It’s been said the average American eats an extra 3,500 calories at the annual Thanksgiving meal. For those of you who do not know, 3,500 calories is equivalent to 1 pound of fat. No wonder Thanksgiving is considered the unhealthiest meal of the year. Fear not, I’m here to show you how to your use leftover Thanksgiving turkey to build muscle and burn fat!

The Thanksgiving feast is amongst us again. When people think of this time of year, they think of heavy fat-laden meals followed by additional pounds on the scale. Now you can blame stuffing, mashed potatoes with loads of butter and gravy, and pumpkin pie for that, but leave the turkey out of it! Turkey is one of the staple foods of any fat loss program. Besides the fact it is mostly lean protein, it’s one of those foods people don’t mind eating cold which gives it an extra convenience factor as well. Just be sure to remove the skin to cut back on the fat calories.

So why is protein so important? For starters, protein is the building block for lean muscle tissue. The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism or fat burning power. Individuals who perform strength training activities have a higher protein need than couch potatoes. It is recommended that protein should be consumed in adequate amounts every 2-4 hours to ensure the repair process of the damaged muscles from training. Protein is also the least likely macronutrient to be stored as body fat. The thermic effect of digesting protein is about twice the energy to digest carbohydrates and about six times that of dietary fat. So if there is any food choice that you can truly get away with overeating this holiday season, it will be turkey.

Another key benefit to eating turkey is that it is easy to prepare in bulk and thus will save you much needed time in meal planning and preparation during the busy holiday season. You can roast a big old turkey and then have tons of meal options for days. Just think of what you can do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers! To inspire your turkey consumption efforts I’ve put together some awesome better body recipes that you can create with turkey as your lean protein foundation. Enjoy!

Turkey Salad

Ingredients:

6-8 oz. Turkey Breast chopped into small cubes, 1/4 red bell pepper, 1/4 green bell pepper, 1/4 red onion, 2 Tbsp canola or olive oil, mayo.

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy over a bed of greens.

Makes one –¬†two servings.

Turkey Cranberry Cream Cheese Roll-up

Ingredients:

6-8 oz. Sliced Turkey, 1 Tbsp Fat Free Cream Cheese, 1 Tbsp Dried Cranberries, 1/2 Clove of Roasted Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste, 2 Whole Grain Tortillas.

Directions:

Soak cranberries in water for 20 minutes or microwave until soft if you are short on time. Mash the 1/2 clove of garlic. Mix cranberries, garlic, and cream cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture into the inside of the tortilla(s). Add turkey breast. Fold up sides, roll up, and enjoy!

Makes one – two servings.

Turkey Medallions With Cranberry Glaze

Turkey Medallions: 6-8 oz. Turkey, Non-stick spray, Turkey Seasoning

Cut Turkey Breasts into small medallions, sprinkle lightly with seasoning. Reheat in a pan sprayed with non-stick oil on medium heat until lightly browned on both sides. Drip Cranberry glaze (below) over the medallions.

Cranberry Glaze: 1 Cups Dry white wine, Turkey or chicken stock, as needed 1 1/2 Cups Dried cranberries, 1/4 Cup of Pine nuts, toasted; Pinch of Salt.

Add 1/2 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup of turkey stock to pan. Add other 1/2 cup of turkey stock, cranberries, pine nuts and pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until reduced in volume by half, about 4 cups.

Makes one – two servings.

Turkey Shepherds Pie

Ingredients:

2 cups cubed cooked turkey, 3/4 cup turkey gravy, 1 small can whole kernel corn drained, 1 cup of chicken stock, 1 cup of water, 3 cups steamed cauliflower, 2 cups celery, chopped; 2 cups carrots chopped, 1 onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic minced; 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped; Salt and pepper.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. First you must make the gravy. Take the garlic, 1 cup of celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, chicken stock, water, vegetables, salt and pepper to taste. Add to a pot, boil until vegetables are soft and blend in a blender or food processor.

Next, you will take the steamed cauliflower and mash it, or place it in a food processor until the consistency is like that of mashed potatoes.

Next, in a baking dish, layer the turkey, gravy, corn, remaining celery and mashed cauliflower. Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Makes up to three servings.

Turkey Florentine

Ingredients:

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, 2 tablespoons smart butter, 1 cup cooked whole grain fettuccine, 2 cups diced, cooked turkey; 1 cup turkey or chicken stock, 1 (8 ounce) package fat free sour cream and onion dip; 1/2 teaspoon onion salt, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, Non-stick cooking spray.

Directions:

Cook spinach according to package directions; drain. Stir in smart butter. Place noodles in a non-stick sprayed baking dish; top with spinach. Combine turkey, stock, onion dip and onion salt and spoon over spinach. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake, uncovered , at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Turkey Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

1 bag of frozen green beans, 6-8 oz. of cubed cooked turkey breast, 1 can of organic cream of mushroom soup, 2 cups Kraft all natural fat free cheese, Salt and Pepper to taste.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients into a casserole dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until completely hot. Makes up to two servings.

Author: Blair Baxter