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Football season is kicking into high gear, which means tailgating and game-day parties.  And grilling up sausage is one of the simplest – and most popular – fan favorites, so in today’s Love it, Like it, Hate it, we’re Getting the Skinny on better-for-you options that keep the flavor with a fraction of the calories and saturated fat.

Keep in mind that sausage of any type is not ‘healthy’ – in fact, all cured meats are considered Class 1 Carcinogens, so if sausage is in the gameday line-up, keep it as an accompaniment or extra, not the main event.

  • Turkey or chicken sausage is typically lighter option, but not always
  • Calories: calories range from ~40 to 70 calories per ounce
  • Salt is one of the main drawback of most sausage, with ~500 mg sodium for just 2-3 ounces
  • Nitrites: look for sausage with no added nitrites or nitrates, linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer.



Any low-sat fat chicken or turkey sausage, with no added nitrates/nitrites, like:


Al fresco Chicken Sausage – Sweet Italian Style [available Walmart]

Per link (~3-oz): 110 calories, 1.5 grams sat fat, 500 mg sodium, 2 grams carbs, 0 fiber, 13 grams protein


Tofurkey Plant-Based Original Italian Sausage [available Walmart]

Per link (3.5 oz): 270 calories, 1.5 grams sat fat, 490 mg sodium, 10 grams carb, 2 grams fiber, 24 grams protein




Whole Foods Organic Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage [sodium even higher]

Per link (~3-oz): 130 calories, 2 grams sat fat, 680 mg sodium, 2 grams carbs, 1 gram fiber, 14 grams protein



Contains added nitrites/nitrates + even more sodium than LOVE IT + LIKE IT options


Johnsonville Turkey Smoked Sausage

Per 3-oz serving: 145 calories, 2 grams sat fat, 920 mg sodium, 6 grams carbs, 0 fiber, 13 grams protein


Manda Smoked Chicken Sausage with Green Onion

Per 3-oz serving: 105 calories, 1 gram sat fat, 810 mg sodium, 3 grams carbs, 0 fiber, 15 grams protein




Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her articles in Thrive Global!   Follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD – and check out her weekly podcast; just search ‘Molly Kimball’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.