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6 Healthier Bacon Alternatives You Need To Try

Bacon, oh bacon: The classic breakfast stapleA?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, therea??s no doubt aficionados will be expressing their devotion with a hot skillet filled with sizzling grease.
Bacon doesna??t receive the same fanfare from health experts, though. Ita??s less popular than ever with nutritionists since the World Health Association deemed processed meata??any type of meat thata??s been treated in some way (like salting, curing, or fermentation) for preservationa??as a carcinogen, AKA something that causes cancer, in 2015.
(Ditch processed foods and try the naturally sweet, salty, and satisfying recipes fromA?Prevention‘sA?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 areA?10 things cancer experts do to avoid getting the disease.)
So, whata??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 alternativesa??and keep the rest of your body just as happy as your taste buds.

Tempeh bacon

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.) Ita??s also a good source of complete protein with all eight essential amino acidsa??those that cannot be made by the body.
Try it:A?You can find tempeh bacon in the produce or dairy aisle at your supermarket (one brand to look for:A?Lightlife Organic Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh Strips), or slice and marinate your own withA?this irresistible recipeA?from Simple Vegan Blog. Eat it with your morning eggs or tuck it into a better-for-you BLT sandwich.

Turkey bacon
Take note: This option isna??t quite as healthy as the more veggie-driven bacon alternatives on this list because ita??s still processed meat. However, turkey bacon is at least a better choice than the regular kind because ita??s a white meat, not a red meat, and is lower in calories and fat (turkey bacon has 4 g saturated fat per serving compared to pork bacona??s 8 g).
Try it:A?There are plenty of turkey bacon options at grocery stores, but we especially like Greensbury’s organic kind ($10,), which is Certified Humane and Non-GMO Project certified. Pair your turkey bacon with a big serving of veggies, like leafy greens, and try to limit the number of strips you eat. This recipe forA?Spinach and Mushrooms with Turkey BaconA?fits the bill!

Eggplant bacon

What if eating your veggies was just as easy as eating bacon? With eggplant bacon, it can be. Eggplant is a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and phytonutrients, all of which can help protect heart health. It also contains a chemical called nasunin, which may increase blood flow to the brain.
Try it:A?Though you won’t find this one in stores yet, it’s easy to make. Simply roast sliced eggplant in a savory-sweet sauce (think smoked paprika, maple syrup, and Worcestershire) at 225 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until crispy. For aA?full recipe, check out Minimalist Bakera??s take on this smoky, crispy snack.

Duck bacon

Okay, so maybeA?duckA?isna??t the first thing you think of when you imagine everyday morning grub. But like turkey, it can provide a non-red-meat alternative to pork bacon with less fat and a unique twist. Just keep in mind, like turkey bacon, ita??s still technically processed meata??so youa??ll want to munch in moderation.
Try it:A?Made from smoked duck breasts, duck bacon doesna??t get very crispy, so wrap it around asparagus,A?Brussels sprouts, shrimp, or other hors da??Oeuvres to elevate your party food game. One kind to try: D’Artagnan Uncured Smoked Duck Bacon ($15,A?

Mushroom bacon

Just like eggplant, mushrooms can be roasted to crispy perfection. Even more, mushrooms provide the savory a??umamia?? flavor that bacon does, without all the unwanted saturated fat. Plus, theya??re a great source of metabolism-boosting B-complex vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and potassium.A?Research has foundA?certain compounds in the shiitake mushroom may even have anticancer effects.
Try it:A?Simply marinate fresh shiitake mushrooms in soy sauce and cook on the stovetop or in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until crispy. Check out thisA?shiitake bacon how-toA?from The Delicious Life, then sub your creation into one of theseA?eight bacon recipes for weight loss.

Tofu bacon

Although it is more processed than tempeh, tofu can still be a healthy alternative to traditional bacon. Ita??s rich in protein with all eight essential amino acids, and a good source of calcium and iron to boot. (Here areA?the 20 highest protein veggies and other plant-based foods you can eat.)
Try it:A?Youa??ll need a steady hand to cut very, very thin slices of tofua??otherwise, it wona??t get crunchy like bacon. Marinate slices in a blend of Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, soy sauce, and just a touch of maple syrup for flavor before cooking in a skillet. Check out Eat Within Your Means for aA?full recipe.

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