Use these pointers to select and cook a healthier turkey this Thanksgiving.
Turkey is the main attraction at most Thanksgiving dinners – and that’s a good thing because it’s one of the healthier options you can choose from at a meal known for its overwhelming variety of foods filled with fat, sodium and carbs.
Here are some helpful tips to select and cook a turkey this year that is healthy and tastes great:
- Select a fresh turkey that has not been soaked in or injected with a brine solution.
- To decide what size turkey to choose, plan on one pound of turkey feeding at least two people. You may want to add a little extra for leftovers.
- Rub the turkey with olive oil to get a crisp, browned skin. Then generously sprinkle the turkey with fresh herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. The herbs add great flavor without the high sodium in salt.
- Add a half-inch of water or reduced-sodium chicken broth to the bottom of your roasting pan to keep the turkey moist.
- Roast at 325° F for approximately 20 minutes per pound.
- Baste regularly while roasting. If the turkey gets too brown, cover it with a foil tent. Add more water or broth to pan as necessary during the cooking process.
- To prevent food-borne illness, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. It should read 165° F before you pull the bird out of the oven.
- If you’re using the drippings from the pan to make gravy, let the fat settle first and skim it off.
- Carve and enjoy!
Not sure what part of the turkey to eat? If you’re watching calories or fat, here are some stats to consider (based on a 4 ounce serving):
- White meat with skin – 185 calories, 1.4g saturated fat, 33g protein
- White meat without skin – 158 calories, 0.4g saturated fat, 34g protein
- Dark meat with skin – 206 calories, 2.4g saturated fat, 33g protein
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Date Last Reviewed: October 22, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Jane Schwartz, RD