A lot of people set aside their diet plans come Thanksgiving Day. They view it as a day of indulgence, a day when they can eat with abandon and enjoy the bounties of the calorie-laden Thanksgiving meal before them. Thanksgiving dinner, however, does not need to be a total diet destroyer. There’s a panoply of menu items—many loaded with great health benefits. If you eat in moderation and make wise food choices, Thanksgiving can be healthier than you think.

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Turkey

The meat of the turkey is a protein powerhouse, though white meat is regarded as healthier than dark as it contains less calories and fat. A 4-ounce serving of white turkey meat provides 214 calories and 32 grams of protein, which is 65 percent of the recommended daily protein intake. Turkey is also a rich source of zinc, which is good for the health of the skin.

Potatoes

A regular serving of potato has about 110 calories. It is a good source of different vitamins and minerals, including phytonutrients. Be careful with your Thanksgiving potato choices, though. A baked potato is good. A heaping dollop of mashed potatoes swimming in butter and cream is not so good.

Sweet Potatoes

These tubers are rich in different vitamins and minerals, as well as carotenoids. Sweet potatoes are regarded as healthier than potatoes as they are low in calories, low in sodium, and free of fat. A piece of sweet potato provides 120 percent of the recommended daily vitamin A intake.

Cranberries

These berries are the number one source of antioxidants among fruits. One cup of cranberries has 51 calories and 5.1 grams of fiber. Fiberaids in digestion and fat burning.

Stuffing

Stuffing or dressing is made of vegetables, herbs, spices, eggs, and bread. While it may be loaded with calories, it is also rich also in pronyl-lysine, an antioxidant found on bread crusts. Eat stuffing in moderation.

Pumpkin

Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without pumpkin. A cup of mashed pumpkin contains 3 grams of fiber and 49 calories. It is also abundant in vitamins A and C.

Skip the Fat

Thanksgiving Day dinner can be enjoyed without wreaking havoc on your diet. Start your day off with invigorating exercise. Then make smart choices at the Thanksgiving table. Choose the leaner part of turkey, which means you should focus mostly on breast meat instead of the dark meat. Watch out for added sauces, such as gravy and mayonnaise-based dressings. Load up on protein but cut back on carbohydrates to promote your muscle-building regimen while enjoying the holiday feast.