The Health Benefits Of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Foods


The Health Benefits Of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Foods

Picture this. Your mom just made your favorite meal for dinner: Steak and potatoes! You sit down at the table, tuck a napkin into your shirt, and dig in. You’re a swimmer, after all. You need the calories. You scarf down every last morsel of the food in front of you, thank your mother for the lovely meal, and immediately step in front of a mirror. Guess what? You’re bloated. Your stomach is sticking out a little more than it usually does, and this makes you feel insecure. You wish you hadn’t eaten that delicious meal your mother cooked for you, even though you loved it so much. Regret washes over you, making your face hot and your fingertips tingly. If I hadn’t eaten so much, I wouldn’t feel fat, you think to yourself.

The Hard Truth

I’m going to be real with you: This is a ridiculous thought process. Absolutely ridiculous. I’ve had my fair share of mental breakdowns and anxiety spirals regarding food, but come on! Food is fuel, and if you want to perform at your best, you must fuel your body. It is extremely common for athletes to have a difficult relationship with food. We burn so many calories, so we must eat more calories than the average Joe. This is much easier said than done. Invasive thoughts can make this hard for some people. You would think something as simple as eating would be an easy task to accomplish, but the mountains in our minds can feel like Mount Everest.

With Thanksgiving just days away, there’s bound to be anxious minds as well. The mental battle between you and food can be a slippery slope. I shouldn’t eat too much because I might gain weight, look fat, and swim slow. I’m going to be real with you, once again: This is wrong! Thanksgiving is for eating! Thanksgiving is for being with your family! Thanksgiving is for enjoying the yummy foods splayed out in front of you! The food that you are so lucky to have in abundance!

Athletes everywhere, you’re in for a treat. If my speech didn’t help put your mind at ease already, I’ve compiled a list of the nutritional value associated with all of your favorite Thanksgiving foods. Read this, and maybe you won’t feel so bad about fueling your body during this holiday season. From athlete to athlete, just eat the darn pie.


Ah, the main course. Turkey is a very rich source of protein, while remaining low in calories and fat. It’s a popular meat to consume when the goal is to eat healthy, and it’s commonly known as the mood-boosting meat! Turkey contains tryptophan, which builds up serotonin – a natural chemical in the body that promotes feelings of happiness. In other words, eat turkey and be happy!


Assuming that your family’s recipe for stuffing includes bread crusts, this means you’ll be consuming lots of antioxidants! These healthy grains can provide your body with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant-based protein. Yum!

Mashed Potatoes

Unlike French fries and potato chips, mashed potatoes in their original form provide plenty of health benefits. This yummy side dish contains minimal amounts of sodium and large amounts of iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and zinc – ingredients that will improve and maintain bone strength. Mashed potatoes better be on all of your plates this year!

Cranberry Sauce

That cranberry sauce that tastes way too delicious to be healthy? PACKED with antioxidants! Antioxidants are chemicals that help reduce the risk of many diseases. Your body uses antioxidants to balance free radicals, keeping them from causing damage to other cells. Cranberries for the win!

Pecan Pie

Finally, dessert! Pecan pie is rich in nutrients: Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This pie is perfect to end the meal, because the fiber and magnesium packed inside are suspected to help with digestion.

Sweet Potato Pie

This delicious treat is a great source of vitamins B6, C, and D, as well as iron. Iron helps increase blood cell production, immune system function, and decrease stress levels.

Apple Pie

Apples have numerous health benefits. They can help individuals with IBS, they promote weight loss, and they can even boost your immune system. Next time these pies are at the dinner table and you think about skipping dessert, think again!

Body image is a difficult battle, especially for athletes who are constantly burning calories. Eating as much as your body requires is harder for some than others, and on a holiday that is based around eating, it’s bound to be even harder. I hope this list makes it a little easier. Eat up, athletes!

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