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Food of the Month


Turkey

Great Source of Protein

Turkey is often regarded as a high-protein food. Skinned turkey breast will provide the most protein per serving, at 34 grams in 4 ounces. But you will still get 31 grams from 4 ounces of turkey leg and 21 grams from 4 ounces of turkey thigh. Just one serving of turkey provides more than 60 percent of your recommended daily intake of protein.

Boosts Energy

The multitude of B vitamins found in turkey produces long-lasting energy so you don’t crash halfway through the day. The niacin content ensures conversion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into efficient fuel to run your core systems.

Improves Your Mood

Turkey is a great source of the amino acids needed to produce mood-improving hormones in our brains. The tryptophan found in turkey is needed to form the neurotransmitter serotonin and is a precursor to the hormone melatonin, both of which affect your overall mood and sense of well-being.

Antioxidant Benefits

Turkey is a very good source of selenium. Selenium plays an essential role in your antioxidant defense system, helping to eliminate free radicals in the body.

Improves Immunity

Turkey contains tryptophan, a natural immune system booster, which can bolster your white blood cells in order to assist your body in fighting off unwanted attacks from immune system invaders.

Note: Turkey contains naturally occurring compounds called purines. Individuals who are susceptible to purine-related problems such as kidney problems or gout may want to limit or avoid intake of purine-containing foods such as turkey.

 

Tips for Selecting and Storing Turkey

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In order to maximize the health benefits of turkey, it is worth seeking out fresh, certified organic, pasture-raised birds. The USDA does not allow the use of additives like sodium erythorbate, MSG, and salt on fresh turkey, which is a great health benefit. Federal standards for organic turkey require that they be raised on organic feed, providing you with a food that is far less likely to contain unwanted contaminants.

It has been found that turkeys that spent time foraging in a pasture were found to have an increase in omega-3s in their meat and a lower ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. You are likely to find phrases like “pasture-raised,” “pastured,” “free-range” and “cage-free” on turkey packaging, but labeling laws allow products to display these terms even if the turkeys spend little or no time outdoors. It is a benefit to take the time to talk to your grocer or the turkey farmer and find out how the animals were actually raised.

Storage:

  • When shopping for a fresh turkey, be sure it is one of the last items selected so the length of time it is without refrigeration is as short as possible.
  • Raw turkey should be stored in the coldest area in the refrigerator, usually the bottom shelf toward the back.
  • A whole fresh turkey should be stored in its original packaging if intact—if not, rewrap it securely before storing.
  • Refrigerated raw turkey can keep for one or two days, while cooked turkey will keep for about three to four days.

Just as in the selection of whole turkey, when purchasing ground turkey it is best to look for certified organic, pasture-raised meat.

Serving Suggestions

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  • Use ground turkey to make turkey burgers, meatballs, or meat loaf.
  • Make turkey a part of breakfast: add diced turkey breast to an omelet or scramble, or add a slice of turkey to your eggs Benedict.
  • Make turkey fajitas: Warm up turkey and serve it instead of chicken or beef with grilled, sliced peppers, onions, and other grilled veggies. Add them all to a tortilla with toppings of your choice and eat.
  • Use ground turkey instead of beef in your chili.
  • Instead of chicken parmesan, try it with turkey! Top a thick slice of cooked white turkey breast with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 degrees until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.
  • Create pulled BBQ turkey sandwiches by shredding turkey and adding barbecue sauce.

Recipes:

Dried Cherry-Toasted Almond Turkey Salad Sandwiches (great for Thanksgiving leftovers!)

Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa

Chipotle Turkey and Corn Soup

Romaine and Turkey Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Turkey Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Turkey Zucchini Burger with Tahini Sauce