Turkey is not only consumed during Thanksgiving, roasted whole and served with an assortment of rich sauces, gravy and buttery sidings. Nowadays, with advanced meat processing technology, this sizeable bird is now made into a variety of convenient ready-to-eat products from sausages and ham to ready-to-cook burger patties and TV dinners. These have likewise joined the bandwagon of health by having low-sodium and low-fat variants. There are some manufactures that even make gluten-free turkey ham with Bifidus, a kind of pro-biotic (live microorganisms or beneficial bacteria) that aids in digestion!
Similar to chicken, other poultry and most commercially consumed animals, turkeys are also predominantly grown in big farms with the use of artificial feeds, and growth hormones. Go for organic and free range turkey if you are fortunate enough to come across it in the supermarket. The extra dollar you spend is well worth it especially if you are among the few unfortunate individuals who are sensitive to artificial chemicals in their food. These can come from pesticide-treated and chemically-fertilized grains, antibiotics, synthetic amino-acid and animal-product in the feeds.
Now that we know that not all turkeys are created equal, we come to the exciting part of preparing the bird in a healthy manner that keeps the juices and flavors in without much added fats and oils. For Thanksgiving, choose a stuffing that has a lot of fiber like brown rice and whole wheat bread. And if dairy and fat is required in the recipe, replace with good fats like extra virgin olive oil and low-fat products. There’s even versions of stuffing that are predominantly fruits, vegetables and nuts such as cranberries, apples, oranges, walnuts, mushrooms, celery, onions and fresh herbs.
For every day turkey dishes, opt for lean cuts if you’re looking out for your calorie and fat intake. Remove the skin after cooking as doing so before may lead to a dry piece of meat especially if you’re using turkey breast which doesn’t contain much moisture. Use cooking methods that do not involve a lot of oil and instead opt of moist heat cookery like stewing and braising. A quick pan fry is alright with the addition of nutrient-rich vegetables, complex carbohydrates like whole wheat pasta or brown rice, and additional protein such as beans. The addition of nuts and fruits provides texture and color to any dish.