Stay Healthy with a Turkey and Vegetable Combo

Doctors have long known the nutritional importance of including a wide variety of foods in the diet, but recent studies show that eating a diet high in vegetables combined with a low-fat protein such as turkey is a vital tool in the fight against cancer.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research report, Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, increasing the variety and amount of vegetables consumed in a healthy diet can reduce the rate of cancer incidence by as much as 20 percent. Including exercise and maintaining a healthy weight along with this diet can prevent as much as 40 percent of all cancer cases.

"The scientific research strongly shows that eating a diet with at least five servings of vegetables and fruits a day is protective against cancer," said Melanie Polk, RN, director of nutritional education for the American Institute for Cancer Research. "Reducing the amount of fat in the diet is essential, and eating low-fat turkey is an excellent strategy."

In fact, according to the National Turkey Federation, a 3-ounce cooked, skinless portion of turkey breast contains just 120 calories, 1 gram total fat and 55 mg cholesterol. And, the wide variety of both turkey cuts and types of vegetables available makes it easy to constantly add new recipes to your cooking repertoire.

Choose from turkey products such as cutlets, tenderloins, ground turkey, pre-cooked or marinated turkey, or turkey sausage, ham or pastrami. Or, prepare a turkey breast for dinner and use the leftovers in an innovative soup, stir-fry, fajita or casserole.

Summer is the ideal season to experiment with new vegetables. Select a variety of fresh produce from the supermarket, farmer's market or from your own garden. If you're short on time, let your grocer do the work for you. Choosing vegetables from the salad-bar section of the supermarket allows you to select pre-cut produce in only the amounts you'll need, eliminating both waste and excess preparation time.

Adding more vegetables to your diet can be easy with a recipe like Turkey Vegetable Soup. This simple recipe combines ten vegetables with cooked turkey for a healthy and delicious soup that can be served as an entree or a side. It's easy to be creative and select your own vegetable favorites for this recipe.

Italian Turkey Sausage and Vegetable Pizza combines the popular flavor of a sausage pizza with the goodness of garden-fresh vegetables. Broccoli, carrots, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and peppers piled high atop Italian turkey sausage makes this dish a definite knife-and-fork pizza.

At a time when research seems to be taking the fun out of eating, it's good know that healthy eating can also be exciting. Add vegetables to other dishes, like turkey fajitas, stir-fry, open-faced sandwiches and casseroles to create new meal-time options for every day of the month. Experimenting with new turkey ideas and a variety of vegetables opens up many culinary possibilities.