As people look forward to their annual Thanksgiving feast, many are not aware of the calorie bombs their favourite dishes represent. A plate filled with traditional Thanksgiving foods can add up to 3,000 calories, the equivalent of six meals. And if you have a second helping of food, that can tack on an extra 1,000 calories.

The good news is, you don’t have to deny yourself your favourite foods, but it is important to know what you’re eating so you can make choices about which drinks and delicacies you can and can’t resist.

Here’s the breakdown
Roasted turkey with skin (5 oz.): 360 calories
Roasted extra-lean ham (3 oz.): 150 calories
1/2 cup thick homemade gravy: 100 calories
1/4 cup traditional cranberry sauce: 110 calories
1 cup of cooked carrots: 58 calories
2 pieces of bread with 1 teaspoon butter: 300 calories
Medium baked potato: 160 calories
1 cup mashed potato: 210 calories
1 cup stuffing: 296 calories
1/6 of pumpkin pie: 265 calories
1/6 of pecan pie: 500 calories
2 beers: 300 calories
2 glasses of wine: 250 calories

Dishes and drinks most likely to leave you stuffed
Wine: Not only does wine have a high sugar content and 125 calories for an average sized glass, but it diminishes self-restraint. As you consume more, you’re more inclined to give in to temptations at the dinner table.

Stuffing: Stuffing packs a caloric punch, but that’s the least of your worries if you’re watching your eating. It’s often made with butter, which contributes to a higher fat content. And because stuffing is made with chicken broth, the sodium levels are through the roof.

Dessert: The winner for most calories in the Thanksgiving dinner is pecan pie, at 500 calories for an average sized piece (mostly from sugar). Pecans are the main source of fat in the dessert, but the good news is this is the ‘good fat.’ Pecans are also a source of Omega 3s and antioxidants. If you’re looking for the best of the dessert options, pumpkin pie is the best choice with roughly 280 calories in a slice and 25 grams of sugar. Pumpkin also contains vitamins and minerals, including A, B12, C, E and D.

Sauces and toppings: We often forget about the extra calories in common sauces like gravy, cranberry sauce and butter. Simply cutting some toppings from already delicious food can save a significant amount of excess consumption.

An alternative to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is to make it with a healthy twist. Try our healthy Thanksgiving dinner for under $80, it's cost efficient and delicious.

Get back on course right away
Even with a clear exercise and healthy eating plan, it’s likely your thanksgiving meal will contain more calories than almost any meal. Eliminate the guilt, enjoy the meal with family and get back to your healthy eating right away. One decadent dinner will likely not cause a lot of damage to your fitness and health goals, but letting poor choices linger for more days will. Commit to getting back to your healthy eating habits and physical activity right away and you can have your turkey and eat it too.