Opinion: Don’t forget the cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes

Turkey is overrated—so make room at the table for Thanksgiving’s real heroes: the delicious, versatile, and healthier side dishes


Annapatricia Cruz

It’s easy to get excited about all the food served during Thanksgiving, but some foods at the feast are better than others. Take cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes, which are the season’s best.

Kaitlyn Wenzel, Staff Reporter

What are the best foods during Thanksgiving one may ask? Well, we got the answer for you. This is why cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes are the best foods during Thanksgiving.

Many people during Thanksgiving dinner do not quite fancy cranberry sauce or sweet potatoes compared to the other array of food provided. However, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes are actually the best food during Thanksgiving. 

The best part about sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce is the sweetness they provide while also being a part of the main course and not the dessert. While they are in fact both sweet, they each have their own unique levels of sweetness. 

Sweet potatoes can be served in two main ways which both provide their own unique sweetness. One way sweet potatoes are served is by using brown sugar and marshmallows which gives the sweet potatoes and strong sweet flavor followed by a soft and creamy sensation that helps even the sweetness out. However, my family serves our sweet potatoes with only brown sugar. This can make the sweet potatoes more of an overpowering sweetness without the creamy sensation, but it all depends on the ratio of brown sugar to sweet potato when baking them. 

Also, cranberry sauce has its own unique sweetness when it hits the tongue. Cranberry sauce has a sweetness that is followed by a slight bitterness and sour which causes an intense sensation when being eaten. However, the best way to eat cranberry sauce is not the homemade kind with the cranberry chunks, but the kind served in cans at the grocery store that are smooth and soft that can be swallowed without even needing to be chewed. 

Another reason why cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes are the best Thanksgiving food is that they are vegetarian friendly. Both of these foods do not have any types of meat included in their recipes, unlike the main food that is associated with Thanksgiving which is turkey. The main ingredients to sweet potatoes are the sweet potatoes themselves, brown sugar, and in some situations, marshmallows which are all baked together in the oven, and the main ingredient in cranberry sauce is essentially just cranberries. 

They also act very filling just like meat-based foods, such as turkey. Potatoes themselves are very filling and when paired with the marshmallows and the sweet flavor, it can make people feel full faster. The same goes for cranberry sauce since the intense flavor also helps with the feeling of being full.  

Sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce also hold a wide variety of health benefits. Sweet potatoes can improve skin health, eye health, fighting oxidation, fighting inflammation, helps manage blood sugar, helps manage weight loss, helps manage blood pressure, helps manage stress, prevents cancer, and helps enhance digestion. 

The health benefits behind cranberries include preventing urinary tract infections, fights age-related damage, promotes heart health, supports a healthy digestive system, is good for dental health, high in vitamin C, high in vitamin E, and helps prevent cancer. This shows that while stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving with delicious food, you are also helping your body in many ways. Also since you are stuffing yourself, the weight loss and digestive benefits these foods hold can really come in handy for this time of year.

One of the most favored foods on Thanksgiving is commonly mashed potatoes. This is because they are filling, they pair well with corn, and taste best with gravy. However sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce are also very filling by themselves. Personally, I hate mixing my foods so I would never pair my corn with my mashed potatoes because the taste isn’t the best and the texture is horrendous.

I also cannot stand turkey, like some other people, and gravy is commonly made using turkey. Therefore I also do not quite fancy gravy. Also, mashed potatoes don’t have much flavor by themselves and they are more commonly eaten year-round as well while most people, especially my own family, mainly eat sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce only on Thanksgiving so it makes this food more special.

This Thanksgiving, try out these foods for maybe the first time or not the first time, but really get into the flavor and think about it while also comparing them to the other common foods eaten on Thanksgiving. Try out different ways to serve them and pair them and if you still don’t like them, then think about your own favorite Thanksgiving food and why you think it’s the best.