Despite increasing concerns about growing waistlines and the dangerous obesity epidemic, many families continue to feel overwhelmed by the idea of a full-fledged diet overhaul. Don’t be discouraged. Even small changes at the dinner table can make a big difference.

An April 2010 study conducted by Shape Up America!, titled “The Impact of Small Dietary Change,” revealed that incorporating one simple change when preparing favorite family meals–such as using turkey in place of certain cuts of beef, pork or veal–produced an average savings of 108 calories per meal.

Not only does substituting turkey save calories, it also reduces fat intake. Ground turkey ranges from 85 percent to 99 percent fat free, and compared to other meats, ground turkey contains among the lowest saturated fat levels.

Cooking with turkey is easier than you might think. Turkey is an easy alternative for a broad range of dishes that typically contain beef. The texture and flavor of ground turkey meat works with a wide range of preparation methods, including dishes such as burgers, tacos, pasta and casseroles.

For a new, flavorful and lean twist on the classic burger, try these ‘Jack and Guac’ Turkey Burgers, which combine turkey protein and a lineup of nutritious toppings.

‘Jack and Guac’ Turkey Burgers
Serves 4

4 JENNIE-O® Turkey Burgers–(pre-formed or made with ground turkey)
4 slices–ciabatta bread or whole wheat burger buns
4 slices–low-fat pepper jack cheese
8 strips–JENNIE-O® Extra Lean Turkey Bacon, fried and crisp
Guacamole (homemade or prepared, such as Wholly Guacamole®)

Brush grill rack with oil. Place burger patties on grill. Prepare the turkey burgers as specified on the packaging. Always cook to well-done, 165 degrees F as measured by a meat thermometer. Place each patty on a bun and top with one slice of cheese, two slices of turkey bacon and guacamole.

Grilling with Confidence
* Experiment. Don’t be afraid to play with new flavor combinations. With a little experimentation, you may discover new ways to create delicious turkey burgers on the grill.

* Choose ingredients wisely. The best way to ensure grilling success is by choosing the highest-quality ingredients. Look for lean, delicious JENNIE-O® Turkey at your local grocery store.

* Add a spoonful of flavor. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, seasoning or marinade on the turkey about 10 minutes before grilling to enhance the meat’s natural flavor.

* Temperature is everything. Using a meat thermometer is the most accurate way to determine when the meat is ready to enjoy. Place the meat 3 to 6 inches from the heat source and cook burgers to at least 165 degrees F.

* Savor the flavor. To keep the delicious turkey juices intact, resist the urge to press and flatten a turkey burger while it is cooking on the grill.

Tips for Food Safety
* Clean. Remember to use warm, soapy water to wash anything the raw meat touches.

* Separate. Avoid cross-contamination by separating raw meat from other foods.

* Cook. Fully cook meat to destroy bacteria that could cause food-borne illnesses. Always cook turkey well-done, 165∫F as measured by a meat thermometer.

* Chill. Storing at the right temperature helps keep meat safe.

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