You can make it happen. We're here to help. Kaiser Permanente Colorado Nutrition Services is dedicated to helping both Kaiser Permanente members and community members improve their overall health through evidenced-based nutrition education and counseling.

Registered Dietitians provide nutrition counseling services in individual and group settings in our medical offices and virtually, through telephone appointments or webinar based classes. 


HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Many people are aware that this day is full of high calorie temptations, yet many of us do not realize how many nutrients are found in a traditional home-prepared meal. Here are some of the nutritional benefits to Thanksgiving:

  • Turkey:  This is a great source of lean protein.  In fact, a 4 ounce portion of turkey provides 32 grams of protein.  Choose skinless white meat over the dark meat to help keep saturated fat low, which is the type of fat that can raise your cholesterol. To help keep the fat down when cooking your turkey, use a low-sodium broth instead of butter or oil. Other nutrients found in turkey include selenium, an anti-oxidant which protects cells from damage, zinc, iron, and several B-vitamins.
  • Mashed Potatoes:  Potatoes are rich in many nutrients including vitamin C, iron and magnesium. Leaving the skin on the potato not only saves you time, but adds fiber and potassium.  Be careful with the ingredients that are often added to mashed potatoes including heavy cream, butter and salt. Instead, try using low-fat milk or low sodium broth instead of cream, and fresh herbs or roasted garlic for flavor in place of salt.
  • Stuffing: Switch from white bread to a whole wheat bread.  Other whole grains can easily be used in stuffing including brown rice, quinoa, millet, and bulgur. Using whole grains provides the benefits of fiber, several B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium). Instead of the usual stuffing made of sausages and butter, use some vegetables, fruits and spices in your stuffing.
  • Green Beans: These nutritious vegetables are filled with many vitamins including vitamin K, C, beta carotene as well as minerals and fiber. They are low in calories, however are most commonly covered in a cream soup at Thanksgiving.  Try preparing in a low-fat method such as steaming or roasting to preserve the freshness and keep the fat and sodium down.  Instead of fried onions, try using sliced almonds.  Consider adding other green vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, broccoli or asparagus instead of green beans.
  • Cranberries:  Cranberries and cranberry products contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other phyto-nutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Reduce the calories by cutting the sugar in a recipe in half. Or consider adding pomegranate seeds to your relish for added nutrients and an unexpected twist.
  • Gravy: It may be a stretch to consider gravy nutritious, however since gravy contains meat or poultry drippings, then it will contain some vitamins.  Consider serving gray to the side and dipping food into the gravy rather than pouring it all over your meal.  

The meal at Thanksgiving is a big focus for the day.  Although some parts of this meal can be justified by looking at the nutritional benefits as listed above, the most important thing to remember is to practice moderation.

Recipe Ideas: 23 Side Dishes for A Food for Health Thanksgiving