Eating for Life

Gobble up this turkey chili

Food styling by JILL WENDHOLT SILVA/Photo by RICH SUGG/The Kansas City Star

Substitute ground turkey breast for ground beef to create a chili with plenty of protein but a lot less fat.

Turkey is the all-American feast food.

Tradition holds that we gorge ourselves on roast bird each Thanksgiving then blame our resulting lethargy on too much tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps us produce serotonin, a substance that has been shown to induce sleep.

Ironically, the same meat we gorge on each Turkey Day can also be a low-fat, high-protein source that contributes B vitamins, iron, selenium and zinc to the diet. Ground white meat turkey is 99 percent fat free. A 3-ounce serving also contains just 98 calories and 45 grams cholesterol yet supplies 20 grams of protein.

In the last 25 years turkey consumption in the United States has more than doubled, and ground turkey has wide appeal with consumers of all ages and economic levels, according to the National Turkey Federation (www.eattur There’s no reason to save turkey for a special occasion.

Versatile and economical, its mild flavor makes ground turkey an easy substitution in just about any recipe that calls for ground beef, including an old-fashioned burger on a bun, meat loaf and meatballs.

The Star’s Trim n’ Terrific Chili recipe pairs ground turkey with kidney and black beans that add fiber to the diet. It also includes a healthy dose of tomatoes, including low-sodium vegetable juice cocktail that creates a broth for the chili. Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant thought to prevent some types of cancers .

This Eating for Life recipe makes more than the average six to eight servings. Instead, you’ll wind up with 10 servings, which is enough to feed a crowd of health-conscious football fans from now until Super Bowl Sunday.

Shopping tip: Look for ground turkey breast, as opposed to ground turkey, which can be a blend of white and dark turkey meat and up to 85 percent lean. Ground turkey breast is made from all breast meat and may be up to 99 percent fat free.

Cooking tip: If desired, peel tomatoes before chopping. To quickly peel tomatoes, cut a shallow “X” on the bottom of the tomatoes. Place them in a pan of boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds, then using a slotted spoon transfer the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water. Let stand about 1 minute, then use a paring knife to peel the skins.

Storage tip: This recipe freezes well; eat half now and save the rest for another dinner down the road.

Trim ’n terrific chili

Makes 10 servings

1 onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 pound ground extra lean turkey breast

1 (14 1/2 -ounce) can diced tomatoes

3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 /1/2 cups low sodium tomato-vegetable juice cocktail

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon leaf oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 (15 1/2 -ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 1/2 -ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

Cook onion, green pepper, carrot, garlic, jalapeno pepper and turkey in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring frequently, until turkey is fully cooked and vegetables are tender; drain. Stir in diced tomatoes, chopped fresh tomatoes, vegetable juice and seasonings. Cover, reduce to low and cook 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in beans and cook 10 minutes.

Per serving:163 calories (7 percent from fat), 1 gram total fat (trace saturated fat), 28 milligrams cholesterol, 19 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 331 milligrams sodium, 7 grams dietary fiber

Recipes developed for The Star by home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

Food styling by JILL WENDHOLT SILVA/Photo by RICH SUGG/The Star