Unless it’s Thanksgiving time around your household, then you probably don’t really mess around with the turkeys too much. After all, they’re big, bulky, harder to cook, and those leftovers can really just sit in your fridge for weeks until you have to throw them out.
However, health-conscious people have found that turkey is absolutely full of health benefits. At the very least, turkey makes one of the best substitutes on the planet for food items that are otherwise unhealthy.
Here are just a few things turkey subs for in your local convenience store:
- Ground beef
Instead of the greasy and unhealthy ground beef that you’ll find, purchasing a turkey substitute gives you a leaner option with less fat, more protein, higher calcium content, and more. The same goes for the bacon and other turkey-based products.
Turkey is plentiful and a lot less expensive now than it was in the past, due to mass production. Around the Thanksgiving season, it’s not uncommon to find turkey available for less than 50 cents per pound.
Not only is turkey better for you than red meats and pork, but it also has a big wing up on its poultry counterpart – chicken.
Going pound for pound (or ounce for ounce, more like it), turkey is by far the healthier option over chicken. Now, of course, chicken is still a very healthy food, especially when used in substitutes (like turkey is) and when eaten without skin. It just so happens that turkey packs a better punch in terms of health.
How turkey is better than chicken:
- More protein
- Less fat
- Higher calcium
- Lower sodium
- More defined taste (bigger flavor profile)
- More meat, meaning more bang for the buck when purchasing whole turkey
- Better canvas for flavors
Turkey’s Benefits Explained
As mentioned above, chicken is still a healthy food. If you were to put them side by side, however, turkey just beats chicken out in many categories that healthy dieters are looking for.
In terms of all meats, white-meat turkey is lower in calories per serving than any other meat out there, including chicken. It doesn’t beat it out by a lot, but it does beat it – roughly 10%, depending on meat type and cooking style.
Turkey is lower in cholesterol than most other meats, especially red meats, and has a much better proportion of unsaturated fats to saturated fats than chicken.
Per portion, turkey meat contains more protein per gram than beef, pork and chicken. It’s also high in methionine – an essential amino acid required in protein usage by the body. Turkey is also loaded with B6 and B12 vitamins.
When it comes to fat, turkey really blows chicken clean out of the kitchen! In total, white turkey meat only yields 5% fat calories per serving. Compare this to 20% for white chicken and you really see the difference.
Turkey is naturally very low in sodium, containing only 68 milligrams per 3.5oz serving. Chicken, again, is no match for turkey in this category.
Calcium is another area where we see a big disparity in turkey and chicken. A 3.5oz serving of turkey contains 32 milligrams of calcium, whereas the same portion of chicken only contains 11 milligrams. That’s almost a 200% difference.