Chicken and Turkey Buyer’s Guide

Here are some guidelines for getting the most out of your chicken and turkey purchases at the supermarket.

In an impressive statistic, it is reported that North Americans now consume nearly 100 pounds of poultry per capita annually. And with good reason: chicken and turkey—both white and dark meat—are good sources of protein, low in fat and calories, particularly sans skin and unbreaded. But simple succulence, economy and sheer versatility are the fundamental reasons why poultry is so well loved.


A turkey tenderloin is an all-white piece that comes from the rib side of the breast. Tenderloins typically weigh between 7 and 14 ounces each. Try it grilled or roasted. Check the label carefully to avoid those that have been “enhanced” with an added sodium solution—they’re higher in sodium than those without added solution.

Ground turkey is a mild-flavored alternative to ground beef. Opt for 93%-lean, made from light and dark meat, and 99%-lean, made from turkey breast only. We prefer 93%-lean because it’s juicier and more flavorful. If you use 99%-lean ground turkey, you’ll save 30 calories, 51⁄2 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat and 20 milligrams cholesterol per serving.

Turkey cutlets and scallopini are thin, quick-cooking cuts of turkey breast. Scallopini are usually thinner than cutlets, though one brand’s cutlets can be as thin as another brand’s scallopini. Quickly sauté them and top with a pan sauce or make them into a sandwich topped with sautéed spinach, prepared marinara and melted part-skim mozzarella.

Hot and sweet Italian turkey sausage links can be found with other poultry products in most supermarkets. Both are normally seasoned with garlic and anise or fennel seed, but the hot version has an added kick from hot red peppers. If you have leftover links, wrap them in foil and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

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