Turkey Nutrition Facts

Turkey Calories, Nutrients, and Health Benefits

turkey nutrition facts
Richard Wareham Fotografie / Getty Images

Most dieters think of turkey as a diet-friendly food. And it can be. Turkey calories are usually low if you choose a lean part of the bird. But ground turkey calories are harder to check and the fat and calories in turkey burgers can be even harder to calculate.

Turkey Calories: White Meat and Dark Meat

Turkey Breast Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 4 oz. boneless, skinless turkey breast (114 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 167 
Calories from Fat 18 
Total Fat 2g 
Saturated Fat 1g 
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g 
Monounsaturated Fat 1g 
Cholesterol 91mg30%
Sodium 235mg5%
Potassium 282mg6%
Carbohydrates 0g0%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 0g 
Protein 34g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Vitamin B6 70% · Vitamin D 2%
Calcium 1% · Iron 4%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Like chicken slices, turkey breast slices are a high-protein, low-carb food. But this food can increase your sodium intake for the day, depending on the turkey that you choose. Some brands of turkey lunchmeat, for instance, are high in sodium

The calories in roasted turkey depend on the type of meat that you consume and the preparation method used to cook the bird. According to the USDA, there are 5 grams of fat and 147 calories in a single serving of roasted dark meat. But if you choose white breast meat, you'll only consume 125 calories and less than 2 grams of fat. A single serving of turkey is 3 ounces or a portion that is roughly the size of a deck of cards.

Do you choose to keep the skin on your turkey? Unfortunately, you'll add at least a hundred calories but probably more. According to the USDA, a single serving of turkey skin (1 ounce) provides 115 calories and over 11 grams of fat.

But of course, no one eats turkey skin raw. So if you are calculating the total number of turkey calories you'll consume, you also need to account for the butter and pan drippings that are often drizzled on top of the bird during cooking.

Ground Turkey Calories

The number of calories in ground turkey can be more complicated to calculate.

Just like ground beef, there are different varieties that contain different amounts of fat. The fat in ground turkey may come from added turkey skin or dark meat.  

Jennie-O is a popular brand of ground turkey. Calories in the products vary as listed below:

  • Ground Turkey: 220 calories and 17 grams of fat per 112-gram serving
  • Lean Ground Turkey: 170 calories and 8 grams of fat per 112-gram serving
  • Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast:  120 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per 112-gram serving

Because there is so much variation between the calorie counts of different types of ground turkey, it's important to check the nutrition label on the product that you buy, no matter which brand you purchase. It's not safe to assume that ground turkey will be low in calories or low in fat.

Calories in Turkey Burgers

If you order a turkey burger at a restaurant, the calorie and fat count may be impossible to determine unless it is indicated on the menu. But smart dieters should never assume that turkey burger calories are low or that a turkey burger is necessarily lower in calories than a traditional beef burger.

When turkey burgers are mixed, many chefs use higher fat ground turkey because it tastes better, it's moist and it is easier to eat.

Then, additional ingredients like cheese or cooking oils can be added which will increase the fat. Finally, any toppings or spreads added to the bun can add hundreds of calories. The result? It's not impossible for your turkey burger to total 500 calories or more.

You can, however, make your own lower-calorie turkey burgers at home. Just be sure to use ground turkey breast and add moisture by including savory ingredients like onions, herbs, and even egg white.

Health Benefits

Turkey is a good source of healthy lean protein, so it's smart to keep it in your diet. But if you are trying to lose weight, you should choose your meat carefully.

The best turkey for you will be high in protein, but low in fat and calories. 

A slice of turkey is a good source of phosphorus and vitamin B12. It is also a very good source of niacin, vitamin B6, and selenium.

Choosing and Storing Turkey

If you're trying to choose a whole turkey for a big family meal, you'll want to get a bird big enough to feed all of your guests and provide for leftovers.  For a family of four healthy eaters, get a bird that is about eight pounds. For four adults and four children, consider getting a bird that is about 10 pounds. Got a big crew? Manufacturers recommend that you get a 24-pound turkey for a group of twelve.

Fresh turkeys are ready to prepare, but if you buy a frozen turkey you'll need to allow several days to thaw in the refrigerator. Allow one day for every four pounds of turkey.

After your dinner is complete, turkey leftovers should be refrigerated. In general, leftovers stay fresh for 2-3 days in the refrigerator but can be frozen for up to three months. 

Healthy Ways to Enjoy Turkey

Many eaters use a big turkey dinner as a reason to indulge. But there are ways to avoid overeating. If you like to eat a big turkey dinner on festive occasions, use a few smart tips to enjoy the meal without overeating fat and calories. 

  • Eat only a single serving of meat (the size of your palm or a deck of cards)
  • Remove the skin
  • Choose white meat from the breast
  • Skip the butter when roasting. Some fat is necessary to keep your bird moist, but you can use less fat and still get a flavorful meal.

Turkey Recipes

Got a few leftovers? Use these recipes to put your extra turkey to good use.

Was this page helpful?