Skip to main content

Let turkey be the centerpiece of your celebration.

We know how stressful the holiday season can be. Whether it is your first time cooking a turkey or you're a pro, Illinois Extension has a variety of resources to make the holidays go more smoothly. We want to make sure you know how to prepare a delicious turkey in the safest way possible so your holidays are full of fun, not stress. 

Fun For the Kids' Table


From word searches and crosswords to coloring pages and holiday jokes, download this fun activity book for the young and young-at-heart kids at your holiday party. 


Nutritional Value of Turkey

Turkey is a versatile and tasty addition to any healthy eating plan. More importantly, it's very nutritious. Turkey is relatively low in fat and rich in protein, making it a lean protein. The Dietary Guidelines for Amercians recommend incorporating lean proteins as part of a healthy eating pattern. Lean proteins are lower in saturated fat and calories and help reduce the risk of heart disease.

It is an excellent source of B-complex vitamins, niacin, B6, and B12. These water-soluble vitamins must be consumed daily, as the body does not store them. B-complex vitamins play an essential role in metabolism, making it possible for the body to use energy. They also are crucial for brain and eye health, digestion, nerve function, and growth of red blood cells, and may lower the risk of heart disease.

Turkey is a good source of choline, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, and zinc minerals. Minerals are important because they are involved in a variety of functions within the body, helping to keep the brain, bones, heart, and muscles working correctly.

The nutrients found in turkey depend on where the cut of meat comes from. For example, darker cuts of turkey, like the leg and thigh, contain higher amounts of iron. They also tend to have a higher fat concentration and, consequently, more calories. Despite having more calories, they generally have more vitamins and minerals than white meat. In comparison, white cuts of meat will have a slightly higher protein percentage than dark. Removing the turkey's skin before cooking will help reduce the fat content of the meat.

A 3-ounce serving of meat, fish, or poultry is about the size and thickness of a new deck of cards or the palm of your hand.


Meat Type
Calories Total Fat Grams Protein Grams
Turkey, whole, breast, roasted, skinless 125 1.77 25.6
Turkey, whole, breast, roasted with skin 161 6.3 24.4
Turkey, dark meat, roasted, skinless 196 7.9 29
Turkey, dark meat, roasted, skin on 175 8.5 23
Turkey, wing, skin on, roasted 220 10.4 30
Turkey, leg skin on, roasted 177 8.35 23.7