The calorie content of turkey meat can vary depending on the part of the bird. Breast meat is one of the least calorific sources of meat on the turkey, especially without the skin. Protein is the major source of energy in the meat, but fat also contributes some. In addition, turkey provides certain vitamins and minerals that are necessary for good health.
Protein is essential for a healthy body, and meat is one of the richest sources. One potential issue with meat as a major part of nutrition is that some meats or meat products can be high in fat and calories. The calories in a turkey breast are relatively low, compared to some meats, such as bacon or sausage.
A serving of of turkey meat is about 3.5 ounces (about 100g). A piece of breast with the skin removed contains about 161 calories. This represents energy from 4 grams of fat and 30 grams of protein. If the skin also forms part of the meal, then the number of calories in a turkey breast jump to about 194 calories. The extra calories come from 4 extra grams of fat from the skin, and a slightly lower percentage of protein.
Dark meat from a turkey, in the legs and wings, generally has more calories than the white breast meat. A drumstick with the skin on can provide 11 grams of fat and 28 grams of protein per 3.5 ounce serving (about 100 g) for a total of 213 calories. Wings are fattier, at about 238 calories for the same size serving. The skin represents a significant proportion of the calories, however, for these parts of the bird. A 3.5 ounce (about 100 g) weight of skin contains almost 500 calories.
Turkeys vary in size and weight when they get to the table. Breasts, therefore, can range from about 6 lbs. (about 2.7 kg) to 14 lbs. (about 6.4 kg). A single breast could potentially supply almost 13,000 calories of energy.
Compared to the calories in a turkey breast, processed meats tend to be higher in energy, as do meats like lamb and pork that typically contain a significant percentage of fat. Fillet steak, on the other hand, contains about the same calories per weight as turkey breast with the skin on. Certain processed foods like ham have low calorie counts, at almost half the calories in a turkey breast with skin.