3 Tips for Choosing the Healthiest Cold Cuts

Cold cuts are a staple for quick sandwiches, lettuce roll-ups, salads, and snacks. But before you stop at the deli counter or pick up prepackaged deli meats, check out this shopping guide to learn which deli meats are South Beach Diet-friendly and which you should avoid:

  1. Choose lean meats. When shopping for cold cuts, make sure you buy meats that are low in saturated fat. Also look for those that are all-natural, lower-sodium, and nitrite- and nitrate-free. Your best bets include:

     

    • Chicken breast, regular; smoked (all-natural, uncured); or peppered
    • Turkey breast, regular; smoked (all-natural, uncured); or peppered
    • Ham, boiled or smoked (all-natural, uncured)
    • Lean roast beef

     

  2. Avoid packaged processed meats with fillers. Fillers are carbohydrate additives that are used to hold the meat together and reduce production costs. Check labels for modified food starch, wheat starch, and/or cornstarch in the ingredient list, and avoid products made with these fillers unless they appear near the end of the ingredient list. If this is the case, the amount of starch is minuscule. If a product says it’s gluten free, it cannot include fillers made from wheat.

     

  3. Steer clear of meats with added sugars. Avoid purchasing a product that’s sugar-cured, maple-cured, or honey-baked. If you’d like to add more flavor to your deli meat in a sandwich or salad, try spreading it with a little plain Dijon mustard, mayo, or horseradish, or drizzle on a little home-made vinaigrette or some low-sugar prepared salad dressing.

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