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Ground Turkey Meal Prep Recipes and How-To's by ThinkFit

Ground Turkey Meal Prep Recipes and How-To's by ThinkFit

4th Sep 2019

In recent years, ground turkey meal prep has become a popular topic among a variety of crowds. It’s great for bodybuilding, weight loss, and many other nutrition factors. High in protein and low in cholesterol and fat, it’s no wonder this ingredient is favored by so many.

What’s so good about it?

For starters, it’s a great alternative for ground beef. Beef is high in saturated fat, which increases the level of cholesterol in your blood. In turn, this increases your risk for heart disease and strokes.

Additionally, beef is bad for the environment. Forests are plowed down in order to raise livestock. Cows also produce methane, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and thus, climate change.

Store-bought lean meat is perfect for ground turkey meal prep and high in protein

Although beef is high in protein, turkey is also high in protein, which makes ground turkey meal prep for bodybuilding a popular thing for people looking to build a bit of muscle mass.

Ground turkey is high in lean protein like regular protein, but you don’t have all the downsides that might come with it, such as saturated fat and cholesterol.

It also has high amounts of vitamin B-6, which is important for brain and nervous system health, as well as vitamin B-12, which helps red blood cell formation.

Why meal prep it?

For starters, ground turkey lasts really long. To be precise, it can last up to 4 months in the freezer. If you’ve turned to meal prepping due to how it fits into your busy schedule, this is an additional plus. If you buy in bulk, you’ll have enough ground turkey to last you much longer than a week.

On top of that, ground turkey is easy to cook. When preparing it, there’s no need to de-bone or skin the meat. You can also make batches of it all at once. It comes ready to make, straight from the container to the stove. The only prep you’ll need to do is to defrost the ground turkey if you’re taking it out from the freezer.

Ground turkey meal prep is delicious and easy to take on the go.

Ground turkey is also great for taking on the go. It pairs well with whatever side you could want; from sweet potatoes to cauliflower, ground turkey tastes delicious with anything. Additionally, it’s easy to microwave in the workplace, since the smell won’t be strong, like fish. If you’re looking for an easy way to take it with you to work, try our meal prep bags.

Okay, but how will ground turkey help me lose weight?

It’s no surprise that one of the most commonly searched diet related terms on Google is ground turkey meal prep weight loss. Why is that?

It’s the protein! When you eat protein, it keeps your body full for longer, eliminating the urge to eat more. Protein also helps take the place of carbs and fats in food, two things that cause you to gain weight. With these benefits, it’s no wonder ground turkey meal prep for weight loss has become increasingly popular.

Ground turkey also helps to boost your metabolism. Choline, a chemical that boosts your metabolism, is found in ground turkey. Choline also helps to regulate your muscle control, memory and mood.

What if I’m looking to build muscle mass?

Ground turkey meal prep can help you build muscle as you work out at the gym

Ground turkey is good for bodybuilding, too. Protein contains amino acids, which is essential when it comes to muscle rebuilding and repair. When you lose weight, you lose both fat and muscle mass. With protein, you’ll burn the fat while still holding on to the muscle that you worked so hard for. This makes it a staple in your refrigerator for all your ground turkey meal prep bodybuilding needs.

However, not all types of ground turkey are made equally. If you’ve ever spent time shopping in the meat section of the grocery store, you may have noticed that there are different types of ground turkey. There’s both white and dark meat, as well as patties and sausages.

On top of that, there’s fresh and frozen, and different options such as 80/20, 93/7, and 99% lean. With all these endless options, it may be a bit difficult to pick the best type of ground turkey.

What’s the difference between these options?

Well, it’s all in what makes them up.

Take the 93/7 option, for example. This pack of fresh ground turkey consists of both white and dark turkey meat. It also contains both the meat and the skin. This means that it will contain more calories and fat than the all-white version. If you’re looking to use ground turkey to meal prep for weight loss, it’s best to avoid this type of ground turkey.

What about frozen ground turkey?

We understand the convenience of a pre-made turkey burger or turkey sausage, but these are unhealthier than any pack of 93/7 or 80/20 ground turkey. Why? Frozen ground turkey is almost always made up of only dark meat, meaning that it doesn’t really have all the health benefits of fresh ground turkey.

Ground turkey isn't as nutritious as fresh ground turkey.

Additionally, frozen turkey can contain all types of additives and preservatives that you may be trying to avoid. This is why it’s important to look closely at the ingredient list when purchasing. When it comes to meat, fresh is best.

With all this information, we know there’s only one thing on your mind:

What’s the best type of ground turkey?

If by best, you mean the healthiest option, it’s the 99% lean ground turkey. Since it’s made up of white meat alone, this option lacks the extra calories and fat that exists in the other options.

However, it’s important to keep in mind what the recipe you’re using asks for. If it tells you to use ground turkey with a bit more fat, it’s best to follow what it says.

The one downside of lean ground turkey? It can be a bit dry when it’s cooked. However, this is an easy fix; simply add a teaspoon of olive oil, or any other healthy oil of your choice.

Due to the lack of fat in lean ground turkey, people often complain about how it lacks flavor. Have you ever been so excited for the turkey at Thanksgiving, just to be disappointed by how dry and flavorless it is? We’ve all been there.

How do you make ground turkey flavorful?

Seasoning, of course!

Seasoning is a great way to enhance ground turkey meal prep by adding variety and deep flavors

A common mistake people make when cooking ground turkey is that they don’t add a proper amount of spices. Before preparing it, make sure to add a good amount of salt and pepper. A pinch will not do; sprinkle it!

Don’t stop there, though. If you’re looking for actual flavor, look for different herbs and spices that will really elevate your meal. Things like rosemary, thyme, and oregano can help you create a really rich meal from what seems like an ordinary ingredient. Don’t be afraid to go crazy (well, not too crazy) when seasoning your meal. Food isn’t meant to be boring.

There are a few other common mistakes people make, such as handling the meat too much and overcooking, that can cause detriment to the taste of the food. If you’re afraid of butchering your ground turkey, The Kitchn has some great tips on how to make sure your ground turkey tastes amazing.

What’s the difference in price between ground turkey and other protein sources?

Compared to ground beef, which is an average of $6.50 per pound, ground turkey is cheaper, ringing in at about $5.50 per pound. Since white meat is all around more expensive than dark meat, the price may be a bit more, depending on how much dark meat is in the turkey you buy.

As for protein that’s cheaper than ground turkey, bone-in chicken thighs are only $3 per pound. While this may seem like a steal, bone-in chicken has a higher fat content because it’s dark meat. Additionally, they have less breast meat than regular chicken and you are paying for the bones!

At around $4 per pound, pork chops are another protein option that are cheaper than ground turkey. Pork tends to be high in cholesterol and saturated fat, so the extra dollar and a half are definitely worth spending if it means looking out for your health.

Let’s get onto the ground turkey recipes.

Breakfast:

A Southwest Turkey and Egg Breakfast Skillet is an easy way to enjoy ground turkey meal prep in the morning

First up, we have this Southwest Turkey and Egg Breakfast Skillet. This recipe combines chili powder and paprika for a smoky, spicy breakfast that’s sure to wake you up. This skillet contains no wheat, making it the perfect ground turkey meal prep recipe that’s low carb. Additionally, the recipe uses ingredients you probably already have at home, such as eggs, salsa, and onions, meaning you won’t have to run to the store to complete this meal.

Sweet potatoes are a tasteful pairing when accompanied with ground turkey meal prep recipes

Next is this delicious Sweet Potato Breakfast Meal Prep recipe. Flavorful sweet potatoes make a great pair to ground turkey in this nutritious breakfast. The sweet potatoes along with the fluffy eggs make this breakfast worth waking up for. Add in tomatoes and bell peppers to make this meal even more heavenly.

Lunch:

There’s no need to order takeout when you have this Korean Turkey Meal Prep recipe. Clocking in at under 400 calories, this recipe utilizes garlic and ginger, alongside honey and red pepper flakes, to create a truly flavorful experience. Add broccoli, or any vegetable of your choice, to make it even healthier. Feel free to serve over rice, noodles, or quinoa to keep you full until dinner.

Meatballs soaked in buffalo sauce is a savory take on a ground turkey meal prep lunch

These Buffalo Turkey Meatballs taste as good as any buffalo chicken recipe, yet it’s a lot healthier. Rather than using mayonnaise for the buffalo sauce, this recipe swaps it out for Greek yogurt. The result? A creamy, delicious sauce that pairs well with these homemade meatballs. Serve with a side of salad for the ultimate meal prep lunch.

Dinner:

Turkey chili is a hearty, warm dish that can be easily prepared and stored

This 25-Minute Turkey Chili recipe is perfect for those nights where you just want to curl up and get comfy on the couch. This chili uses all the regular ingredients that are in every other chili, except the turkey makes it more guilt-free. Plus, you really can’t go wrong with a classic.

If you’re looking to get a bit more adventurous, try these Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps. Made with peanut sauce and Thai red curry paste, this recipe transcends any regular lettuce wrap you’ve ever had. If you think it can’t get any better, they only take a total of 25 minutes to make!

Cauliflower is a great low-calorie addition to any ground turkey meal prep dinner

This Garlic Butter Ground Turkey with Cauliflower meal is the absolute definition of healthy and tasty. This one skillet recipe brings together garlic, red pepper flakes and healthy cauliflower to create a meal you can truly indulge in.

To finish off, we have five simple tips that will help you when you prep ground turkey:

1. Pay attention to the sell-by date.

If you’re not going to cook the turkey by the sell-by date on the package, make sure to store it in the freezer. Ground turkey only lasts 3-4 days in the fridge. Ground turkey can last in the freezer for 3-4 months, so if you’re not sure what you’re going to do with it after purchasing, it’s best to just stick it in the freezer.

2. Handle with care.

If you’re going to be making meatballs, burgers or anything else from your ground turkey, make sure to handle it softly, like it’s an egg that could crack at any second. If you manhandle your meat, it may turn out too tough to eat from overworking.

3. Don’t overcook or undercook.

Ground turkey isn’t forgiving like other types of meat; when overcooked, it turns dry and crumbly, making it difficult to eat. Make sure not to undercook it, either, Unlike beef, you can’t have a medium rare ground turkey burger. The turkey should take around 15 minutes to cook at a minimum temperature of 165 degrees.

4. Spices are the variety of life.

If someone ever tells you that ground turkey can’t be delicious, don’t listen to them. They simply don’t know how to season it properly. Sure, the lack of fat may make it a bit hard to bring the flavor out, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Like we said earlier, herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme are your best friend. Feel free to add more flavor with onions or garlic.

5. Leaner is better.

If you’ve started eating ground turkey because of its health benefits, make sure you commit and buy the leaner versions. Despite it being all white meat, it can have the taste of any other turkey dish, without the health risks that come with dark meat.

Overall, ground turkey is one of the best meat options out there. Easy, affordable and delicious, it almost seems too good to be true.

It’s not. Try it out and you’ll see for yourself why ground turkey has become so popular among people trying to get their health in check. And as always, if you try out any of these recipes, don’t forget to tag us on our Instagram!