When preparing healthier meals for you and your family, using ground turkey instead of ground beef is a simple way to lower saturated fat, calories, and also avoid the many health risks associated with red meat. But should you cut ground beef out of your diet altogether? Quick answer; sure you can, but there are a few things to consider. Typically white meat (breast, and wing) have less calories and fat than dark meat (thigh, and drumstick), and when it comes to ground turkey you are most likely getting a mixture of both.
If your overall goal for switching to ground turkey is to cut calories and fat, this is where it can get a little tricky. For example, 1 lb. of lean ground beef can actually have less calories and fat than 1 lb. of ground turkey. So if you're aiming for low fat content, look for ground turkey in the 90/10 range (90% lean meat, 10% fat), or go with ground turkey breasts (which are usually low in fat).
You also need to be conscious of how substituting ground beef with ground turkey can affect the flavor and presentation of your dish. Meals that rely heavily on the flavor or color of beef can suffer in this respect, given poultry is much lighter in color and not as robust in flavor (this is even more true with lean meat).
ground turkey can affect the flavor and presentation of your dish
You may not notice this in a chili or pasta dish, but cook a meatloaf and replace the ground beef with ground turkey, and the difference will be quite obvious. In these circumstances, stepping up the seasoning is never a bad idea. You don't want to go crazy with the sodium (salt, soy sauce, teriyaki, etc.), but herbs and spices can be kicked up in these instances to increase the flavor of the ground turkey.
Bottom line, it all boils down to how the dish is prepared, regardless if you're sticking with ground turkey and avoiding red meat entirely, or mixing it up and using ground beef in moderation. Being familiar with the differences between the two will help you determine which adjustments to make in your dishes to maintain flavor and good presentation.