No denying it...bacon is one of the most delicious foods imaginable. Most of us know it's also not the healthiest. Bacon is mostly fat (the saturated, unhealthy kind) packed with sodium and additives. The sodium and fat in just one slice might not break the bank (see nutrition facts below), but how often does anyone have just one slice?
I'm a big believer though that all foods, even bacon, can be part of a balanced diet. Here are a few tips to true enjoyment in moderation:
1. Go Natural. Bacon is cured, meaning that salt, spices, and other additives are used to give it the flavor and stay-power it has. Choose a bacon that uses minimal additives. Avoid potentially harmful food additives, like nitrites, by choose a brand like Applegate Organic and Natural Bacon instead of, say, Oscar Mayer. Not picking on Oscar Mayer, here. Many brands use the same additives. Avoid ingredients lists with things like, "SODIUM PHOSPHATES, SODIUM ASCORBATE, SODIUM NITRITE."
2. Treat it like a condiment. And not like the fist-sized pile of ketchup you put next to your fries. Don't think of bacon as your meat option. Because bacon, even more natural varieties, is full of salt and fat, use it sparingly. Try it sprinkled on top of salads (like I did, pictured) or use a strip to add flavor to an omelet. The key here is to use the delicious FLAVOR in your meal and to avoid popping it piece by piece until the whole package is gone before breakfast has even begun.
3. Enjoy it. Take the time to really taste your bacon (and all your food). Let your brain register that you've eaten and enjoyed it, and you'll be less inclined to mindlessly go back for more.
Nutrition Facts for 1 piece of bacon:
3.3g Total Fat
1.1g Saturated Fat
184.8mg Sodium (this is a lot!)
Suzanne Hollander, MS, RD
As a dietitian, home cook, and enthusiast of all-things-delicious, I'm often asked, "so what do YOU eat?" Here's a blog to answer that very question! My hope is that you'll find (even just a little) inspiration from some of my favorite recipes, restaurants, party-ideas and food musings for your own happy, healthy, food-loving lifestyle.