Yes, it’s true that a Thanksgiving meal can often top the 3,000 calorie mark, but that doesn’t mean your love of turkey is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, if your meal primarily consisted of turkey, you’re probably better off post-Thanksgiving than many other people who load up on side dishes.
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According to the USDA National Nutrient database, 3 ounces (85 grams) of leftover turkey, breast, from whole bird, non-enhanced, meat only, roasted, contains 125 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrate (0 grams of sugar and 0 grams of fiber) and 26 grams of protein. People who eat more leftover turkey feel fuller, longer, compared to people who focus on the “extras” at Thanksgiving.
Medical News Today indicates that turkey is also a good source of vitamins B-6 and B-12, niacin, choline, selenium and zinc, though dark meat turkey has higher levels of these vitamins compared to breast meat. The nutrients in turkey go towards thyroid function, healthy bones and teeth, immunity, red blood cell production, and brain development in fetuses if a woman is pregnant.
And what about that tryptophan, the substance in leftover turkey that everyone thinks puts them to sleep after a big meal? As it turns out, the levels of tryptophan in turkey are no greater than they are in any other meat–and all meat contains tryptophan. In fact, the body relies on mealtime to get it’s necessary tryptophan doses. This substance is an amino acid, and Psychology Today indicates it may be an important factor in human mood. According to research, taking tryptophan can affect human social behavior, decreasing aggression, irritability and quarrelsomeness. Unforunately, due to the “sleepy” reputation it has gotten, tryptophan has been largely avoided by the public.
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So, when it comes to those holiday leftovers, don’t feel shy about having more turkey. It’s all the meal additions that make Thanksgiving so diet-destroying. Have a nice leftover turkey sandwich with some lettuce and tomato and call it a healthy meal.
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