Black forest ham is a popular deli meat that many people enjoy in sandwiches, on pizza, in salads, and more. But when watching your calorie intake, it’s important to know how many calories are in a typical serving size. In this article, we’ll take a close look at the calorie and nutrition facts for 2 oz of black forest ham.
What Is Black Forest Ham?
Black forest ham is a type of dry-cured ham that originated in Germany. It gets its name from the Black Forest region in southwestern Germany where it was first produced. Black forest ham has a distinctive appearance with a dark maroon to black color and is studded with whole black peppercorns. It has a bold, spicy flavor thanks to the peppercorns and the seasonings used in curing the meat. Black forest ham tends to be leaner and drier than many other deli ham varieties.
Traditional German black forest ham is made from rear leg meat of pigs fed on a diet rich in whey and potatoes. The meat is cured with salt, then seasoned with garlic, coriander, and the signature whole black peppercorns. It is cold smoked over conifer and juniper wood fires to impart a smoky flavor. Genuine German black forest ham has a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status from the European Union.
In the US, most black forest ham is not actually produced in Germany. Domestic black forest ham includes seasonings like garlic and peppercorns to mimic the flavor of the authentic German product. US commercial producers of black forest ham include brands like Hillshire Farm, Dietz & Watson, and Cook’s.
Nutrition Facts For 2 Ounces of Black Forest Ham
The nutrition facts can vary slightly between brands, but 2 ounces (about 2 thin deli slices) of black forest ham generally contains:
As you can see, a 2 oz serving of black forest ham contains 70 calories. It is also a good source of protein, providing 12g per serving. However, it is quite high in sodium content, with 470mg per 2 oz slice. The saturated fat and cholesterol levels are relatively low.
Here is a further breakdown of where the calories come from in 2 oz of black forest ham:
- Protein: 48 calories (12g protein x 4 calories per gram)
- Fat: 22 calories (2.5g total fat x 9 calories per gram)
- Carbohydrates: 4 calories (1g carbs x 4 calories per gram)
As you can see, the majority of calories in black forest ham (about 69%) come from protein. 29% of the calories come from fat, while carbohydrates make up just 6% of the total calories.
Black Forest Ham Calorie and Nutrition Comparison With Other Popular Deli Meats
How does the calorie and nutrition profile of black forest ham compare to other popular deli meats like turkey, roast beef, and salami? Here is a handy comparison:
|Deli Meat (2 oz serving)
|Black Forest Ham
|Roasted Turkey Breast
Black forest ham is moderate in calories and fat compared to other deli options. Roast turkey breast has slightly fewer calories and less fat, while roast beef has a bit more of both per serving compared to black forest ham. Genoa salami is significantly higher in calories and fat content than black forest ham.
In terms of sodium, black forest ham, turkey, and salami all contain about 470mg per 2 oz serving. Roast beef has a bit less at 360mg. In general, most cured and processed deli meats tend to be high in sodium content.
Ways To Enjoy Black Forest Ham While Watching Calories
Here are some tips for enjoying black forest ham as part of a healthy, calorie-conscious diet:
1. Stick To The Recommended Serving Size
While black forest ham is relatively low in calories, it’s important to stick to the recommended serving size of around 2 oz. Eating multiple servings can quickly cause the calories and sodium to stack up.
2. Choose Lower Sodium Options When Available
Look for lower sodium versions of black forest ham to help reduce your overall sodium intake for the day. There are some brands that make reduced sodium options.
3. Serve On Fiber-Rich Breads And Rolls
Choosing whole grain, high fiber breads and rolls can help balance a black forest ham sandwich nutritionally. The extra fiber will help fill you up.
4. Load Up On Veggies
Pile vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, spinach and avocado on your black forest ham sandwich or salad. It will help add nutrition and volume.
5. Go Easy On High-Calorie Extras
Limit higher calorie extras like cheese, mayo, oil and butter when eating black forest ham. Mustard, hummus, vinegar or lemon juice are flavorful, lower calorie ways to dress up a ham sandwich.
6. Swap Out Unhealthy Sides
Rather than pairing your ham sandwich with chips, fries or other fried sides, go for something like fruit, carrot sticks, a small salad or some cottage cheese.
7. Enjoy In Moderation
Since even 2 oz of black forest ham contains a good amount of sodium, enjoy it in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, rather than eating it daily. Limiting to a few times per week can help restrict sodium intake.
Health Benefits of Black Forest Ham
Though it is a processed meat and should be eaten in moderation, black forest ham does have some health benefits, including:
- Protein – Black forest ham is an excellent source of protein, with 12g per 2 oz serving. Protein provides necessary amino acids for building and repairing muscles.
- B Vitamins – Pork contains useful B vitamins like niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and B12. These support energy metabolism and red blood cell formation.
- Selenium – Pork is one of the best dietary sources of the essential mineral selenium, which has antioxidant properties.
- Zinc – Black forest ham provides zinc, which is important for immunity, DNA, and growth.
- Phosphorus – Phosphorus in ham helps mineralize bones and teeth.
However, the sodium levels in ham may negatively affect blood pressure in some people. The nitrites used in curing meats have also been linked to some health risks when frequently consumed in large amounts.
Recipe Ideas Using Black Forest Ham
Here are some nutritious, delicious recipes for enjoying black forest ham in different ways while keeping calories in check:
Black Forest Ham and Cheese Omelet
Jazz up your morning omelet with diced ham, shredded cheese, sautéed onions, and spinach or kale. Use just 1 oz diced ham per omelet to limit calories and sodium.
Black Forest Ham Wrap
Spread a whole grain tortilla with a smear of hummus or smashed avocado. Top with 2 oz sliced black forest ham, lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, and a sprinkling of low-fat Swiss cheese. Roll up and enjoy.
Waldorf Salad with Black Forest Ham
In a bowl, mix together chopped apples, celery, grapes, walnuts, and 1-2 oz of diced ham. Toss with plain Greek yogurt and a drizzle of lemon juice for a nutritious salad.
Ham and Swiss Quiche
Make a veggie-packed crustless quiche with whisked eggs, milk, diced onions and peppers, 1 oz chopped ham, and shredded Swiss cheese. Bake until set and serve in wedges.
Black Forest Ham Pizza
Top a whole wheat pizza crust with marinara sauce, sliced mushrooms, peppers, onions, and 1-2 oz thinly sliced ham. Sprinkle with part-skim mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and bake.
Black forest ham can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. A 2 oz serving contains 70 calories, 12g of protein, 2.5g of fat, and 470mg sodium. Sticking to the recommended serving size, limiting sodium intake, and pairing it with nutritious ingredients are good strategies for keeping calories in check.
While ham delivers protein, B vitamins, selenium, and other nutrients, too much processed meat may potentially impact health. Enjoy black forest ham in balance with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and healthy fats as part of your regular rotation.