Thanksgiving tip #6 – The main event: Keep the turkey trim

It’s the pièce de résistance.  It’s the star of the dinner table. It’s the turkey.

We love this lean meat, and we’re not alone.

The National Turkey Federation says that nearly 88 percent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds, meaning that Americans gobbled up approximately 736 million pounds of turkey last year.

About 315 million people reside in the United States. Rough math brings turkey consumption to more than 2.3 pounds per person.

Consider cuts carefully

Despite that massive quantity, skinless turkey breast is one of the leanest proteins. Check out this chart of how turkey stacks up against other meats in calories and fat.  

We can’t complain too much about a roasted turkey. Just one word for the wise: Dark meat and skin contain much more saturated fat than white meat. So be judicious with your selections.

For example, a wing with skin contains 256 calories and 4 grams of saturated fat compared to white meat with skin that has 185 calories and 1.4 grams of saturated fat.

Gut your gravy

If turkey is the hero in this Thanksgiving meal, then its loveable, but trouble-causing sidekick is the gravy. Canned gravy is so high in sodium the ocean would cringe. And homemade gravy made from turkey drippings might be THE unhealthiest food.

Yet there surely would be a revolt at your table if you left the turkey dry. So here’s a trick: Use a gravy cup or other pan juice holder to put the fat in the freezer for five minutes.

The fat will harden and rise to the top so you can skim it off before making the gravy. This will save you between 700 to 900 calories per cup. Happy eating!