7 Ways to Gobble Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

7 Healthy Ways to Gobble Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

Enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers with these healthy ways to remake the fall fowl favorite.


It’s no secret that Thanksgiving will leave many of us stuffed. To get your waistline back on track, add fresh, low calorie ingredients (salad greens, cucumbers, peppers, citrus) to balance the high-calorie ingredients in the leftovers.


Turkey Lettuce Wrap

On carb overload from all the rolls?  Instead, roll up leftover poultry in green leaves, such as romaine lettuce.  For the filling, shred turkey breast and then add in barbecue sauce or a low sugar variety such as Drew’s Coconut Sesame or Classic Italian Dressing.  Mix the turkey with cooked brown rice, then add slices, cucumbers, and peppers to get your low-fat protein fix, with fiber, potassium and whole grain.


Eggs, Turkey Side Up

To mix things up, try eating turkey at breakfast.  For a bird breakfast, make hash by combining chopped turkey, onion and garlic. Saute and mix with scrambled eggs for a low-carb, high protein meal.


Lunch Salad

Here’s another lunch option for which you’ll need to grab a fork.  Pair leftover turkey with a leafy green salad.  Add carrots, tomatoes and any other healthy plant-based foods you might put in a salad typically topped by chicken.  This would be a great way to increase your fiber intake that can decrease hunger by slowing digestion, and it helps with weight control.


One Pot Wonders

You don’t have to be a chef to make food flavorful again.  Mix leftover turkey, beans, grains , green beans and other veggies with marinara sauce, pesto, tahini, balsamic vinaigrette or low sodium soy sauce.  One product that I highly recommend that has half of the sodium than traditional soy sauce is Coconut Aminos.  Try different sauces to endlessly vary the taste of these basic ingredients.


Turkey Tetrazzini

You can make an easy, healthy tetrazzini, by using wheat pasta, mushrooms and vegetables. Toss in some peas, finely chopped black olives, carrots, green or red bell pepper, zucchini and broccoli, and do all the cooking in one saucepan to save time and dishes.  Thin out leftover gravy with low-sodium broth to create a flavorful sauce.  This well-balanced meal combines protein and complex carbohydrates, and the sauce is lighter than traditional gravy.

Homemade Stock

Don’t throw out the turkey carcass.  Bones can be the beginnings of some of the greatest tasting stock. The stock can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days or frozen up to three months and used for everything from making soups and cooking whole grains to poaching fish.


Turkey Trimmings

You’d never eat turkey by itself on Thanksgiving-and some, including vegan and vegetarian holiday observers, don’t eat it at all.  Give plant based sides their due.  Roast leftover veggies. Or make salsa, combining leftover cooked veggies with chopped toasted pecans, diced onion, pomegranate seeds and sriracha or chili powder to taste. Top leftover turkey or scrambled eggs for a light, low-calorie meal.  For a nutritious twist, combine leftover sweet potatoes, squash and veggies with beans and spices to make sweet potato chili.  Delicious!


You can find all of the added ingredients needed here at Fresh & Natural Foods.  Enjoy your leftovers!


Author: Michelle Hanson

Michelle Hanson, MA, RD, LD is Fresh & Natural Food’s Registered Dietitian. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics with a minor in Community Health from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She is a registered dietitian and current member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Michelle has been a nutrition consultant for numerous years as well as a nutrition research director at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Michelle is passionate about food and nutrition and believes in helping people find simple, realistic ways to make healthy eating a part of their everyday lifestyle.
If you are interested in meeting Michelle or have questions for her, you can email her at: michelle@fnfoods.com. She will look forward to meeting you!