In the United States alone, 250,000,000 turkeys are raised for consumption per year. Plus, though turkeys are not native to Australia, Australians still consume an average of 1.7 kilograms of turkey meat per year!

[If you're just in it for some tasty Phase 2 turkey recipes, click here!]

Most turkeys are made up of about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat. Though dark meat contains more vitamins and minerals, it also contains more fat and calories, while white meat is slightly higher in protein.

A three ounce serving of white turkey meat will contain 135 calories, 3.26 g of fat, and 24.7 g of protein, while the same segment of dark meat will contain 173 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 23 grams of protein.

Both kinds of turkey are zero-carbohydrate foods, meaning that it has a glycemic index of zero and will help slow down your body's absorption of any carbs you might consume with it. Turkey is also also pretty low in saturated fat and lower in cholesterol than pork, beef, or even chicken!

Either choice amounts to about half your daily value of protein, which your body needs to build and maintain lean muscle mass as well as perform other important physical functions, so pre-Thanksgiving-feast is a great time for a gym run!

A serving of turkey will also provide you with about 61 percent of your daily value of niacin, 49 percent of your vitamin B6, and 29 percent of your vitamin B12. It also provides you with 12 percent of your daily value of choline, an amino-acid like nutrient that is necessary for the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

On the mineral side, turkey will offer 46 percent of your daily value of selenium, 18 percent of your phosphorous, and 12 percent of your zinc, along with trace amounts of electrolytes magnesium and potassium. It also contains 26 percent of your recommended sodium, so take it easy with the added salt!

Turkey is also notorious for containing the amino acid tryptophan, though it actually contains less than nuts, cheese, and beef, so you can't blame your food coma on turkey alone! However, the nutrient does play a role in producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can make you feel more relaxed. Tryptophan is also thought to play a role in boosting the immune system!

If you can, go for a pasture-raised or organic turkey, which are likely to contain more omega-3 fatty acid and other nutrients, having eaten a more diverse diet, and to be free of dangerous antibiotics.

However, be sure to avoid proccessed varieties of turkey, which can be high in sodium and carcinogens like nitrites. You should also do away with the fatty skin and enjoy your turkey with one of our yummy low-cal sauces rather than a sugar-laden dressing or marinade.

As for how turkey became the revered Thanksgiving food that it is today? We're not not sure if it was served on the historical first "Thanksgiving," since all records of the feast refer to fowl rather than turkey, but a letter written by pilgrim Edward Winslow suggests that a turkey hunting trip may have happened close to the big meal.

So the real reasons turkey nabbed the Thanksgiving feast spotlight may be more practical ones. They're big enough to feed a whole family, as opposed to the smaller chickens, and more expendable for a farm since you wouldn't be losing the eggs a chicken lays or the milk provided by a cow if you slaughtered one. Yet turkeys weren't so popular as pork, and thus a better fit for a special holiday meal.

Turkey's reputation a special holiday food may also have been cemented by widely read books like Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol or Sarah Joseph Hale's Northwood.

Or, our nation may have adopted the preferences of Abraham Lincoln, the president who made Thanksgiving an official holiday after the Civil War and who fancied turkey as his Thanksgiving meal of choice. Since turkeys remain affordable and abundant, there was never any reason to change it up!

Though Thanksgiving is not as commonly celebrated in Australia, it tends to be celebrated on the last Wednesday in November in the territory of Norfolk island, where it was brought over from whaling ships. Some other Australians have picked up the Thanksgiving habit from Americans living abroad.

The three 123Diet-friendly turkey recipes below may be right up your alley if you're in the mood for a more unconventional feast this year, a good, healthy use for your leftovers after the big day, or a an easy and yummy lunch or dinner option any time at all!

123Diet Turkey Bruschetta


Give your turkey an italian spin with this healthy recipe! Estimated nutritional value of 146 calories, 2.1 g fat, 43 mg cholesterol, 13.4 g carbohydrates, 2.9 g fiber, 19.1 g protein, and 8.4 g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
15 minutes
Makes 1 serving (1 protein)


  • 100 grams turkey breast
  • 1 large ripened tomato (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 basil leaves (chopped)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper

Sprinkle turkey with italian seasoning, garlic, and onion powder. Grill the turkey until done. Let stand for three to five minutes. Combine tomato, garlic, and basil. Stir until well-mixed. Place turkey on a plate. Spread bruschetta tomato mixture on top of turkey. Use sea salt and pepper to taste.

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Turkey Steamboat

Turkey steamboat

This epic turkey recipe will help you get all your veggies in! Estimated nutritional value of 258 calories, 16.2g, 95 mg cholesterol, 12.7g carbohydrate, 3.1g fiber, 15.6 protein, and 2.9g sugar.

Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook time
2 hours
10 servings


Roast turkey winglets on a wire rack in the oven for 30 min. Remove from oven,then peel off skin. Put a 5L pot of water on the stove and add the winglets. Add ginger, garlic, pepper corns, rock salt, and massel chicken stock. Let this all simmer for 1 and a half hours or until the turkey meat falls of the bones, making sure to top up water in the pot. As it evaporates, remove bones, then remove all turkey meat from the bones, making sure meat is in bit size pieces. Then, add these pieces back in to pot. This is your stock for your steam boat. Now, add onions, chopped celery, diced cabbage, silver beet, and kale. Simmer until cabbage is cooked, serve with konjac noodles.

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Turkey Burger With Chickpea Bread


This turkey concoction gives you all the fun of a burger with none of the guilt! Estimated nutritional value of 214 calories, 5.2 g fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 25.8 g carbohydrates, 7.2g fiber, 17.8 protein, and 6.9g sugar.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook time
20 minutes
1 serving

Ingredients (Chickpea Bread)

  • 20g chickpea flour
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh oregano
  • Enough water to blend into a batter
  • Ingredients (Turkey Burger)

  • 30g turkey
  • 1 red onion diced finely
  • 10g parmesan cheese
  • Mixed herbs
  • Garlic
  • Onion salt
  • Pepper

Directions (Chickpea Bread)
Using baking paper, lined frying pan, or pancake maker, divide mixture to form 2 small pancakes, spreading out mixture with knife. Allow to cook through on low heat. No need to flip.

Directions (Turkey Burger)
Cook onion first, then add to mince and spices. In a separate bowl, crack whole egg and spoon a little egg white into mince mix to help combine to firm patty. Cook patty turning over gently, cook left over whole egg. Assemble burger with sliced tomato and 10g Parmesan cheese.

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