Monthly Food Feature: Turkey

© Sue Crocker

© Sue Crocker

Although many of us think of turkey as a holiday treat, it is a great lean protein to add to your weekly meals.  If you think that cooking a whole turkey is too much of an endeavor, then consider using in your meals one of the other versions in which you can buy turkey.  Take your pick:

  • ground (white and/or dark meat),
  • breasts,
  • legs/thighs/drumsticks,
  • roast or roll,
  • with and without skin.

Selecting and Storing Turkey

Should you buy organic? Free-range, pasture-raised?  Besides having a personal preference there may be some benefits to buying pasture-raised turkeys.  For example, pasture-raised turkeys contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than factory-farmed turkeys.  In addition, conventional turkeys are often injected with salt, preservatives, antibiotics and water so be sure to read labels carefully to avoid these additional ingredients, and ask the grocer about where they source their turkeys.

Read The World’s Healthiest Foods website for more details on buying tips and best ways to store fresh turkey.

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits

As a low-fat protein, turkey offers one of the best ways to satisfy your appetite.  According to the USDA, 3 ounces of turkey breast meat (without skin), roasted, contains about 160 calories, 24 grams of protein.  The breast meat has less fat (6 grams) than the darker meat on turkey thighs, drumsticks, and wings (8-10 grams of fat).

Overall, turkey has a lot to offer in nutrients.  In particular, it is:

  • An Excellent source of Vitamin B3;
  • A Very Good source of protein, selenium (especially darker meat), and vitamin B6; and
  • A Good source of choline, pantothenic acid, zinc, vitamin B2, and vitamin B12

Be wary of deli turkey meats, turkey burgers, turkey bacon, as they can be high in sodium and nitrates.  Read labels carefully.

While satisfying lean protein nutrition that enhances muscle mass, turkey may keep post-meal insulin at desirable levels for appropriate blood sugar regulation, and metabolism functioning.

Easy Recipes

Roast turkey with stuffing is a favorite meal for many of us.  To expand your culinary horizons, we feature turkey meals that are a little different than the traditional holiday turkey meal.

From Whole Foods Market:

Turkey Gumbo

Great soup using turkey legs.  Keep the rest of the turkey for other meals in the week!

Turkey Gumbo Whole Foods Market Recipes

Turkey Gumbo
Whole Foods Market Recipes

From (Cooking Light):

Asian Turkey Cabbage Cups

If you like tacos, these are a great alternative with an Asian twist.  Using cabbage, iceberg or butter lettuce instead of taco shells/tortillas add crunch and healthy carbs.

Photo by: Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

Photo by: Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley


For more meal ideas, check out this week’s recipe and the many other turkey recipes we’ve already posted on our site (Herbed Turkey Breast, Turkey Scallopini Rolls, Turkey Burgers, and more).  Type ‘turkey’ in our search box or browse through our recipe listing.

Gobble, gobble, gobble on…


Recipe of the Week: Slow Cooker Turkey

About aspireperspirenourish

We are sisters who share a passion for healthy living! Each of us brings different knowledge and skills to this project, some similar experiences and a whole lot of shared passion for mindful, fit and nutritious living. This blog is our way of spreading our knowledge and passion about motivation, fitness and nutrition for everyday living. It is also our forum for finding like-minded people from whom we can learn. To learn more about us, please see our "About" page.
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