Healthy Ways to Cook Sausage

Person using tongs on hamburgers and hot dogs cooking on a barbecue grill
A man is cooking sausage and burgers on a grill. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

You might like the taste of regular sausage, but it’s high in fat, cholesterol and sodium. Two cooked brown and serve sausage links have 9 grams of fat, 18 milligrams of cholesterol and 209 milligrams of sodium, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. People with heart problems, diabetes, extra pounds and others need to reduce their dietary fat, cholesterol and sodium intake to maintain and attain good health. While cooking sausages, pour off extra fat. After cooking, roll sausages on a paper towel to reduce the fat content.

Quantity

One simple and healthy way to cook a recipe with sausage is use less than the recipe calls for. However, this does not work well when sausage is the main ingredient. When sausage is the secondary ingredient like in tomato sauce or sausage gravy, you can reduce the quantity by about half or less and usually come out with a comparable product. Try adding sautéed mushrooms or onions in place of the sausage.

Types

Choose healthier types of sausage for cooking to reduce the amount of fat in your dish. You can choose turkey sausage which has, depending on the brand, at least 10 percent less fat than regular pork sausage according to information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Vegetarian sausage gives you another low-fat option. Manufacturers mix together vegetarian ingredients and traditional sausage spices trying to recreate the flavor and texture of regular sausage.

Homemade

Cook your own homemade sausage if you want to cook healthier food. You can eliminate ingredients like artificial preservatives and colors. You can choose turkey or leaner cuts of meat and trim the fat to reduce the fat and cholesterol content. Make your own low-sodium version of your favorite recipe to reduce the sodium content. For even healthier sausage, make the sausage a more natural product with grass-fed, free-range or organic meats.

Considerations

Sausage is only healthy for you when it’s free from bacteria and other foodborne illness. Store your sausage in the refrigerator. Use fresh sausage within two days or place it in a zip-loc or vacuum-seal bag in the freezer. Eat or freeze cooked, leftover sausage within four days. Defrost your sausage in the refrigerator, not on your countertop or in the microwave. Fully cook the sausage to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bacteria and parasites like botulism and trichinosis.

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