This lean protein can be the secret to low-fat comfort food. Here’s how to shop for it—and six ways to cook it up too.
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Embracing ground turkey is all about changing your mindset, and here’s why: If you don’t think of it as just a substitute for ground beef, you’re not disappointed when things taste a little different.And trust us, when cooked up correctly, “different” is a good thing. But why else should you use this lean protein to add a little variety to your diet?
A 3-oz. serving of 93% lean ground turkey breast has 180 calories, 10 grams of fat and a whole lot of protein — 23 grams, to be exact.
It’s a food low in both sodium and saturated fat, making it a great choice in general—and especially solid for those watching their blood pressure or cholesterol.
Turkey also packs a nutritional punch with a healthy dose of B-complex vitamins, which help regulate cholesterol levels and promote healthy blood circulation.
Now, even though ground turkey breast is an overall healthy choice, you still need to proceed with caution at the grocery store, stresses Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, a Board Certified Sports Specialist Dietician based in upstate New York. But that’s easy enough—just make sure the packaging specifies ground turkey breast and that it’s labled at least 90% lean. (If not, there’s probably dark meat and skin mixed in, adding unwanted calories and fat.)Got some lean ground turkey in your fridge? Check out these easy ideas to help you add more of this lean protein to your diet.
1. Spaghetti Bolognese
Ground turkey breast is great at soaking up robust, savory flavors. So add it to jarred tomato sauce before cooking on the stove to give your marinara a lean protein boost, or use it to whip up a healthier recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese. Serve over a single serving of whole-wheat pasta (or even a heaping plate of spaghetti squash) for a low-carb, high-protein meal.
2. Lean Turkey Chili
Ground turkey breast is also perfect for slow cooker recipes, like chili—the different seasonings and spices will infuse the meat, giving it tons of taste without any extra work. Check out MF’s slow-cooked Turkey Chicken Chili, courtesy of chef Michael Ferraro of NYC’s Delicatessen restaurant, or simply sub it in for beef in your go-to recipe.
3. A Manlier Salad
Instead of adding grilled chicken to your usual greens, keep ground turkey breast on hand to toss with your salad. Try cooking the turkey with taco seasoning to make a healthier version of the classic taco salad, or add in some sliced apples, walnuts and celery and serve on a bed of lettuce for a protein-boosted update on the infamous Waldorf salad. (Feeling adventurous? Mix in some cranberry sauce to give it a tangy bite.)
4. Game-Day Snacks
Every sporting event is better watched with snacks, so why not make a leaner version of your favorites? Whip up this easy sloppy joe recipe using ground turkey breast or dip whole-wheat crackers or multi-grain tortilla chips in this turkey chili dip. Your taste buds will thank you—no matter which team winds up with the higher score.
5. Stuffed Peppers
Lop off the top of a large cooked bell pepper and stuff it with seasoned ground turkey breast, onions, whole-grain rice, black beans, and low-fat shredded cheese for an easy Mexican-style meal. Or try this recipe for Stuffed Peppers Estia, subbing in ground turkey for the beef.
6. Turkey Burger
Enjoying a turkey burger is all about not expecting it to be a beef burger—and pairing it with the right flavors to complement its taste. This California Burger uses an avocado relish to take it to the next level, or you can try the Free-Range Turkey Burger recipe from celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn, which kicks up its meat mix with some chipotle peppers and magno chutney.