Ham It Up

Here at Guiding Stars, our algorithm is intentionally designed to help you minimize the saturated fat and salt in your food. Ham, of course, is full of both. Ham, bacon, pancetta, and salt pork are not products you will find labeled with any stars. Slow cooking, however, gives us a beautiful opportunity to showcase the philosophy that no food is “bad” food, per se, but rather, that enjoying great nutrition and a good relationship with food is all about balance.

When you’ve got a dish full to the brim of vegetables and legumes, like pea soup, it’s going to need a little bit of salt and fat to taste its best. Using a small amount of flavorful meat like ham can often add exactly what the dish needs without tanking its nutrient density. Here are a few tips for putting cured, salted meats to work for you:

  • Keep the serving size of the meat small. The fattier and saltier the meat, the less you need to add per serving.
  • Lean on the meat for your salt and consider choosing low-sodium broths and canned good elsewhere in the recipe.
  • For fattier options like salt pork or bacon, cook in advance to render most of the fat and discard fat before adding the meat to the dish to maximize the flavor while keeping the saturated fat low.
  • Use primarily in dishes that have a good balance of nutrient-dense foods such as beans, vegetables, and whole grains.
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Three Guiding Stars iconThree Guiding Stars indicate the best nutritional value. Slow cooking lends itself beautifully to using a small amount of saltier meat to flavor a nutritious dish.

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Last Week’s Tip: Souped Up and Slowed Down

Next Week’s Tip: Smart Thanksgiving