Every November, we wonder why we don’t eat turkey more often. It’s high in protein, low in calories, and affordable. But ... I think we can all agree, preparing the whole bird is something we can justifiably reserve for special occasions.
Fortunately, plenty of turkey cuts don’t require the same workload and time of cooking a whole turkey, including several easy-to-find cuts that can help you put a healthy dinner on the table in just minutes. Here’s a few to look for next time you’re stocking up for the week.
Cutlets are thin slices of breast meat. They cook in minutes on the stovetop or grill and are great for adding to salads, sandwiches, pastas and wraps — especially for anyone trying to eat a little healthier. A 4-ounce serving of Honeysuckle White turkey breast cutlets, for example, provides 28 grams of lean protein and only 120 calories. And because of their uniform thickness, they all cook in the same amount of time.
Lean Ground Turkey
Using lean ground turkey in place of ground beef is a great way to cut down on saturated fat — the type of fat that contributes to high cholesterol. Two types to look for are 93 percent lean ground turkey and 99 percent lean ground turkey. The biggest difference is that the 99 percent version is generally made with all breast meat and contains no saturated fat. However, because it has so little fat, it runs the risk of getting dry. For sauces or tacos, it’s usually not an issue, but if you’re making meatballs or turkey burgers, 93 percent or mixing the two together are your best bets.
Tenderloin is the long strip of meat located on the inside of the turkey breast. True to the name, this cut stays tender when cooked. It’s also comparable to turkey breast meat in terms of nutrition. A 4-ounce serving has about 120 calories and 28 grams of protein.
Lean Turkey Sausage
Turkey sausage has nearly 100 fewer calories and half the fat of its pork counterpart — making it a healthy alternative to a grilled brat. It’s also a great way to add flavor to soups, pastas, and casseroles without the extra saturated fat.
Roasting a bone-in turkey breast, approximately 4 pounds or so, may take a little longer than cooking cutlets or ground turkey, but it offers plenty of hands-free time, especially when cooked in a slow cooker. A bone-in turkey breast provides about 24 grams of protein, 180 calories, and 8 grams of fat per 4-ounce serving. For a quicker and even leaner option, look for a boneless turkey breast roast.