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Tips to a Tastier, Healthier Turkey by Hicham Elmadi

turkey dish 1

The turkey may be one of the most anticipated and feared foods for the Thanksgiving holiday. But not to worry, Hilton Head Health has some tips to make your bird healthier and even more tasty. Plus, we’ve included a full recipe using the tips we’ve suggested. Enjoy!

Tip #1- Turkey Benefits

    • High in Zinc, Iron, Potassium, and Phosphorus
    • High in Protein – slows digestion to keep you feeling full longer
    • White meat is lower in cholesterol – avoid dark meat

Tip #2- Making a Moist Turkey

    • Let the turkey rest after cooking to ensure a juicy turkey
    • A 10 lb turkey will take around 2 to 2 ½ hours to cook
    • Choose a fresh turkey over a frozen turkey – the ice crystals damage the muscle cells causing the meat to dry out when cooked

Tip #3- Use a Healthier Stuffing Option

    • Vermicelli (Rice Pasta) is a high-energy-dense food and low in fiber which soothes the digestive system
    • Traditional stuffing is full of carbs that weigh you down

Tip #4- Use Spices to Add Flavor without Adding Calories

    • Ginger- Relieves pain, nausea and treats bloating
    • Lemon- High in Vitamin C, Salt substitution by tenderizing the meat
    • Garlic- Lowers high blood pressure
    • Parsley- A source of anti-oxidant nutrients, heart healthy
    • Turmeric- An Anti-inflammatory agent, Source of B6 that reduces the risk of heart disease
    • Saffron- Helps with insomnia, pain, and heartburn, high in Vitamin C, Potassium, Iron, Vitamin B6
    • Cilantro- Decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and gives you overall energy

Thanksgiving Turkey 

turkey dish 2


1 bunch Parsley, finely chopped

1 bunch Cilantro, finely chopped

1 teaspoon Saffron

1 Tablespoon Turmeric

3 Tablespoon Fresh garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon Ground ginger

2 each Onion, minced

To taste  Salt and pepper

1 package Vermicelli pasta, soften in hot water

¼ cup Celery & Carrot Pesto


    • Mix the saffron with ½ cup warm water and let sit for 10 minutes.
    • Puree the onions in a food processor.
    • Place all ingredients, except Vermicelli and pesto, into a big bowl and mix well. (This is now your filling.)
    • Reserve ¼ cup of the filling for later and rub the remainder inside and outside of the turkey.
    • Mix the softened vermicelli with the reserved rub and carrots & celery pesto. Stuff the turkey with this mixture.
    • Cover and bake the turkey at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Uncover the turkey, during the last 30 minutes.
    • After two hours, turn off the oven and cover the turkey; allow it to sit for 30 minutes before serving.


Number of Servings: 10-12

Serving Size: 4 ounces Turkey / 1 ½ ounce Vermicelli

Calories: 320

Protein: 40 g

Total Fat: 1.5 g

Dietary Fiber: 2 g

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