When it comes to making the perfect sandwich, we all have our favourites.
But how healthy for you is that turkey club or Italian sub?
We decided to do some number crunching to determine which deli meat was high enough in nutrients and low enough in sodium and fat to be crowned the ultimate healthiest lunch meat.
For the purposes of a constant comparison, we looked specifically at Boar’s Head meats purchased at our local grocery store. Still, the nutrition for each meat shouldn’t vary too much based on the brand.
Unfortunately, salami is the worst meat on the list as far as nutrition goes. At 110 calories for just a 1 oz. (about 3 slices) serving, it has some of the highest fat, cholesterol, and sodium of the lunch meats. Plus, like many of the meats on this list, it's cured. Several recent studies have suggested a link between high daily consumption of cured meats and certain types of cancer.
Devon doesn't fare a whole lot better than salami, though it is cholesterol-free. It's still high in fat, sodium, and has 150 calories per 2-oz. serving (about two slices).
A New York deli staple, pastrami doesn't fare much better than its processed meat counterparts, though it is lower in calories at 80 per serving. One 2-oz. serving (about two slices) has a quarter of your daily sodium intake and 11% of your daily cholesterol, though it also has a quarter of your recommended daily protein intake.
Surprisingly, honey ham's high sodium content outweighed some of its more positive attributes in this ranking. A 2-oz. serving has just 60 calories 20% of your daily recommended protein, but about a quarter of your daily sodium intake. Still, it's a relatively low-fat option with only 2% of your daily intake per serving.
With its low sodium and high protein content, roast beef is the best choice among the red meat options. It still has 11% of your daily cholesterol intake, but it also has a fair amount of potassium and iron compared to some of the lighter meats.
Honey ham's smoked cousin rose in the ranks thanks to its slightly lower sodium content (19% daily intake vs. honey ham's 24%) and 5% of your recommended daily potassium intake. Like honey ham, black forest smoked ham has 60 calories per 2-oz. serving.
If you thought plain, dependable oven-roasted turkey would win this contest, think again. Coming in at #2, roasted turkey has slightly more sodium (15% of your daily intake), which puts it at a slight disadvantage. It's still a great, low-calorie, high-protein option compared to others on this list, with 26% of your daily protein and 60 calories per 2-oz. serving.
In the end, smoked turkey reigned supreme, thanks to its lower sodium content (10% daily intake per 2-oz. serving) at just 60 calories per serving. However, unlike roasted turkey, smoked turkey does contain 9% of your daily intake of cholesterol.
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