The Healthy Secrets of Thanksgiving Foods
Turkey or Ham?
Both are pretty lean meats, but turkey is much lower in sodium. “When you take in more sodium, you retain more water, which puts more pressure on your heart, and that raises your blood pressure,” explains Sass. “You don’t want to add more stress to your heart by having too much sodium.” (Especially since, with all the sides, a Thanksgiving dinner is already sodium-heavy. According to Largeman-Roth, the average Thanksgiving meal comes in at 2,000 calories and 2,000 milligrams of sodium—only 300 milligrams shy of the maximum recommended total daily amount for adults.) Just steer clear of trendy turkey preparations, such as deep-frying or brining, which add unnecessary amounts of fat and salt, respectively. For a simple and flavorful turkey, Largeman-Roth prefers a fresh (as opposed to frozen) bird: “All you have to do is roast it and you are going to have a delicious meal.”
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So maybe you can’t change your health overnight. But you can get a head start.