Oh, you won't eat 4,500 calories today? Think again

plate of thanksgiving dinner foodDietitians tell us most people should eat between 1,600 and 2,800 calories daily. But will that hold true today, on Thanksgiving?

Several news sources say the average American eats 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving day. That seems really high, so I tallied the calories I expect I’ll eat for today’s main meal. I started by reading a new Consumer Reports article advising how to eat healthy this holiday.

Now, just to be clear, my goal today is not to eat healthy. My goal is to eat everything I enjoy in generous (but not gluttonous) portions as I give thanks for my many blessings.

Among those blessings is food. Which is dangerous, because there’s not much food that I dislike. Beets. Cooked carrots. Geoduck. Cantaloupe. That’s pretty much it, those four things.

Despite that, many common Thanksgiving staples won’t find their way onto my plate. Things like yams, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. No thanks.

So here’s what will crowd my plate – in addition to any pre-meal appetizers, like pigs in a blanket (147 calories for three) and cheese and crackers.

  • Mashed potatoes and gravy, about two cups (549 calories)

  • Roasted turkey dark meat, 8 oz. (366)

  • slice of pecan pieStuffing with gravy, one cup (440)

  • Fruit salad in whipped cream, one cup (247)

  • Large black olives, about a dozen (60)

  • Pecan pie or sweet potato pie, one 5-oz. slice (541 or 310)

  • Irish Death beer, 12 oz. (234), and water (0).

Wow. I didn’t believe most people eat 4,500 calories – the equivalent of six Burger King Whoppers with cheese – on Thanksgiving. But my own tally for dinner alone is 2,437. When I factor in breakfast (366 calories), appetizers (500), the inevitable early evening turkey sandwich (550), plus my large, late-evening peppermint ice cream hot fudge sundae (1,294), I total … ohmigosh. That’s 5,147 calories.
turkey sandwich And I must have room tomorrow for a huge batch of buttered popcorn during the Apple Cup game.

I’d better start fasting now. Happy Thanksgiving!

by  Jon Osterberg

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