At this point in the article, you may be thinking, “Yes, I know white meat is trash compared to dark meat from a culinary perspective. But I eat white meat because it’s healthier, not because I like it more.” First off, if that’s your reasoning during Thanksgiving, I don’t understand you. The holiday is about cramming 3,000 calories into your body as quickly as possible; it’s not a time to be making healthy decisions.
But even if you make turkey a regular part of your diet outside of the holiday season, the “white meat is better for you” argument doesn’t really hold up. While, yes, dark meat is slightly higher in overall fat, saturated fat, and calories than white meat, it has nutritional benefits that outweigh those mild negatives. Per Houston Methodist clinical dietitian Emma Willingham, dark meat is “packed with micronutrients that play important roles in the metabolism of protein, carbs and fat. Overall, white meat is actually less nutrient dense than dark meat.”
Dark meat is chock-full of iron and is rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Really, if you want to be as healthy as possible when eating turkey, the one thing to avoid is the skin. This is sad, as the skin is so delicious, but it’s the area of the bird with the greatest concentration of saturated fat and cholesterol.