One of the biggest culprits? Pecan pie. A single slice with whipped cream
has about 800 calories -- more than a meal's worth of calories in a single
You won't find much that's low calorie elsewhere, either, unless your feast
happens to have a raw veggie plate. Here's how some other Thanksgiving
favorites stack up:
Roasted dark and white meat turkey with skin -- 450 calories
Homemade stuffing with gravy -- 600 calories
Cranberry relish -- 200 calories
Candied sweet potatoes -- 400 calories
Green bean casserole -- 190 calories
Pumpkin pie with whipped cream -- 400 calories
Cup of eggnog -- 400 calories
Who even wants to think about how long it would take to work all that
So what's a dieter to do?
WebMD contacted three well-known experts to get their take on Thanksgiving
feasting. Their advice: Enjoy the day, and get back on track Friday.
"It's not the easiest time to eat sensibly and I don't advise trying
very hard," says NYU professor of nutrition Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, who
wrote the 2006 book What to Eat.
"My approach is to pick and choose," she tells WebMD. "I taste
everything, keep the servings really small, and save room for seconds of the
foods I really like. But if family dynamics mean that the cook will never
forgive you if you don't eat the food, it's best to eat the food, enjoy every
bite, and deal with dieting later in the week."
Physician John La Puma, MD, says even totally out-of-control days won't lead
weight gain if you have only few of them a year.
An accomplished cook who has adopted the pseudonym 'ChefMD,' La Puma is the
author of the book ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine.
La Puma recommends choosing four days a year as "feast days" when
you can eat and drink anything you want in any quantity you want.
"I think the idea of feasting that Thanksgiving represents is kind of
lost in American society because we tend to feast all year long," he tells
"The problem isn't Thanksgiving, it is the fact that many people don't
stop eating between Thanksgiving and the New Year," he says.
Pete Thomas was once one of those people.
"Before I lost
weight I viewed Thanksgiving as a day to gorge myself and eat everything in
sight," Thomas tells WebMD. "That turned into a month of gorging
between Thanksgiving and Christmas."