Thanksgiving Face-Off: Which is Healthier?

Food Network Magazine staged a Thanksgiving face-off and asked a registered dietitian to name the better choices. Here's how some staples compare.
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104632391

Thinkstock image of apple cider and cinnamon sticks

Photo by: Michael Gray

Michael Gray

Food Network Magazine staged a Thanksgiving face-off and asked a registered dietitian to name the better choices. Study up before the big meal: Here's how some staples compare.

Apple Cider vs. Sparkling Cider

WINNER: Apple cider. Sparkling cider is usually sparkling apple juice, which doesn't contain the same amount of fiber that unfiltered ciders do (the real stuff is a little cloudy). Plus, the spices that make cider so delicious, like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, give you an antioxidant boost.

Chicken Leg

Chicken Leg

Thinkstock image of Barbecue Chicken Leg with white background

Dark Meat vs. White Meat

WINNER: It's a draw. White meat contains half the fat of drumsticks and thighs and fewer calories, but dark meat has more iron and twice as much zinc. And a new study suggests that the taurine in dark meat might help prevent heart disease.

Thinkstock image of pie shell

©2009 by Lynnette Peizer, All Rights Reserved

2009 by Lynnette Peizer, All Rights Reserved

Rolled Piecrust vs. Graham Cracker Piecrust

WINNER: Graham cracker piecrust. Recipes for rolled piecrusts typically call for a lot of butter and sometimes lard, so they are high in saturated fat. Graham cracker crusts are lower in fat and calories, and they contain some extra fiber.

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155330126

Thinkstock image of Cranberry Sauce

Photo by: msheldrake

msheldrake

Whole Cranberry Sauce vs. Jellied Cranberry Sauce

WINNER: Whole cranberry sauce. Cranberries are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. But the main ingredient in jellied cranberry sauce is juice, which is packed with sugar and strained of nutrients. Jellied sauce also tends to be higher in calories by volume.

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152958737

Thinkstock image of Rolls

Photo by: papik123

papik123

Biscuits vs. Dinner Rolls

WINNER: Dinner rolls. Multigrain or whole-wheat rolls are your best bet, but even white rolls are a smarter choice than biscuits. Biscuits can be packed with more than twice the fat and calories, and some contain a quarter of your daily sodium intake.

Our Expert: Takami Kim is a registered dietician with NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital's Department of Food and Nutrition Management

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