Thanksgiving is infamous for over-indulgence, but did you know that famous dinner is actually quite well-balanced? It has all the major food groups in ideal proportions. Plus, it features a real nutrient powerhouse like turkey, which is a great source of lean protein! It’s also high in B vitamins and minerals and can even help lower cholesterol levels. Potatoes are full of vitamin C and potassium, which can help to fight off some seasonal illnesses. To get the most nutrition, don’t forget to leave the skins on! And let’s not forget about cranberries. Those bright beads are full of nutrition and chock full of antioxidants. They have even been linked to everything from fighting cancer to improving immune function and lowering blood pressure.

So, dig in guilt free this year! And while you’re at it, impress your loved ones with these fun Thanksgiving trivia nuggets:

  1. Turkey was likely not on the menu at the first Thanksgiving back in 1621. Venison, water fowl, and even lobster were more likely!
  1. Benjamin Franklin wanted turkey to be our national bird instead of the bald eagle. Unfortunately for him, that idea did not fly with our other founding fathers.
  1. Thanksgiving is the reason we have frozen TV dinners. In 1953, Swanson overestimated the country’s holiday bird needs to the tune of twenty-six tons of turkey. Rather than let it go to waste, they invented the time-saving fare now available in every supermarket’s frozen section.
  1. Green bean casserole is a fairly recent addition to the holiday lineup. It was dreamed up by Campbell’s in 1955 to help sell their cream of mushroom soup. A good call, since they now sell $20 million dollars worth of the stuff every year.
  1. A lot of us know that Thanksgiving was made a national holiday by Abe Lincoln in 1863. Did you know, though, that he did so at the insistence of Josepha Hale, a lady most well-known for having written “Mary Had a Little Lamb?” This one’s just too weird not to be true.

Contributed by Rick Elliot, Nutrition Consultant for Dietitians ABQ