Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The lean protein that can help save you from the holiday spread in 2010

(ARA) - If feasting on holiday spreads has left your waistline experiencing some spreading of its own, you may feel more committed than ever to keeping that New Year's resolution to live a healthier lifestyle. And you're probably looking for ways to make it as easy as possible.

You're not alone in wanting to do something for your health. More than half of Los Angeleans - generally perceived to be some of the healthiest people in America - want to lose between 10 and 50 pounds in 2010, according to a recent survey by Kelton Research, conducted on behalf of Jennie-O Turkey Store. Making changes that are good for your health seems to be on everyone's mind.

The turn of a new year is a great time to make some good-for-you changes like exercising more, getting better sleep and managing stress. It's actually simple - although not always easy - to keep your positive resolutions. Here's some practical advice:

When it comes to exercise, be sure to set realistic goals for yourself and remember that even the smallest incremental step is an improvement. For example, don't require yourself to begin jogging five miles every morning right away, especially if you've been pretty sedentary until now. Instead, start out with simple steps like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking at the far end of the lot, and spending at least 10 minutes of your lunch hour taking a brisk walk instead of surfing the Internet.

Commit to getting better sleep by giving up just one half hour of television a night. Instead of staying up for late shows, hit the sack 30 minutes earlier and you'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel in a short time. Realize that managing stress is also an important part of your overall health goals. Explore techniques that have proven to work for others - from yoga to running to reading - and find what's right for you. Engage in some stress-relieving activity every day, even if it's something as simple as walking your dog or playing with the cat.

But without improving your diet as well, any resolution to improve your health will fall short of success. When it comes to eating better, replacing higher fat meats like beef with lean protein like turkey is an easy, flavorful way to improve your diet without making yourself feel deprived. "Ground turkey is especially versatile and, with a few simple tweaks, can replace higher fat ground beef in virtually any recipe," notes Devin Alexander, host of Discovery Health's program "Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander," and author of "The Biggest Loser Cookbook." "Turkey is a lean protein that easily replaces beef to create fulfilling, full flavor dishes. Adding turkey to your diet can help you reduce fat without feeling like you're giving anything up. You can still have that burger with all the fixins - just make it a turkey burger!"

For those watching what they eat, turkey is a satisfying, lighter dish. In fact, 40 percent of those polled in the Kelton survey say turkey is a lean meat that has helped them with their weight-loss efforts. Advantages of cooking with ground turkey include:

* Turkey is naturally leaner than beef while still packing in the protein.
* The delicate flavor of turkey will not overpower any dish you use it in.
* Turkey can be a more satisfying alternative than non-meat protein substitutes like tofu.
* In many cases, turkey products cost less than other proteins.

Jennie-O Turkey Store has partnered with Chef Alexander to share special, signature recipes that help you create lean, healthy meals that are full of flavor. These nutritious recipes are part of Jennie-O Turkey Store's "30 Days/30 Ways" program, which offers hundreds of recipes with turkey that will help improve your diet.

Here is a sample of one of the "30 Days/30 Ways" turkey recipes you'll find on

Turkey Enchilada Soup


Olive oil spray
1 package (20 ounces) Jennie-O extra lean ground turkey breast
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon salt-free Mexican or Southwest seasoning
1-1/4 cups uncooked instant brown rice
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (no more than 100 mg sodium per cup)
2 cups mild red enchilada sauce
14-1/2 ounce can, no salt-added, diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chipotle queso (all-natural, if possible; salsa con queso will work as a second option)
1-1/2 cups rinsed and drained, 50 percent less-sodium black beans
6 lime wedges, divided
6 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
24 baked tortilla chips, divided

Place a large nonstick soup pot over medium-high heat. Lightly mist the pot with olive oil spray and add the turkey, onion and garlic. Sprinkle the Mexican seasoning over the turkey mixture, then cook the mixture, breaking the turkey into large chunks as it cooks, until no longer pink, about five to seven minutes. Add the rice, broth, enchilada sauce, and tomatoes. Turn the heat to high, cover the soup and bring it to a boil. When the soup reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer it for 20 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked.

Stir in the cheese sauce. Continue cooking for an additional 20 minutes, uncovered, or until the soup begins to thicken slightly. Stir in the black beans and continue cooking until they are just warmed through.

Divide the soup among six serving bowls (about 2 cups per bowl). Squeeze the juice of one lime wedge over each bowl, then top each bowl with 1 teaspoon of the cilantro. Using your hands, break four chips over each bowl of soup. Serve immediately.

Makes six 2-cup servings. Each serving has 340 calories, 31 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, trace amounts of saturated fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 787 mg sodium.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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