Talk Turkey: How This Lean Meat Helps You Build Mass

turkeyMaybe you already know that lean meat is a leading choice for dietary protein in many a fitness-focused diet—protein that our bodies can use as we build muscle and strength.

Top choices for high-protein foods are usually lean beef, chicken breast and broiled fish. Now that it’s November, let’s talk turkey, a great ingredient beyond the carving platter.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most impressive stats to consider when choosing turkey for one of your protein sources from meat. If you’re trying to build muscle mass, you’re going to be impressed with the low calories and fat of white meat turkey in comparison to its powerful protein content.

We’ve also included a simple chili recipe to remind you that not only is turkey a nutritional powerhouse, it tastes great, too!

Counting calories: For comparison, three ounces of trimmed lean beef tenderloins costs you 144 calories, the equivalent portion size of skinless turkey breast brings you 120, and a three-ounce serving of boneless, skinless chicken breast weighs in at 105 calories. If you choose ground white meat turkey (99% fat free), you’ll take in only 98 calories.

Packed with protein: A three-ounce serving of boneless, skinless turkey breast contains 26 grams of protein. Three ounces of ground white meat turkey (99% fat free) brings 20 grams of protein while the same sized serving of trimmed lean beef tenderloin or plain chicken breast offers about 18.

Almost no fat: Skinless turkey breast contains one gram of total fat and no saturated fat per three ounce serving, which is less than the same sized serving of boneless, skinless chicken breast or beef tenderloin, which both offer about 3 grams of fat.

Low in sodium and cholesterol: For these same portions of turkey, chicken and beef, you’ll consume very low sodium and dietary cholesterol per serving, with turkey just edging out the other two with slightly lower numbers.

The vitamins and minerals in turkey pack a serious, punch, too: Turkey has lots of B vitamins, is a good source of potassium, and an excellent source of selenium, an antioxidant that supports thyroid and metabolism.

If you’re working on getting fit this fall, but don’t want to give up your Sunday football feasts, try substituting ground turkey (look for the 99% fat free variety) in this hearty chili recipe—all this with the beans makes for a potent, flavor-packed high-protein meal.

Turkey Chili

Serves 4 – 6


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil (just a drizzle)
  • 1 pound ground turkey (99% or 93% lean)
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 (28 ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can canned dark red kidney beans – drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place turkey in the pot, and cook until golden. Stir in onion, and cook until tender and browned.
  2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in tomatoes, jalapeno and kidney beans. Season with garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

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