Is turkey stuffing an essential part of your Thanksgiving meal? For many of us, the holiday dinner wouldn’t be complete without this traditional side dish. But stuffing isn’t always the best choice for dieters. Calories in stuffing can be sky high.
If you’re trying to lose weight, choose to make a healthy stuffing this year. Use this low-calorie stuffing recipe and tips to keep your weight loss plan on track during the holidays.
Calories in Stuffing
There are only about 120-140 calories in one serving of stuffing. But of course, stuffing calories can vary significantly based on preparation method. Do you use boxed stuffing? Nutrition for brands like Pepperidge Farm and Stove Top are similar because they contain similar ingredients and require similar preparation methods.
Stuffing Calories by Brand and Type
Here’s how the nutrition in different types of stuffing compares:
- According to USDA data, a single one-cup serving of home-prepared bread stuffing provides 390 calories, 5 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 134 grams of sodium, and 27 grams of total fat.
- According to USDA data, a single one-cup serving of home-prepared cornbread stuffing provides 358 calories, 6 grams of protein, 44 grams of carbohydrate, 6 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 124 grams of sodium, and 17 grams of total fat.
- According to the manufacturer, a 3/4 cup serving of Pepperidge Farms Herb Seasoned Stuffing provides 160 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 33 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 600 milligrams of sodium.
- According to the manufacturer, a single serving (28 grams) of Stove Top Savory Herb Stuffing provides 150 calories, 1 gram of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of protein, 450 milligrams of sodium, and 2 grams of sugar.
Of course the other factor that can change stuffing calories is the serving size. A single serving of turkey stuffing is only a half cup. Most of us scoop more than a single serving onto our plates. In addition, we usually ladle a generous serving of gravy on top.
Is Stuffing Healthy?
Stuffing isn’t the worst food on the Thanksgiving table, but it’s not the healthiest food either. Stuffing provides carbohydrates for energy and is you choose whole grain bread as a primary ingredient you’re likely to boost your fiber intake. Some cooks also include apple or other fruits that will not only increase your fiber intake, but also provide healthy vitamins and minerals.
You might also want to keep an eye on the fat and sodium content of your stuffing. If you buy boxed stuffing, the fat content usually doesn’t look too bad. But what actually ends up on our plate is quite different. Your portion of stuffing and gravy can provide a day’s worth of fat. If you make stuffing at home with butter or with pan drippings from the bird, those ingredients also boost your saturated fat intake.
Lastly, stuffing is usually high in sodium. Unfortunately, salt is what makes stuffing taste good most of the time. If you are watching your sodium intake you might want to avoid stuffing or choose a very small portion.
How to Make Healthy Stuffing
If you make stuffing at home, the calorie, fat, and sodium content will depend entirely on the recipe you use. Many traditional recipes contain fat drippings from the turkey, butter, and other high-calorie, high-fat ingredients, like oil.
If you’re looking for a healthy stuffing recipe to make at home, try this one that uses less fat and healthier ingredients.
Basic Healthy Stuffing Recipe
- 24 oz. cubed stuffing bread or frozen bread
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon sage
- Pepper to taste
- 1 cup milk
- 2/3 cup chopped onion
- 2/3 cup chopped celery with leaves
- 1 cup chicken broth
Mix the butter, chicken broth, and spices. Put milk, onion, celery, and bread in a large bowl. Pour the butter, broth, and spice mixture over and lightly toss.
Bake in a 13 x 9 pan at 375 F for 20-40 minutes, depending on how dry you like your stuffing. Drizzle chicken broth as the stuffing cooks if desired.
More Recipes for Healthy Stuffing
You can also try this Low-Carb Stuffing Recipe. And if you choose to eat a vegetarian diet, check out this Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe. Lastly, there are options for gluten-free eaters as well. This list of gluten-free stuffing mixes will help you to enjoy a healthy holiday.