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Cold Cuts (Cured Meats): Are They Healthy?

People usually enjoy cured meats because they are tasty and always handy for a quick lunch or dinner. Unfortunately, they should be eaten in moderate amounts as they usually contain too much fat and salt, and not enough protein. What’s more, they often contain carcinogenic nitrates or nitrites. The process is especially well laid out in the article Are There Toxic Foods (Part 1).

Here are some cured meats you can find on the market that are actually smarter choices. They contain less calories and fat, although they are still very high in sodium.


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The foods to avoid contain more fat per serving than the smarter choices.

Ideally, you should try to limit your consumption of cured meats, because regardless of which one you choose, it will contain too much salt and less nutrients than the meat you would buy from the butcher.


Here are some healthy alternatives to your favourite cured meats:

  • Always stock up on canned tuna (in water) to add variety to your sandwiches and salads.
  • Go vegetarian: a good range of mock meats and meatless sausages are now available at the supermarket. They are made from soy, and therefore contain less fat and more protein.
  • Cook your own meat, and keep it in the refrigerator:
    Sliced, cooked ham can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 5 days;
    Poultry cuts can be stored for 3 to 4 days;
    Hard boiled eggs can be stored whole or as salads for up to a week.
  • Some cured meats are said to be fat and preservatives free, so they are a better option than regular cured meats. Make sure you combine them with a complementary source of protein, such as cheese or Greek yogurt!


Use your imagination!


Marie-Ève Nadeau, P.Dt.

Marie-Ève Nadeau, Dt.P.

Member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec and holder of a bachelor’s degree from McGill University, Marie-Eve joined the Nautilus Plus team in November 2012. Nutritionist since January 2013 and assistant manager at Delson’s centre, Marie-Eve has found a passion for exercise and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her studies with the International Olympic Committee and exercises regularly. She ran her first half-marathon in Ottawa in May 2014, and was thrilled by the experience! She strives to pass on her passion to her clients and loved ones. Her objective is to help her clients get the results they desire and motivate them to adopt a healthy life style. She creates weight loss support groups and holds conferences on motivation and how to plan shopping for groceries.

Cold Cuts (Cured Meats): Are They Healthy? is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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