Top 11 healthy ways to eat your leftover Thanksgiving turkey


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It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and you feel 10 pounds heavier. You open the fridge and find that you have enough turkey to have a second Thanksgiving. What to do? (Hint: The answer is not to have a second Thanksgiving, you insatiable glutton!) We have the top 11 delicious recipes to get you back into your skinny jeans without letting that turkey go to waste.


Curried Turkey Salad
Chow.com has a perfect way to brown-bag your leftover turkey: This curried turkey salad combines toasted coconut bits, sweet raisin, sweet apple and curried yogurt, sparing the fatty mayo so commonly used in chicken and turkey salads. Easy to make and even easier to throw in a Tupperware container to take to work.


Turkey Reuben
Here’s a simple yet tasty idea. Place the turkey, reduced-fat/reduced-sodium Swiss cheese and sauerkraut (drained and rinsed) between two slices of rye bread (or substitute multigrain or whole wheat bread), and use fat-free Thousand Island dressing as a spread.


Turkey Choke Sammich
If the Turkey Reuben isn’t your style (it’s not mine either), try our Turkey Choke sandwich with artichokes, sun-dried tomato and mozzarella, which you can find here.


Turkey & Sweet Potato Hummus Sandwich
If you’re not sweet-potatoed out from Thanksgiving, try making this ingenious sweet-potato hummus from WholeLiving.com. Spread it on some whole-wheat bread (we prefer toasted), and sandwich the turkey between the two slices. Mmmm.


Turkey Quesadilla
Quesadillas: the ideal dinner solution for one of those work nights when you barely have the energy to get your PJs on before passing out, much less slave over the stove for an hour. Combine the turkey with low-fat cheddar cheese, green onion and some canned jalapeno chilies on top of a tortilla, grill in a nonstick pan over the stove, cover with another tortilla and flip. … You know the drill.


Turkey Chili
Nothing says “goodbye, fall; hello, winter” like chili. Turkey chili is a fantastic low-fat option for anyone (who eats meat), especially if you’re trying to cut carbs and stock up on protein. SimplyRecipes.com has the perfect recipe if you’re looking for flavor without the fat and calories.


Turkey Divan
One of my fave dishes from childhood, turkey divan provides a yummy way to use up that leftover turkey and combine it with a veggie extremely high in nutritional benefits: broccoli. And you can make enough to brown-bag some and enjoy the rest for dinner during the week. Food.com has the classic Campbell’s recipe, but for a healthier version, use skim milk and low-fat cheese.


Turkey Tetrazzini
There’s nothing better than a healthy comfort food. The pasta provides the “comfort,” and the bell peppers, mushrooms and turkey add the nutritional value. The only adjustments I would make to Prevention magazine’s recipe are to use whole-wheat pasta (or even spinach pasta!) and skim milk instead of regular pasta and whole milk.


Turkey Cobb Salad
This one’s simple: Throw some turkey on top of Romaine lettuce with egg whites (instead of whole hard-boiled eggs — this way you’re skipping the high-calorie, high-cholesterol yolk), crumbled blue cheese, chopped tomatoes and avocado. In case you didn’t notice, we skipped the bacon. Avocado provides you with enough fat — the good kind! — so it’s better to leave out greasy, fatty bacon if you’re trying to keep your meal light. Add cucumber if you want the extra crunch that bacon would have offered. As for dressing, try this one, which you can make yourself, from Food Network.


Cranberry & Herb Turkey Burgers
Lean turkey burgers never quite match up to the yum level of beef burgers since they lack grease and fat. Eating Well thought up a delicious solution to the dryness so commonly associated with turkey burgers: top it with cranberries! It’s a nutritious way to add some moisture and flavor, and this recipe takes it up a notch with the addition of some whole-wheat couscous.


Next Day Turkey Soup
Thanksgiving unfortunately falls in the midst of — a…a… achoo! Excuse me — cold season. If you find yourself with the sniffles or are just craving a tasty way to warm up, try Food Network’s Michael Chiarello’s Next Day Turkey Soup. This recipe even puts the turkey carcass to use to flavor the broth.