We have heard it many times before: The average American will consume 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day.  The New York Times Thanksgiving Help Line is reporting that the often-cited 4,500 number may be overstated.  According to the report, that number is cited by the Calorie Control Council, which is a diet foods industry group.  Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times added up all the fatty, sugary foods in a usual Thanksgiving meal and calculated it closer to 2,500 calories, which is still a huge number for a single meal, but nowhere close to 4,500.

Here is Pope’s list:

  • 206 calores for four ounces of dark turkey meat (with skin)
  • 93 calories for two ounces of white turkey meat (with skin)
  • 310 calories for big spoonful of sausage stuffing
  • 310 calories for a roll with butter
  • 300 calories for a cup of sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows
  • 140 calories for a half-cup of mashed potatoes and gravy
  • 110 calories for two-thirds cup green bean casserole
  • 15 calories for a dollop of cranberry sauce
  • 83 calories for roasted Brussels sprouts
  • 416 calories for a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream
  • 603 calories for a slice of pecan pie
  • For a grand total of 2,486 calories

Pope admits that adding breakfast, snacks, and several glasses of wine could get you there, but chances are that the average is well below 4,500 calories.

How many calories will you consume on Thanksgiving this year?  Whether it’s 4,500, 2,500, or another number, Husch Blackwell wishes you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!