Most people take lunch meat to work or school with them almost every day. Most people don’t know which ones to eat…ham? Turkey? Chicken? Most everyone knows that ham is high in sodium, for those of you who have heart problems etc. But, did you know that it makes a HUGE difference in the manufacturer? Probably not…like everyone else, you probably walk up to the counter, look at the prices, look to see which one says “low sodium” or something else that “looks” healthy and go with it! That’s ok…at least your paying attention and trying to be healthy. Well, I am going to try and open your eyes a little bit and show you the difference that it does make. I have included a spreadsheet of the top few deli meat companies, with their calories, fat, sodium, ingredients etc to show you the differences in them.
I can’t tell you which one to go with, only your nutritionist can tell you that, because everyone’s health and dietary needs are different. But, when you look at this spreadsheet, you need to look at the whole thing….for those of you with heart disease, make sure you pay attention to the sodium and cholesterol, those with diabetes, make sure you pay attention to the sugar content etc. You will notice though that those of you who have heart disease and thought you could never have ham again…look again….the Boars’ Head All Natural Roasted Turkey Breast has 330 mg of sodium and the Boars’ Head All Natural Uncured Ham has 340 mg of sodium! Their All Natural Cap-off Top Round Roast Beef has only 140 mg of sodium! So…make sure you pay attention to what you’re eating! I think you’ll be surprised once you start reading all the labels.
Another thing that I noticed and was majorly freaked out about was the ingredients in these meats! When I was designing the spreadsheet, I had to keep making the ingredient section bigger…only because of the Oscar Meyer meats!!! There are sooo many chemicals in their meats…that I don’t think there is actually any meat left!
OK…now on to nitrates. Most people have no clue what they are, but have heard that they are bad for you. Well…yes and no. Nitrates are used in foods to maintain color and microbial safety. The nitrates themselves are not harmless…BUT they can convert to nitrites in your body which in turn cause cancer. SO…we don’t want anything with nitrates or nitrites in them! If you do have something with nitrates, have a glass of orange juice at the same time or an orange (i.e. with your bacon in the morning), as vitamin C will stop the nitrates from converting to nitrites in your stomach.
Now you may be wondering what you can have for lunch…well, I never said you CAN’T have lunch meat…just watch your ingredients and read your nutrition labels. The best thing to do though is to cut up left over chicken and use that on your sandwiches or left over roast beef etc. The more “whole-cut” meat you can have…the better off you are. You can also have canned tuna, in water, for a lower sodium and fat content…but don’t have it every day, as you need to watch the mercury level.
And ALWAYS….add green leafy lettuce (like Romaine) and tomato to your sandwiches. This is the easiest and best way to get those vegetables into your diet. Add the lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion and any other veggie to your sandwich…not only do you get your veggies…but it changes the whole taste of your sandwich, fills you up so you’re not so hungry later on and you will actually enjoy your lunch….try it!! You won’t be sorry…I promise!
Good luck and I wish you the best of health!!