hardy provides the following fun facts about Thanksgiving and ways to keep your family healthy along the way:
1. Let's Talk Turkey: If the Pilgrims wanted a turkey on their table in 1621, they had to hunt for it themselves. Now you only have to fight your way through the supermarket. According to the U.S. Census, an estimated 46 million turkeys were consumed in the United States during Thanksgiving in 2011. (That's approximately 736 million pounds of turkey!)
Strong4Life Tip: While turkey is a great source of protein and is relatively low in fat, roasting turkey is much healthier than deep frying.
2. Stuffing and Casseroles and Cranberry Sauce...Oh My: The first Thanksgiving was held to celebrate the first successful harvest, so it probably contained fresh veggies and fruits, such as corn, berries, pumpkin, cabbage, onions and squash. Today, rolls, biscuits, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potato, green bean or squash casserole, and stuffing are all staples of today’s tables.
Strong4Life Tip: Typically, the word “casserole” means we are adding extra fat and calories to a dish. This year, try replacing just one or two of your side dishes with the “fresh” version (example: steamed green beans instead of green bean casserole or roasted sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato casserole).
3. Thanksgiving TV: The first televised Thanksgiving Day football game aired on Nov. 22, 1956 when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Detroit Lions 24-20. Now, between the Thanksgiving Day parades and numerous football games, it's inevitable that many will settle in front of the estimated 115.6 million household TVs in the U.S. this Thanksgiving.
Strong4Life Tip: Get in some activity in between your screen time. Enjoy a family/friend/neighborhood game of touch football in between watching the games on television.
4. Delectable Desserts: Not only did the Pilgrims not have ovens, the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, so their meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts. Today desserts have become a hallmark at the Thanksgiving table, featuring calorie- and fat-laden pecan pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies and more.
Strong4Life Tip: No food is ever off limits (including Thanksgiving desserts), but don’t make dessert an everyday habit. Sometimes we have so many leftovers that we just keep eating desserts for days after the celebration.
5. What to Do with All of Those Leftovers: Turkey is a lean meat and is relatively inexpensive (especially if it’s leftover from Thanksgiving), so make it work for your budget, your taste buds and your family’s health.
Strong4Life Tip: Turkey sandwiches and soup are just two of the most popular ways for families to make the most of their leftover turkey. Check out our suggestions for leftovers your family will love!