One reason for ground turkey’s increasing popularity is because many consumers see it as a lower fat alternative to ground beef. Looking for foods that reduce the amount of fat in your diet is always a good idea, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, which recommends reducing fat intake to 30 percent or less of daily calories.
But be aware that ground turkey is still not a low fat food, and sometime may even contain more fat than some types of ground beef. Ground turkey usually contains about 7 percent to 15 percent fat, by weight. Fresh turkey usually tends to be lower in fat than frozen, and ground turkey made from white meat is lower in fat than that ground from dark meat.
Substituting ground turkey for regular ground beef, which is 25 to 30 percent fat by weight, will help reduce dietary fat. Ground chuck is usually about 20 percent fat by weight. But “lean” ground beef, often called ground round, is normally only 10 percent fat, and “extra lean” ground beef is limited to 5 percent fat or less.
Learn to read labels, or ask your butcher if fat content isn’t labeled. All of which is to say that ground turkey is lower in fat than many types of ground beef, but it still may be getting from 30 to 50 percent of its calories from dietary fat. It’s still important to limit portions and not add excessive extra fat in recipes.
Ground turkey will add an interesting, new flavor to simple favorites, like burgers. When its seasoned and mixed in recipes like meatloaf, chili, sausage, tacos or spaghetti sauce, your family is unlikely to even notice the difference.
The following recipe is a tasty, turkey version of that old ground beef favorite, Sloppy Joes. For sandwiches, serve it on whole wheat bread, or make it a simple main dish, served over rice or noodles.
Ground Turkey Recipe
In frying pan brown ground turkey and onion. Drain off any fat in pan. Add undiluted soups and spices to meat mixture and simmer over low heat for 45 to 60 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Spoon over buns and serve. This recipe yields 12 sandwiches, each with no more than 10 grams of fat (depending on the fat content of the ground turkey) and about 264 calories.