When it comes to lunchtime choices, sandwiches made with deli meats are a popular choice among all age brackets. For those that are health conscious, with goals of weight loss or overall healthy living desires, the ingredients that you place between two slices of bread can be a challenge. What are the best deli meats for a healthy lunchtime sandwich?
Ingredients and Nutrition Facts
When standing at the deli counter, contemplating the wide variety of deli meats available, carefully scrutinize the labeling and consider the ingredients used in the meat, as well as the nutrition facts. Some items to pay close attention to include:
- Fat and Saturated Fat
- Sodium (Ideally, this should be no more than 500 mg per serving)
- Nitrates and Nitrites (cancer causing agents)
- Check to see if the Heart Health symbol is located on the packaging
1. Turkey Breast
Turkey breast can generally always be considered a healthy choice when it comes to deli meat. If possible, purchase the low-sodium turkey breast from the deli. In a leading brand of smoked turkey breast, a serving size is 4 slices. In these 4 slices, there are 30 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0.2 grams of saturated fat, 390 mg of sodium, 15 mg of cholesterol and 6 grams of protein.
2. Chicken Breast
As is the case with deli turkey, chicken breast makes another wise choice for lunchmeat. In a leading brand of country deli chicken breast, a serving size is 2 ounces. In those 2 ounces, there are 50 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 26 mg of cholesterol, 500 mg of sodium and 10 grams of protein. As you can see, the sodium count is higher than turkey. If possible, purchase a low-sodium variety of deli chicken breast to reduce the sodium levels.
While there are varieties of deli-style ham that are not healthy and would not be recommended, some varieties are better. For example, Applegate Farms uncured black forest ham is low in sodium and contains no preservatives. In addition, it is minimally processed. In 2 ounces of ham, there are 50 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 480 mg of sodium, 35 mg of cholesterol and 10 grams of protein.
4. Roast Beef
Because of the calories, fat and sodium within roast beef, the serving sizes tend to be lower. In a leading brand of roast beef, the serving size is 1 ounce. In that one ounce of meat, there are 50 calories, 1.1 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 12 mg of cholesterol, 407 mg of sodium and 8 grams of protein.
Deli Meats to Avoid
Due to their high fat, calorie and sodium content, as well as being loaded with nitrates and nitrites, there are several deli meats that should be avoided. These include:
- Bacon (unless it is turkey bacon)