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5 ways to turn Thanksgiving leftovers into healthy meals

By Hilary Meyer, November 4, 2011 - 11:29am

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I look forward to turkey at Thanksgiving, but the real excitement for me lies in the dinners I’ll make with the leftover turkey. I choose a bigger Thanksgiving turkey than I need and I do the same when I roast a whole chicken because I like to have the leftovers to use in all sorts of other dishes. (Cooked chicken and turkey can be used interchangeably in the recipes below.)

And don’t worry if you overdid it at Thanksgiving— with only about 144 calories and less than 2 grams of saturated fat per 3-ounce serving, roasted turkey or chicken is a healthy choice. Plus we put a healthy twist on these five recipes for leftover turkey for your post-Thanksgiving meals.

More Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes:
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Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole & More Thanksgiving Casseroles
9 Stuffing Recipes to Try
Lighter Classic Pumpkin Pie and More Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

Leftover Turkey Recipes for Mexican Food
Crispy Turkey Tostadas (pictured above) are a perfect way to use up any leftover turkey. The tostada shells are homemade from fresh corn tortillas—they’re super-easy (crisp them in the oven while you prepare the toppings) and have a lot less fat than the fried ones at the grocery store. Serve with high-fiber black beans, rice and extra salsa or hot sauce.

Leftover Turkey or Chicken Salad
Leftover chicken or turkey and rice come together in Moroccan Chicken Salad, a flavorful main dish salad. Serve over baby spinach.

Leftover Turkey or Chicken Pasta
Cheesy Chicken Pasta, an ooey-gooey pasta dish that pleases adults and kids, is like rich and creamy macaroni-and-cheese tossed with cauliflower and chicken or turkey.

Leftover Turkey Soup
Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup is a healthier twist on a classic creamy turkey and wild rice soup that hails from Minnesota.

Leftover Turkey Casserole
Got lots of leftover mashed potatoes too? Try Turkey & Leek Shepherd’s Pie—just skip making the mashed potatoes and cover the pie with your leftover ones instead.

Want more ideas? Get 16 More Recipes for Leftover Turkey, Including Turkey or Chicken Potpie

How do you eat your leftover turkey? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Hilary Meyer, Food Blog, Holidays

Hilary Meyer
Hilary Meyer develops and tests healthy recipes in the EatingWell Test Kitchen. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

Hilary asks: How do you eat your leftover turkey?

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