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Weight Loss & Diet

Healthy Is Best on Thanksgiving: Facts and Stats That May Help You Cut Calories by Over Half

Healthy Is Best on Thanksgiving
Author
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

In this article:

  • Thanksgiving is the biggest eating day of the year.
  • These swaps can help you reduce your intake by thousands of calories.
  • Lark is a weight loss and health coach that can help guide you through the holiday season. Lark is available 24/7 on your smartphone to help you navigate this time period.

Thanksgiving is the biggest eating day of the year. The Calorie Control Council says that the meal can easily have 3,000 calories. With appetizers, the total can be over 4,500 calories, or nearly as much as some people need in three days!

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What a 3,000-Calorie Thanksgiving Dinner Can Look Like

  • 1 cup of cream of butternut squash soup (150 calories)
  • 1 dinner roll with butter (150 calories)
  • 8 ounces of dark meat turkey with skin (410 calories)
  • 1 cup of stuffing (350 calories)
  • ½ cup of cranberry sauce (220 calories)
  • 1 cup of green bean casserole (140 calories)
  • 1 cup of mashed potatoes (240 calories) 
  • ¼ cup of giblet gravy (180 calories)
  • 1 cup of sweet potato casserole or candied yams (270 calories)
  • 1 slice of pecan pie (450 calories) 
  • 1 slice of pumpkin pie (300 calories)
  • ½ cup of eggnog (220 calories)
  • 5 ounces of red wine (110 calories) 

Estimated Total: 3090 calories

These are some stats on calorie counts for traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Next to them are slimmed down versions that still taste great. You can see the calorie savings!

Thanksgiving Dinner for 1,200 Calories

  • 1 cup of mushroom soup made with beef broth (70 calories)
  • 1 cup of green salad with 1 tablespoon of fat-free Italian dressing (30 calories)
  • 1 dinner roll (100 calories)
  • 4 ounces of skinless white-meat turkey (150 calories)
  • 1 cup of stuffing made with broth instead of butter, with about half vegetables and half bread or cornbread, and baked alongside the turkey instead of inside (150 calories)
  • ½ cup of cranberry sauce made without sugar (40 calories)
  • ½ cup of green bean casserole (70 calories)
  • ½ cup of mashed potatoes made with half pureed cauliflower and milk instead of butter (80 calories)
  • ¼ cup of broth-based gravy (40 calories)
  • ⅓ cup of candied yams (90 calories)
  • ½ slice of pumpkin pie (150 calories)
  • ½ baked apple topped with a mixture of cinnamon, pecans, and oats (100 calories)
  • 5 ounces of red wine (110 calories)

Estimated Total: 1,160 calories

Where Do You Want to Spend Your Calorie Budget?

Appetizers and Soup

Instead of… Try Calories Saved
½ cup of mixed nuts (400 calories)
3 cups of air-popped popcorn (120 calories)
280
10 snack crackers cheese (390 calories)
½ cup of grapes or cut fruit plus 2 squares of cheese (120 calories)
270
10 potato chips and ¼ cup of onion, ranch, or spinach artichoke dip (240 calories)
1 cup of raw vegetables and ¼ cup of dip made with cottage cheese, seasonings, and herbs (70 calories)
170
4 pigs in blankets (cocktail franks in puff pastry) (280 calories)
6 jumbo shrimp, cocktail or boiled (90 calories)
190
4 bacon wrapped cheese bites (260 calories)
2 deviled egg halves (110)
150
1 cup of cream of mushroom soup with croutons (210 calories)
1 cup of broth-based wild mushroom soup (70 calories)
140

Turkey and Sides

Instead of… Try Calories Saved
6 ounces of dark meat turkey with skin (290 calories)
3 ounces of skinless light meat turkey (110 calories)
180
1 cup of bread-based stuffing made with butter and cooked in the turkey (360 calories)
½ cup of bread-based stuffing with extra vegetables, made with broth, and cooked next to the turkey instead of inside (100 calories)
260
3-inch x 3-inch slice of cornbread with butter (320 calories)
Crescent roll without butter (110 calories)
210
½ cup of cranberry waldorf salad (260 calories)
Green salad with 2 cups of spinach, 2 tablespoons of chopped cranberries, ¼ cup of chopped pear, and 1 tablespoon of pecan halves plus ½ tablespoon of dressing (110 calories)
150
1 cup of sweet potato casserole with butter, brown sugar, and pecans (280 calories)
½ small baked sweet potato with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of chopped pecans (100 calories)
180
1 cup of green bean casserole (170 calories)
1 cup of green beans with 1 teaspoon of butter and 2 teaspoons of fried onions (90 calories)
80
1 cup of mashed potatoes made with butter, sour cream, or cream, and served with giblet gravy (310 calories)
¾ cup of mashed potatoes made with buttermilk and served with broth-based gravy (140 calories)
170

Desserts and Drinks

Instead of… Try Calories Saved
⅛ of a pecan pie (790 calories)
⅛ of a pumpkin pie (320 calories)
470
⅛ of apple pie (420 calories)
½ of a large apple, cored, baked, and topped with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans (200 calories)
220
1 cup of ice cream (260 calories)
½ cup of low-fat whipped topping (80 calories)
160
⅛ of a large cheesecake (740 calories)
⅛ of a large cheesecake made with graham cracker crust, fat-free cream cheese, non-fat sour cream, and low-calorie sugar substitute, such as stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit (320 calories)
420
Hot cocoa with dark chocolate and milk, topped with marshmallows and whipped cream (470 calories)
Brewed coffee and unsweetened almond milk topped with 8 mini marshmallows, 2 tablespoons of low-fat whipped topping, and 1 tablespoon of mini chocolate chips (120 calories)
350
Pumpkin spice latte with syrup, cream, and whipped cream (210 calories)
Brewed coffee blended with pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, low-calorie sweetener, and unsweetened almond milk, and topped with low-fat whipped topping (60 calories)
150

No Cost Health Kit to Lower Your Risk of Diabetes

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Weight 160lbs
Height 64
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Lark can help you stay on track during the holiday season. Lark’s nutrition and weight loss coaching includes daily check-ins, meal logging features, and instant feedback. And if motivation is what you need during this busy season, Lark is available 24/7 to provide it. 

Healthy eating during the holidays does not mean giving up everything you love. There are ways to fit in your favorites and stay true to tradition while making healthy choices. Lark can help you make small changes that can keep you on track. 

Your health insurance might cover Lark at no cost to you. Click here to find out if you may be eligible for Lark!

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