Many of your favourite holiday foods are stuffed with nutrition. After Christmas dinner, the reason you find yourself slumped on the sofa watching Elf for the third time this season is plain and simple: you overate. Walk away from the table this Christmas feeling satisfied with energy. Plan your meals with nutrition and portion control, allowing yourself an indulgent, like a glass of red wine or a few of your favourite Christmas cookies.
Now let’s talk turkey. This bird is full of nutrition! I love the variety of both white and dark meat at one meal. Did you know we (Canadians and Americans) view turkey as a festive food and not an everyday food? I’m featuring turkey as my last 2013 Grow with Nutrition Blog topic because it has the leading role in the Christmas dinner, plus it makes a great choice to include in your 2014 weekly meal plans!
Turkey breast is an excellent source of vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B12, and a good source of selenium, which is a mineral that has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
This table for a great comparison of both white and dark meat (no skin):
Protein , Selenium and Vitamin B12 Benefits
- We know how important it is to include protein foods at all meals (breakfast, lunch and supper) for balance and satiety (feeling of fullness). In addition to weight management and muscle building, protein has been shown to have positive effects on bone health (1). Increasing protein throughout the day (not overloading at supper) adds bone builders that help boost bone mineral density. This can decrease the risk for osteoporosis. Check out the turkey sandwich recipe at the end of this post – perfect for either breakfast or lunch!
- Selenium is a hot topic in nutrition circles. It is an essential micronutrient and it’s important for immunity, brain and heart health (2). Adults need 55µg/day of selenium. Turkey is a great choice with a 100 gram serving containing 15µg (white meat) and 12µg (dark meat).
- Vitamin B12 is beneficial for many health states. Getting enough vitamin B12 has shown positive effects in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and age related macular degeneration (3). Adults need 2.4µg/day of vitamin B12. Turkey is a good option with a 100 gram serving containing 0.9µg (white meat) and 2µg (dark meat).
The Turkey Leftovers and Recipe
After the holiday meal of enjoying and not overeating, immediately divide the leftover turkey for your recipes. Did you have a favourite recipe? My top three leftover meals are pulled turkey bbq on a bun with grainy mustard, tomatoes and lettuce; turkey, barley and vegetable soup and turkey pot pies. Always save some sliced turkey to garnish salads and to add to this delicious turkey, apple and cheddar cheese sandwich recipe from marthastewart.com.
Thank you for a great 2013 and Happy Holidays! I look forward to sharing more Grow with Nutrition with you in 2014.
- Darling AL, Millward DJ, Torgerson DJ, Hewitt CE, Lanham-New SA. Dietary protein and bone health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90:1674–92.
- Rayman MP. Selenium and human health. The Lancet. 2012;379(9822):1256-68 [published online cited 2013 Dec 12].
- O’Leary F, and Samman S. Vitamin B12 in health and disease. Nutrients. 2010;2(3):299-316 [cited 2013 Dec 12].