Getty; Inset: Courtesy Hungry Girl
Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of nine books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.
Welcome to my latest survival guide, otherwise known as the Six Degrees of Guilt-Free Bacon.
Here’s the deal: Bacon rocks, but a small amount can pack a lot of fat. Luckily, with the right types of the cured meat (and I’m not just talking about turkey bacon!) and the right recipe ideas, you can enjoy bacon goodness without the backlash.
Below, find three of my favorite finds for guilt-free bacon indulgence, plus three great recipes using the slimmed-down stuff. (Kevin Bacon, you’re great, but you can sit this one out.)
1. Center-Cut Bacon. This is a leaner cut of regular bacon — think a higher meat-to-fat ratio than usual. Each strip has about 30 calories and 2g fat, compared to about 40 calories and 3g fat in a strip of classic bacon. Hormel Black Label is a great choice. Cook it up and serve with your morning scramble, or use it to whip up number 4 on this list!
2. Turkey Bacon. Turkey bacon has similar stats to the center-cut slices: about 30 calories and 2.5g fat per piece. Jennie-O and Oscar Mayer have great poultry-based bacon. I’ve found that this actually gets really nice and crispy when you cook it in the microwave, as opposed to a skillet. Good to know!
3. Precooked Crumbled Bacon. This product is impressively lean, since it’s mostly the meaty portion of bacon with very little of the fat. A tablespoon (which goes a long way) has just 25 calories and 1.5g fat. Ready-to-use bacon bits at your fingertips! Oscar Mayer even makes a turkey version.
4. Cheesy Zucchini Skins. If you’re the type of person who likes cheesy, bacon-topped potato skins (in other words, if you’re human), give this recipe a try. Just nuke some zucchini, scoop out the insides, and dress it up like the classic bar bite! In addition to the center-cut or turkey bacon, reduced-fat cheese and sour cream keep things nice and light.
5. BLT B-fast Burrito. Want a satisfying breakfast in less than five minutes? Just whip up an egg scramble using fat-free liquid egg substitute (or egg whites), light spreadable cheese, tomato, spices and (of course!) bacon. The precooked kind is perfect here. Wrap it all up in a high-fiber tortilla, along with spinach (playing the part of lettuce in this BLT) and scallions. So good!
6. Bacon-Bundled Asparagus. Two-ingredient snack alert! Simply wrap slices of turkey bacon around bundles of asparagus spears and bake until bacon is crispy and asparagus is slightly tender. Such a fun little finger food, and so much bacon flavor!
‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!