This Is How Much Sodium And Sugar Is In Your Favorite Thanksgiving Dish
Nutrition and a full-blown Thanksgiving feast aren’t exactly best friends. It’s just impossible to indulge in turkey and so many side dishes without ending up with even the tiniest bit of dietary regret. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the information about all the foods we’re shoveling into our bodies on this magical day.
So, if you dare, check out how much sodium and sugar, on average, is in each of those tasty dishes covering your Thanksgiving table — and what that means for you when mealtime is over. We’ve made it easy to keep track, too, tallying the amount of sodium and sugar you’ll rack up with each food you add to your plate.
Classic Roasted Turkey
The traditional main dish on countless dinner tables at Thanksgiving isn’t typically a sugar offender, but it can be a little heavy on the sodium depending on how it’s seasoned during the cooking process. This super simple recipe from McCormick ends up doling out 468 milligrams of sodium per serving, which isn’t horrendous but isn’t amazing, either.
Sodium: 468 milligrams
For many, cornbread stuffing is by far the tastiest thing on the table. The nutrition information will vary here depending on if you make yours from scratch or opt for a premade product, but this easy version from Pepperidge Farm is a favorite in many American households. While it’s low in sugar (win), a single, three-quarters of a cup serving logs a solid 480 milligrams of sodium. Pair that with your turkey, and you’re already sitting at almost 950 milligrams. Ouch.
Sodium: 948 milligrams
Garlic Mashed Potatoes With Gravy
Okay, now we’re drooling. What’s not to love about creamy mashed potatoes seasoned with roasted garlic? Sadly, the sodium content. These instant potatoes from Idahoan, which many people use to save themselves a little meal prep time, contain 580 milligrams of sodium per half-cup serving. Add gravy to that with this store-bought gravy mix from McCormick, and you get an additional 340 milligrams of sodium.
Sodium: 1,868 milligrams
This Thanksgiving staple has a beautiful way of bringing balance to the sweet and savory of this meal. But that means it has both sugar and sodium that you should be aware of. A half-cup serving of Green Giant Cream Style Corn has 8 grams of sugar and a surprising 380 milligrams of sodium. The sugar isn’t so offensive, but just think about how that number will add up at the end of the night.
Sodium: 2,248 milligrams
Sugar: 8 grams
Sweet Potato Casserole
This side dish is a definite crowd pleaser for a reason — sugar, sugar and more sugar. When you opt out of that coveted marshmallow topping, like in this recipe from Genius Kitchen, you still end up consuming 33 grams of sugar per serving. Adding the mini marshmallows in will up that ante by 5 to 8 grams. So just be ready to exceed your daily recommended sugar amount with one scoop of this stuff.
Sodium: 2,248 milligrams
Sugar: 49 grams
Green Bean Casserole
C’mon, people. You can’t have Thanksgiving without a green bean casserole. And because of that truth, you have to add another whopping portion of sodium to your plate. Thanks to the cream of mushroom soup, a half-cup serving of Campbell’s classic green bean casserole recipe will set you back a solid 427 milligrams of sodium. So maybe consider the more work-intensive, homemade route this year.
Sodium: 2,675 milligrams
Sugar: 49 grams
You just can’t have a slice of white meat without a hearty serving of cranberry sauce. Unfortunately, by adding this classic Thanksgiving condiment, you pile on the unnecessary sugar as well. While a quarter-cup serving of Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce has only 10 milligrams of sodium, it packs in a solid 24 grams of sugar. And we haven’t even gotten to dessert yet.
Sodium: 2,685 milligrams
Sugar: 73 grams
And you must have at least one deliciously buttered roll to soak up that remaining gravy and cranberry sauce on your plate. King’s Hawaiian savory butter rolls — another store-bought staple at Thanksgiving — contain 125 milligrams of sodium and 4 grams of sugar (before adding your own salted butter to them). Both amounts are entirely reasonable, but adding anything to your plate at this point in the meal is just fueling the fire.
Sodium: 2,810 milligrams
Sugar: 77 grams
Pumpkin Pie With Whipped Cream
Finally, it’s time for dessert, and you know you’re reaching for that slice of pie. A standard-sized piece of Sara Lee’s classic pumpkin pie, a go-to in the freezer section unless you want to make your own from scratch, contains 19 grams of sugar. (We honestly expected it to be much worse). It also contains a surprising 320 milligrams of sodium. And if you add a little bit of whipped cream on top for the full effect, count on 2 to 5 extra grams of sugar.
So at the conclusion of this mouthwatering meal, assuming you’ve eaten exactly one portion of each food on this list, you downed 3,130 milligrams of sodium and 101 grams of sugar. The daily recommended consumption of sodium is 2,300 milligrams, and the daily recommended consumption of sugar is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
At the end of the day, we’re obviously focused on camaraderie and fantastic flavors far more than we are nutrition, and that’s okay. Thanksgiving is a time to indulge a little and feel grateful for your ability to do so alongside friends and family. Just be aware of what you’re putting into your body so you’re not surprised when that massive food coma sets in, followed by bloating and potentially tight pants for a few days thereafter.