The External Costs of Thanksgiving – By April

Most people think of eating a 2,000 calorie meal as something that only would happen if you dined on a fast food meal of McDonald’s or another fast food chain.  You wouldn’t have to eat much besides a large-sized “value” meal to rack up those calories in a single meal.  But most of us, especially those who are trying to maintain their svelte figure, avoid eating meals that have any calories that go into a 4-digit count of numbers.

But tomorrow in America comes a holiday that encourages it’s already overweight population to eat a meal that easily can reach thousands of calories within a single setting.

I took the time to see the average calorie content using and was actually surprised that the meal I plan to eat tomorrow falls just under 2,000 calories.   I wasn’t even including the calories that would count for a second helping!

Are you wondering the nutrition facts of some of the most popular Thanksgiving dishes?  Check out what I discovered:

So what can we do to NOT eat a ginormous amount of calories on Thanksgiving?

Apparently I need to stay away from those sweet potatoes with marshmallows since they’re coming in as my biggest problem with a whopping 460 calories!

You can make a low-calorie sweet potatoes with just a bit of butter and cinnamon and I bet that would knock down the calorie content by a great deal.   You also could eat straight vegetables rather than ones covered in cheese or cream of mushroom soup, the way my Midwestern family prefers.   You also could avoid the stuffing and have a smaller slice of pie, or perhaps no pie at all!

Besides the extra calories many of us Americans consume on Thanksgiving… there are some more external costs than just the extra pounds we may gain.

Our Thanksgiving habits easily brings in over 1 BILLION dollars to the American economy, according to  That’s nice and all but how much of this food is actually being consumed and how much of us can really afford to spend $20+ on a turkey and all the dishes to go with it?  What could we have done differently to celebrate this holiday of “thanks” by making others feel even more inadequate for not being able to provide a large slaughtered bird and eight other dishes to go with it?

Tomorrow as you sit down with your family, your friends, or maybe even by yourself I would like us all to think about the impact that our Thanksgiving meal has on our bodies, our nation, and our world.  We live in a country that makes it easy for us to celebrate gluttony and forgive our overindulgent habits but at what TRUE cost?




4 thoughts on “The External Costs of Thanksgiving – By April

  1. In my family we each contribute a dish, since, as you pointed out, I myself (or my sisters) can’t afford the turkey and all the sides, desserts, drinks etc that make a complete Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family. When we all pitch in 1 or 2 dishes it comes together and we have a wonderful time cooking, catching up and reminiscing.

  2. That’s awesome, Monique! I think that is definitely the way to do it! Especially since some of us have dishes that we’re super good at making!

    Thank you for always having such positive input on here 🙂

  3. So many good points! I think moderation is important in both parts- in your eating, as well as preparations for holidays… it’s always need vs want, right? Great post!

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