Rediscovering deli meat

A deli turkey sandwich on whole wheat toasted bread.Since I’ve been on this new low-carb, low-sugar, low-sodium kick, I’ve been avoiding deli meat like the plague. Why? Primarily due to the sodium levels.

Looking at some of the nutritional values for deli turkey or Black Forest ham was a bit of a shocker. Some of them were boasting 400+ mg of sodium for a single slice of meat.

I mourned the loss of one of my old favourites from my meal plan but I really couldn’t justify having deli meat sandwiches if the sodium levels would fill up my day’s worth of sodium in two sandwiches.

However, walking through the deli section recently (to get to another area, in truth) got me to stop and browse a bit. I was craving it. I love deli turkey. I’m not a huge fan of the other meats, though there was a maple ham I didn’t mind and a sundried tomato basil chicken that was pretty good. But something caught my eye: Maple Leaf Natural Selections. I started comparing some of the packages from other brands to it.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that although the sodium was still higher than I’d like, it wasn’t as bad as some of the other brands. Have a look yourself:

Nutritional values (2 slices): 35 calories, 0g carbs, 1g fat, 8g protein, 285mg sodium, 0g sugars
(Values from
Nutritional values (1 slice): 18 calories, 0g carbs, 0g fat, 4g  protein, 143mg sodium, 0g sugars

I normally don’t like the pre-packaged deli meat and usually go for the freshly-sliced stuff behind the counter, but hubby promised me that if we bought a couple of packages and I didn’t like this stuff, he’d eat it (he’s not so picky).

So, using some of the veggies I had left over from a Subway Veggie Delite salad (waste not, want not!), I made this sandwich (on Weight Watchers bread):

A package of Maple Leaf's "Natural Selections" turkey slices

It was pretty darned good, if I do say so myself. Two slices was more than enough to be able to taste the meat in the sandwich. With butter, a little bit of fat free Italian dressing, a slice of PC Blue Menu  provolone cheese, the sandwich was super tasty and was a decent dinner:

Nutritional values: 325 cal,  25g carbs, 19g fat (mostly from the butter), 18g protein, 726mg sodium, 5g sugars

You can cut back on those values by omitting butter or the dressing or both. (I used 1 Tbsp salted butter and maybe 1/4 Tbsp of the dressing… just a taste.) So the sodium is still high and could be cut back by only having one slice of the turkey, or again, cutting back on the butter/dressing, or even using a “thin bun” instead (they have a little less than the bread).

Even just using one slice of meat changes these values to approx.: 307 cal, 25g carbs, 18g fat, 14g protein, 583mg sodium, 5g sugars. My point to all of this? Having deli meat on my new-found meal plan is possible, but I just have to search for better choices, adjust portions accordingly, and remember not to over-do it nor have it all the time. It’s a learning experience, for sure!

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