Let’s talk about turkey! It’s hard to picture a holiday dinner celebration without the turkey. Thanksgiving is coming, but don’t just think of the holiday; now, turkey seems to be a staple on salads, sandwiches, and ground for tacos, spaghetti, burgers, and in chili.
Turkey comes as the actual bird (fresh or frozen), ground, and processed, as you find in the deli case.
Here are a couple of quick facts about turkey:
- Turkey should cook until it’s internal temperature reaches 165F to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
- Dark turkey meat generally contains more vitamins and minerals but also has more fat content and calories than white meat.
- Removing the skin of a turkey also removes much of the fat content. It is easy to remove the skin to eat a leaner, less fattening meal.
And how do you prepare your turkey? Try it differently each time you cook a bird or even a breast. It is delicious baked, roasted, grilled, fried, smoked, rotisseried, or even slow-cooked. Regardless of how you prepare it, always remember that the internal temperature should reach 165F at its thickest part.
The nutrients in turkey depend upon the cut. Although the breast of the turkey has less fat and calories than most other cuts of meat, do not assume that just because a product is made of turkey that it’s better for you. If you make turkey burgers, the amount of dark meat in the ground turkey can make your burger have just as much saturated fat as a beef burger. Be sure you are eating the white meat when preparing meals with ground turkey.
Processed turkey (including hot dogs and turkey bacon) are high in sodium. If purchasing turkey from the deli counter, the store should be able to tell you which brand of turkey will meet your dietary needs. Even pre-packaged, frozen turkey burgers can be full of salt and preservatives, so always remember to read the labels. Again, just because it’s turkey doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you.
When purchasing, go for fresh, lean, organic turkey that is pasture-raised without antibiotics. Factory-farmed turkey is generally injected with salt and other preservatives during processing. To avoid too much salt and preservatives, choose unprocessed turkey.
You now know how to choose turkey, so let’s talk about adding it to your diet. A fresh or frozen turkey is generally available year-round, so it’s an easy addition to your menu planning. Try adding turkey in some of these ways:
• Add it hot or cold to a salad for added protein
• Use it instead of chicken in curries
• Add it ground to casseroles, tacos, spaghetti sauce, or anywhere you would previously have used ground beef
• Make your own stock from the turkey bones and add the meat to soups
• Combine toppings like lettuce, tomato, and mustard to make a great lettuce wrap with sliced or ground turkey
• Make delicious burgers and meatballs
Once the holidays are over, use your left-over turkey to prepare this delicious soup to warm you:
Turkey Pot Pie Soup
- 3 ½ cups bone broth
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp butter or ghee
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 small sweet potato, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups cooked, shredded turkey
- 5 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp dried sage
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the onions, carrots, potato and celery. Let cook until onions are soft.
- Add the broth and cover allowing to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes have softened.
- Add the turkey and herbs, allowing them to heat through.
- Add the coconut milk. Serve hot. Enjoy!