Blog | Rachel Begun, MS, RD

Applegate Bacon – adding flavor and texture to healthy dishes


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received complimentary samples to try this product and was paid by Applegate to write this post.  All comments and opinions are my own.

It’s January 8th–the heart of the get healthy New Year’s Resolution mania–and I am a registered dietitian nutritionist talking about bacon!

Here’s why.

It goes back to my post from earlier this week.  If there is one thing that I’ve learned in culinary school it is that eating well comes down to balancing both nutrients AND the five tastes at every meal, as this is how we leave the table satisfied and content.  This is a central message I’ll be sharing throughout 2015–the important role that balancing flavors plays in being satisfied with your meals and not wanting for more.

In my opinion, bacon is an excellent ingredient for balancing the tastes of a healthy meal. It’s salty, smoky, meaty flavor and crunchy texture adds so much to so many dishes.

The kicker is you only need small amounts to get the flavor and texture you desire (ideas on that are below)!

That’s why I’m dedicating a January post to bacon…because when used in smaller quantities to add flavor and texture to meals it doesn’t have to be a forbidden food while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  On the contrary, it can be a flavor and texture enhancer that completes a meal and makes it satisfying!

Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t purchase bacon with reckless abandon.  Not at all. There’s a wide range in the quality and nutrition of bacon products on the market and making the right selection is important.

That’s why I like the Applegate line of natural bacon products.  The one I am focusing on here is Applegate Naturals Applewood Smoked Uncured Good Morning Bacon, which is:

  • uncured, keeping the sodium content lower than cured bacon
  • made with pork shoulder, a leaner cut of meat than pork belly
  • free of added nitrates and nitrites, which are known carcinogens
  • not administered antibiotics
  • gluten-free, casein-free, and dairy-free

I particularly like using bacon to add flavor and texture to plant-based dishes, as we can all benefit from eating more fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.  Here are some ideas, with links to recipes from sources I trust (note: I have not tested these recipes myself):

How do you use bacon to enhance the flavors of a plant-based dish?  Please share via the comments box below.

To a Happy, Healthy and Flavorful New Year!


It’s that time of year…when everyone is making their resolutions to get healthier and happier.

My resolution for 2015 will help you achieve both.

If you follow me regularly, you know that I am currently in culinary school to become a natural chef, as I’d like to amp up my culinary skills to match my nutrition experience.  What I love about my culinary program is that it focuses on health-supportive cooking using the highest quality ingredients.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in school, it is this…

Eating well means enjoying meals that are balanced both nutritionally and flavorfully.

While it’s important to get the right balance of macro- and micronutrients in each meal, it is just as important to ensure all of the five tastes (salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami or savory) are represented, as getting a variety of flavors in each meal is what allows us to be content and satisfied.

 And when we are content and satisfied, we aren’t wanting for more, which is, in my opinion, the best tactic for maintaining a healthy weight.

It is my personal resolution to make every meal with a wide variety of flavors.

It is also my professional mission in 2015 to help you find balance in your meals, both nutritionally and flavorfully.  Fun changes are coming to The Gluten-Free RD blog in 2015. I think you’ll like where we’re headed.  Just give me a few months to get through culinary school, and I can start dedicating more time to the blog :-)

As I revamp and relaunch the new blog, I’d love to get your feedback and ideas for what you’d like to see in future posts.

Thanks for a great 2014!

Best wishes for a healthy, happy  and flavorful 2015.

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