The Ideal Thanksgiving Menu

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.

– Voltaire

Daily Recommended Amount:

Everyday we need to get a certain amount of specific vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.  We’ve all seen the advertisements right? “Provides 25% of the recommended daily amount of calcium”.

I’ve often wondered about this.  In the course of a normal day, what vitamins and minerals should we be be getting?  Would a typical day’s food provide the recommended amounts?

I’ve found that Health Canada maintains a website that provides charts listing all of the recommended amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that we need every day. They also maintain a database that describes how much of these nutrients various foods provide.

Thanksgiving Day Menu:

thanksgiving arrangement

Thanksgiving

After looking at all of this data, I thought it might be interesting to write down all of our food for a typical day, and then check to see if the nutritional requirements were met. Then, it occurred to me that Thanksgiving was coming soon (October 11 in Canada), so I thought I’d try the same thing with a traditional Thanksgiving feast.  Here is what I think would make an ideal Thanksgiving menu.

Breakfast:

  • oatmeal
  • coffee
  • milk

Thanksgiving Dinner:

  • roast turkey
  • mashed potatoes
  • stuffing
  • butternut squash
  • green peas
  • gravy
  • dinner roll
  • pumpkin pie
  • tomato juice
  • white wine

Supper:

  • turkey sandwich
  • beer

Nutrition Charts:

It didn’t take long to realize that if I tried to check all of the nutritional requirements, it would take me forever.  I’m sure there must be applications specifically for this sort of thing.  One day, I may even try to create one that I can attach to this blog.  Anyway the following analysis is for a very limited subset of the nutritional requirements listed by Health Canada.

Here are my targets (for an adult male):

Minerals Vitamins
Calcium Iron Zinc A B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 B12 C D K Folate
mg mg mg ug mg mg mg mg mg ug mg ug ug ug
1000 – 1200 8 – 11 8 – 11 600 – 900 0.9 – 1.2 0.9 – 1.3 12 – 16 4 – 5 1.0 – 1.7 1.8 – 2.4 45 – 90 5 – 15 60 – 120 300 – 400

Let’s start with breakfast.  The following table shows a nice breakfast for fall mornings when there is a bit of a chill in the air…

Minerals Vitamins
Calcium Iron Zinc A B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 B12 C D K Folate
mg mg mg ug mg mg mg mg mg ug mg ug ug ug
cereal, hot oats, 40g (1/2 cup) serving, 81 Calories
3.2 0.38 0 2.4 0.048 0.008 0.296 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.4
milk 2% M.F., 250ml (1 cup) serving, 129 Calories
302 0.08 1.11 8 0.101 0.477 0.237 0.918 0.098 1.19 0.5 2.769 0.5 13
coffee, brewed, black, 250ml (1 cup) serving, 3 Calories
5 0.03 0.05 0 0.035 0.190 0.478 0.636 0.003 0 0 0 0.3 5

So, after breakfast, here are our totals:

  • 213 Calories
Minerals Vitamins
Calcium Iron Zinc A B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 B12 C D K Folate
mg mg mg ug mg mg mg mg mg ug mg ug ug ug
310.2 0.49 1.16 10.4 0.184 0.675 1.011 1.554 0.101 1.19 0.5 2.769 0.8 20.4

So, we have a long way to go. That’s good. Let’s get to the important bit. Thanksgiving dinner:

Minerals Vitamins
Calcium Iron Zinc A B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 B12 C D K Folate
mg mg mg ug mg mg mg mg mg ug mg ug ug ug
turkey breast, roasted with skin, 75g serving size, 94 Calories
7 0.03 0.05 0 0.035 0.190 0.478 0.636 0.003 0 0 0 0.3 4
mashed potatoes, 2% milk and butter added 100g serving size, 105 Calories
26 0.26 0.27 90 0.084 0.04 1.079 0.57 0.224 0.05 6.1 0.22 0 4
bread stuffing, 100g serving size, 178 Calories
32 1.09 0.28 88 0.136 0.107 1.475 0.081 0.04 0.01 0 0 13.7 53
gravy, 50g serving size, 26.5 Calories
3 0.35 0.5 0 0.015 0.02 0.33 0 0.005 0.05 0 0.05 0 0
squash, butternut, baked, 100g serving size, 40 Calories
41 0.6 0.13 0 0.072 0.017 0.969 0.359 0.124 0 15.1 0 1 19
green peas, frozen, boiled, drained, 100g serving size, 78 Calories
24 1.52 0.67 1250 0.283 0.1 1.48 0.142 0.113 0 9.9 0 24 59
dinner roll, 60% whole wheat flour, 28g serving size, 77 Calories
50 1.01 0.26 0 0.123 0.077 1.154 0.103 0.022 0 0 0 0.8 26
pumpkin pie, 1/8 slice, 155g serving size, 316 Calories
146 1.97 0.71 7366 0.143 0.312 1.212 0.69 0.073 0.14 2.6 1.24 0 46
tomatoe juice, canned, 100ml serving size, 22 Calories
13 0.55 0.19 347 0.06 0.04 0.864 0.321 0.143 0 20.3 0 3 26
white wine, 11.5% alcohol, 100ml serving size, 68 Calories
9 0.32 0.07 0 0.004 0.005 0.067 0.021 0.014 0 0 0 0 0

Okay! That looks good. Did you notice the beta carotene in the pumpkin pie!?

Let’s add a light supper (or lunch depending on when you eat your turkey) to finish the day.

Minerals Vitamins
Calcium Iron Zinc A B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 B12 C D K Folate
mg mg mg ug mg mg mg mg mg ug mg ug ug ug
beer, 5% alcohol, 341 ml serving size, 140 Calories
14 0.07 0.03 0 0.017 0.086 1.757 0.14 0.158 0.07 0 0 0 21
turkey sandwich, 75g serving size, 150 Calories
8 0.46 0.78 0 0.018 0.053 1.252 0.202 0.082 0.28 0.8 0 0 4

Now, looking at our totals again:

  • Breakfast = 213 Calories
  • Lunch = 290 Calories
  • Dinner = 1004.5 Calories
  • Total = 1507.5 Calories
Minerals Vitamins
Calcium Iron Zinc A B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 B12 C D K Folate
mg mg mg ug mg mg mg mg mg ug mg ug ug ug
683.2 9.19 6.2 9151.4 1.179 1.632 19.45 4.55 1.339 2.03 45.3 4.429 43.3 279.4

And recalling our targets:

Minerals Vitamins
Calcium Iron Zinc A B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 B12 C D K Folate
mg mg mg ug mg mg mg mg mg ug mg ug ug ug
1000 – 1200 8 – 11 8 – 11 600 – 900 0.9 – 1.2 0.9 – 1.3 12 – 16 4 – 5 1.0 – 1.7 1.8 – 2.4 45 – 90 5 – 15 60 – 120 300 – 400

Summary:

It looks like we have done pretty well. We could use some more calcium and zinc, as well as vitamins C, D, K, and more folates.

I have to say, I’m actually a bit surprised. I didn’t think that we would do so well. After seeing these results, I don’t think it would be difficult to plan daily meals to ensure that our vitamin and mineral requirements were met.

I do realize that there is much more to consider beyond what I’ve done here, but I just wanted to try a simple analysis

 

Posted in Cooking, Nutrition
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  1. […] In North America, sage is traditionally used to flavour the dressing (or stuffing) served during a Thanksgiving turkey dinner.  Sage can also be used to make tea, flavour cheeses (English Derby), fish, beans, and […]

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