6 Healthier Bacon Alternatives You Need To Try
Bacon, oh bacon: The classic breakfast staple dates back to the Roman Empire, yet somehow it still manages to get trendier by the minute. Not only does it draw adoring crowds to bacon festivals and bacon-themed restaurants, but it’s now featured in just about every type of product, including bacon gum! And with International Bacon Day approaching September 2, there’s no doubt aficionados will be expressing their devotion with a hot skillet filled with sizzling grease.
Bacon doesn’t receive the same fanfare from health experts, though. It’s less popular than ever with nutritionists since the World Health Association deemed processed meat—any type of meat that’s been treated in some way (like salting, curing, or fermentation) for preservation—as a carcinogen, AKA something that causes cancer, in 2015.
(Ditch processed foods and try the naturally sweet, salty, and satisfying recipes from Prevention‘s Eat Clean, Lose Weight & Love Every Bite!)
In fact, when 22 experts from 10 countries reviewed more than 800 studies, they found that eating 50 grams of processed meat daily (about four strips of bacon) increases the risk of colon cancer by 18%. Even more, red meat in general may increase risk of colorectal, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. (Here are 10 things cancer experts do to avoid getting the disease.)
So, what’s one to do on a holiday like International Bacon Day? By all means, get that skillet sizzling and the oven preheated. But this year, throw in one of these six bacon alternatives—and keep the rest of your body just as happy as your taste buds.
This meatless alternative is made from thinly cut strips of tempeh that are marinated in a sweet and savory sauce, then cooked on the stovetop like regular bacon. A cousin of tofu, tempeh is a fermented food made with whole soybeans, which provide a good dose of fiber, vitamins (like B6, a nervous system protector), and bone-strengthening magnesium. (Here’s why you’re probably not getting enough magnesium, and how to fix that.) It’s also a good source of complete protein with all eight essential amino acids—those that cannot be made by the body.
Try it: You can find tempeh bacon in the produce or dairy aisle at your supermarket (one brand to look for: Lightlife Organic Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh Strips), or slice and marinate your own with this irresistible recipe from Simple Vegan Blog. Eat it with your morning eggs or tuck it into a better-for-you BLT sandwich.
Here’s an easy way to make crispy pan-fried tofu: