nutrition

Talk Turkey to Me

I know, I know. I’ve treated you all so poorly these past few months. The drought of nutrition information has been appalling. My posting has been about as frequent and abundant as rain in California. Well, let’s try to rectify that. Like right meoooow.

I have always been more of a boob chick than a big booty lover. Yes, even in the era of this non-stop Kardashian reign. Before you go getting any naughty ideas, I am talking about poultry and not female human beings. Kim – seriously, The Healthy Revival was finally getting interesting…exit screen. 

The funny thing about eating turkey, especially ground turkey, is how misleading it can be in terms of the nutrition. We all know poultry has white and dark meat. The breasts are the white meat of the bird. The dark meat consists of the legs and thighs.  Why the difference? It all has to do with how much the bird uses the muscle. Muscles used more frequently have more myoglobin in them, a compound which enables activity.  Muscles used less, breast and I suppose wings because chickens are flightless birds,  have less myoglobin in them. That’s all you need to freaking know because if I have to launch into a discussion about oxygen right now, I might just stop writing for another 6 months.

People fall prey to cooking with simply ‘ground turkey’. OMG dude, these tacos are amazing! Can’t believe you made them with turkey meat brah. Let’s go post something on Facebook about being healthy. 

So why is ‘ground turkey’ so bad? It is usually made from the dark meat. Let’s compare the dark to white, shall we? Oh. Oh. Oh. We shall! And just to make it MORE informative, I have added 90% lean ground beef to the comparison chart. Nutrition information below was pulled from Self.com nutrition database and Jennie O Poultry websites, based on 4 ounce servings.

Most boring chart ever made and viewed. Created by the talented Kimberly Sabada

Most boring chart ever made and viewed. Created by the talented Kimberly Sabada.

As you can see, ground turkey is much higher in calories and fat compared to ground turkey breast. The ground turkey product above is the 85% lean variation too. Not that impressed now, are we? The ground turkey is comparable to the 90% lean ground beef.  I am not promoting red meat over ground turkey either. I am saying two things: 1) if you’re looking to cut calories and lose a few pounds (which let’s face it, most everyone is) or 2) watching your cholesterol levels – ground turkey breast might be the best option.

Dark meat has plenty to offer. Compared to white meat, it has more B vitamins, iron and zinc. Awesome, if you’re deficient. Yeah, that is about all I got. So the next time someone makes you turkey tacos and you see an 85% lean ground turkey container in their trashcan, I hope you feel like this…

Go eat some ground turkey…breast.

Ground turkey breast recipe coming soon. But honestly, I think we both know better than to get your hopes up. The last post I gave you was 6 months ago. Fingers crossed.

 

Is It Over Yet? Spring Diet Overhaul: 2015

Winter is finally coming to a close. As I write this post St. Patrick’s day is slipping away, meaning one thing, Spring. Even as a dietitian, I can honestly tell you I am sick and tired of eating heavy food. If I consume one more meal with a meat and potato base, I might just turn vegan and say to hell with it.

Much like we turnover our closets come warmer weather, we should also do the same to our diets. Out with the sweaters, in the kale! No more elastic waist sweatpants, football jerseys or perpetual yoga pant wearing. Same can be said for what we consume. It is time to ‘retire’ all the dense, warm foods and bring in the dietary version of jorts. For those of you unaware of the jort fanomon, they are jean shorts. Jean + shorts = jorts. Consider yourself youthanized. See what I did there?

So here I am. To provide you with ideas for ways to get out of eating canned food and back into the produce section!

Spring Diet Overhaul: 2015

From Google Images

From Google Images

1. Fruit

Stop eating apples and oranges. I feel as though my fruit consumption this winter was a math problem your third grade teacher asked you to solve. ‘If you have 4 apples and Brad eats two of them, but then Andrea gives you 3 oranges, how many pieces of fruit do you now have?’ For the love Chiquita Banana, please give me more options! Spring will now provide you with seasonal fruits such as apricots, honeydew, mango, pineapple and strawberries. Dig in!

2. Vegetables

Potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts and parsnips has been the bounty of the winter doldrums. I feel I have reinvented ways to make sweet potatoes 20 times over the past few months. Roasted, mashed, grated, steamed – you name it. My winter vegetable series looked something like Red Robin’s hamburger menu. Sure, you can add different toppings and condiments, but it all starts to taste the same after a while. Good news! Spring vegetables include asparagus, broccoli, snow peas and spinach. These next few months are basically the equivalent of a movie I hope to produce one day, ‘Spring’s Green Latern’. You are welcome Ryan Reynolds for the quasi plug.

From Google Images

From Google Images

Check out local vendors and grocery stores for seasonal proteins in your area. And do not forget to reincorporate whole grains. I know you’ve been living on nothing but sticky white rice, Cocoa Puffs and sourdough bread for the past few months. So get to gettin’! The bounty is here and you needs some vitamins. I mean seriously, your skin could use some help. Believe me, I know. I am pretty sure I look translucent these days and skin flakes the size of quarters are falling off my face.

I’m Bringing Pumpkin Back. Yeah!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought we’d talk a little bit about pumpkin. And seriously, in the season of dry skin, what else is there to discuss as the temperature drops around us. I’m serious, these days my skin looks like I have a serious problem. No lie, I literally Googled ‘itchy arms’ today and went through a slide show titled, ‘The Ten Most Common Skin Rashes’ on WebMD. The good news: I am 95% sure I do not have ring worm. Fingers crossed. PS – when did googled become a verb?

Let’s get back to pumpkin. Boasting ~50 calories per cup (cubed), this little wonder should be a fall/winter staple in your kitchen. While it’s low in calories and fat, it also contains an ample, almost excessive, amount of vitamin A – a key nutrient in maintaining healthy skin, teeth, bone, retina and soft tissue. It is found in vegetables and fruits in the form of pro-vitamin A, beta carotene. If you did not know, beta carotene is an antioxidant crucial in protecting cells from damage.

For more benefits of the beautiful of pumpkin, click here.

In the meantime, here is one mean pumpkin recipe sure to provide you with warm comfort food during the week or please your Thanksgiving Day (Vegetarian) crowd.

Kale, Pumpkin and Chickpea Skillet

Serves 4-6 (entree)

1 bunch of kale, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh pumpkin
1 can chickpeas, partially drained
1 small jalapeño, minced*
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Olive oil
Juice from 1/2 Lemon

Heat a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, add chickpeas and simmer for ~10 minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed. Add minced jalapano and continue to sautee until liquid is gone and pepper is slightly cooked.

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LRN

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LRN

Meanwhile, in a duct oven, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add pumpkin and continue sauté for ~15 minutes until pumpkin is fork tender.

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Stir in kale and garlic cook for another 3 minutes until kale has wilted and garlic is fragrant, but not browned.

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Remove from heat. Fold in chickpeas, walnut, parmesan and lemon juice.

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Plate and serve!

Recipe Notes:

Jalapeño – I kept 1/2 the seeds from the pepper, feel free to adjust seed amount. The more seeds, the hotter this dish.