Is Ham and Cabbage Healthy? Looking at the Nutrition of This Classic Combo

Ham and cabbage is a timeless pairing that shows up in many classic recipes, from ham and cabbage soup to smothered cabbage with ham But is this tasty combo actually good for you? Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional profile of ham and cabbage dishes.

What Makes Ham and Cabbage Healthy

There are several key nutrients that make ham and cabbage a nutritious mix

  • Cabbage – Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, cabbage is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It provides fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium and manganese.

  • Ham – Ham provides lean protein, iron, zinc, potassium, selenium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

  • Low Calorie – Ham and cabbage dishes tend to be lower in calories than recipes with heavy cream, cheese or fatty meats.

  • High Fiber – The cabbage provides a significant amount of filling fiber with 5g per cup.

  • Heart Health – Cruciferous veggies and lean meats benefit heart health.

So cabbage brings the vegetable goodness while ham contributes protein and key minerals to make a well-rounded nutritional package.

Potential Drawbacks of Ham and Cabbage

A few possible drawbacks to consider:

  • Sodium – Ham and packaged broths used in recipes can contain a lot of sodium. Those limiting salt intake may need smaller portions.

  • Nitrates – Some types of processed ham contain sodium nitrite for preservation. This may be a concern for some people.

  • Lacking Color – Aside from green cabbage, ham and cabbage dishes don’t contain a rainbow of produce. Pairing with a side salad adds more phytonutrients.

  • Low Calcium – Neither ham nor cabbage is a significant source of calcium. Adding a glass of milk boosts this mineral.

So those on low-sodium, nitrate-free or nutrient-dense diets may want to adjust ham and cabbage recipes as needed. But overall, the positives outweigh the potential negatives for most people.

Analyzing Ham and Cabbage Soup Nutrition

To look closer at the nutrition numbers, let’s analyze a popular ham and cabbage recipe.

One cup of homemade ham and cabbage soup contains approximately:

  • 250 calories
  • 13g protein
  • 5g fiber
  • 45% DV vitamin C
  • 30% DV vitamin K
  • 20% DV iron
  • 15% DV potassium

For only 250 calories, you get a hefty dose of vitamins, minerals and over 10g of filling protein. The generous fiber content helps regulate digestion. This soup makes an incredibly satisfying meal.

Breaking Down Smothered Cabbage with Ham Nutrition

Smothered cabbage with ham is another classic recipe to evaluate. Here is the nutrition profile per 1 cup serving:

  • 225 calories
  • 11g protein
  • 5g fiber
  • 56% DV vitamin C
  • 16% DV iron
  • 14% DV potassium

Again, you get a nutritional powerhouse in under 250 calories. The vitamin C content from the cabbage is off the charts. And iron, fiber and protein help round it out.

Tips for the Healthiest Ham and Cabbage Dishes

Follow these tips for getting the most nutrition from ham and cabbage:

  • Use reduced sodium ham and broths
  • Increase the cabbage to ham ratio
  • Bake or grill ham instead of deli lunchmeat
  • Pair with probiotic foods like yogurt or kefir
  • Add other colorful veggies – carrots, peppers, tomatoes
  • Use avocado oil or olive oil instead of butter
  • Skip added salt and season with herbs

Is Cabbage Good for You?

With all its nutritional benefits, cabbage deserves a regular spot in a healthy diet. Here are some of the top reasons to eat more cabbage:

  • Excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K
  • Contains potent antioxidants like anthocyanins
  • High in fiber, potassium, B vitamins and manganese
  • Part of the disease-fighting cruciferous vegetable family
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits help lower risk of chronic illnesses
  • Supports heart health by lowering cholesterol
  • Affordable and keeps well in the fridge

Both red and green cabbage varieties are nutritional powerhouses. Eat it raw, roasted, sautéed or simmered in soups.

The Takeaway on Ham and Cabbage Nutrition

The bottom line is that ham and cabbage can be a very healthy pairing when enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet. Cabbage provides major vegetable nutrition. And ham adds protein, minerals and savory flavor.

Be mindful of sodium content, and pair these dishes with other veggies and probiotic foods. But don’t be afraid to enjoy the classic deliciousness and nutritional benefits of ham and cabbage. This tasty combo is a winner.

How to make a healthy and delicious Ham and Cabbage Soup

How do you cook a ham and cabbage dish?

To cook a ham and cabbage dish, grab a large skillet and over medium high heat add the butter. Add the cubed ham and let it begin to brown. Next, add the sliced onion and cabbage. Cook until the cabbage is fork tender. Season with black pepper and serve hot.

What to eat with ham & cabbage?

Ham, cabbage, and onions are sautéed in butter until the cabbage is tender. That’s all there is to it! Serve up a side dish like some boiled and buttered potatoes (you could even mix them right in with the ham and cabbage if you wanted to), and you’ve got yourself one satisfying and tasty dinner!

How do you cook cabbage ham & onion?

This is an old Irish trick for cooking perfect cabbage every time. Stir the cabbage into the browned ham and onion mixture. The cabbage will begin to add moisture to the dish as it cooks. That moisture will allow you to scrape the bottom of the pan for the tasty brown bits. Don’t skip that step.

What can I make with leftover ham?

To use up leftover ham, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add butter. Add the cubed ham and let it begin to brown. Next, add the sliced onion and cabbage. Once the cabbage is fork tender, the dish is done. Season with black pepper and serve hot. This ham and cabbage recipe is a great way to repurpose leftover ham.

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