7 Healthier Alternative to Ham


Eating well is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for now and into the future. Making small steps to improve what you eat is a great away to achieve this. 

One small step you can make is to cut down on eating processed meat by finding healthy alternatives.

What is processed meat? 

Processed meat is meat that has been smoked, salted, cured or fermented and includes ham, devon, bacon, salami, frankfurts, prosciutto, and some sausages such as cabanossi and kransky. 

We recommend limiting or avoiding processed meats because of their link with increasing the risk of bowel and stomach cancer. Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in Australia.  

As they are also high in salt and energy, The Australian Dietary Guidelines say these foods are ‘discretionary’ so should only be eaten sparingly.

What are healthy alternatives?

Instead of using ham or other processed meats try these alternatives:

1. Classic Canned Tuna or Salmon

Canned fish is a fantastic alternative to deli meat.  Mix it with your choice of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt. Yes, I said mayonnaise! Contrary to popular belief, mayonnaise is heart-healthy as it is rich in monounsaturated fats that can actually lower cholesterol levels.

You may also be thinking, isn’t canned tuna processed? Well technically yes. Canned tuna is a processed meat because it has been modified to extend its shelf life through the canning process and some canned fish have added salt for preservation. However, selecting a food label with a “low sodium” or “no salt added” claim makes it less processed, and a healthier selection.

2. Boiled Eggs 

They’re tasty, they’re filling, and they’re good for your health at any age. Along with milk, eggs contain the highest biological value (or gold standard) for protein.

One egg has about only 72 calories, but 6 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids.

3. Hummus

Hummus provides key nutrients, including protein. The ingredients in hummus may benefit your overall health and reduce the risk of certain health conditions.

Hummus is an incredibly popular Middle Eastern dip and spread. It is typically made by blending chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tahini (ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor.

Not only is hummus delicious, but it is also versatile, packed with nutrients, and has been linked to many impressive health and nutritional benefits.

4. Roasted Vegetable

Hopefully, you’ve got the hint that I’m encouraging plant-based alternatives.

Roasting vegetables aids in the caramelization process which enhances sweetness. Try peppers, mushrooms, and eggplant roasted in heart-healthy olive oil to make any sandwich burst with flavor. Bonus, Sprinkle your roasted vegetables with hemp seeds to add protein and further increase satiety.

5. Cheese

Cheese is a standard accompaniment to popular foods like burgers, pizza, Mexican dishes, salad, and sandwiches.

Alone, it can be a snack or an appetizer. It can be added to sauces, soups, pastries, and many other dishes.

There are thousands of varieties of cheese, ranging from mild to mature in flavor, and low- to high-fat in composition. It can be made from the milk of cows, sheep, goats, and other animals.

6. Home Cooked Rissoles

Rissoles are also very versatile, round them to serve as meatballs, have them in burgers, have them alone with a side of salad, or make large batches and freeze them for effortless dinners. Let us know if you give this recipe a try and if you get a thumbs up from the family.

7. Leftover Home-cooked Meat Such as Slices of Roast

As part of your healthy lifestyle, make processed meat an occasional food only and not a regular choice. Eat more plant foods instead.

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