Healthy eating doesn’t have to come to a stop when you hit the Melville deli counter. You can make smart and healthy food choices with deli meats, cheeses, and salads, all you need to do is be very careful about the ingredients in the dishes and items you order from the deli department.
That means getting educated about your options and reading and understanding the labels on every item in the counter. Ordering healthy options is no different here than at a restaurant or other eating establishment where you can enjoy prepared foods.
Since there are so many choices available to you, it might be rather challenging to stay heart-healthy and calorie conscious when you explore your deli options. But as long as you learn about which items are good for you and which ones should be avoided completely, you can determine how to proceed for the best nutritional benefits possible.
When you step up to the deli counter, you’re dealing primarily with two categories of food items: meats and salads. But in both instances, you have to be careful about what you select because you are faced with a myriad of potential unhealthy ingredients such as additives and preservatives, artificial colors, salts, saturated fats, nitrates, and carbohydrates.
All of these are things that health-conscious eaters are going to want to avoid putting into their bodies.
So when it comes to selecting the best meats and salads, be sure to identify those items that are high in protein, potassium, calcium, and other various nutrients that are good for you.
I know what you’re thinking, if you’re cutting all of those unhealthy elements out of your dietary routine you’re most likely going to be sacrificing taste and enjoyment of your meal at the same time. Well nothing could be further from the truth. The biggest misconception of healthy eating is that it doesn’t actually taste good but there are many very tasty deli items that are also good for you.
Let’s take a look at how you can make smart and healthy food choices the next time you peer into that deli case so you can eat a healthy meal that doesn’t leave your tastebuds high and dry.
Deli Meat Options
The most popular deli meat among American consumers is turkey. In fact it is so popular that you will find a wide range of different types of it in the case. Smoked turkey, honey turkey, spicy turkey, low sodium turkey, you get the picture.
When you go up to the counter and ask for a half pound of turkey sliced thin, the clerk is likely going to ask you which kind you want. That’s because there are numerous different types of turkey available.
It’s up to you to specify which version you prefer.
Which brings us to the most important aspect of ordering anything from the deli counter if you put a high value on making healthy food choices: Labels. Reading the labels on the packaging of deli meats will tell you all you need to know about the ingredients contained within.
But sometimes those labels aren’t easily read from where you’re standing, you may need to peer in for a closer look or ask the deli clerk pertinent questions about your options. That’s because you’re looking for specific language and wording to be printed on the side of the wrapper. You should be able to find the nutritional facts chart that explain the ingredients and how much of them are inside the meat you’ve selected.
However, there are other warnings or disclaimers to look out for, explaining how certain nitrates, colors, or preservatives are not contained in your meat. Fortunately, certain types of meat can also help you distinguish between what’s healthy and what is not.
Turkey is your safest bet, followed by ham and then roast beef. Just remember that deli meats are manufactured through specific processes that introduce many of the unhealthy ingredients that were previously mentioned. So always look before you buy.
When you see salads in the deli case, you can find the traditional version that incorporate fresh veggies including lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, corn, and so on. That may sound healthy but watch out for heavy oils and dressings that contain fats. When you order, try to get those last additions on the side as you may not be eating the low-fat or low sodium dressings that are available on your supermarket shelf.
But deli counters offer “salads” which are mixtures of eggs, mayonnaise, macaroni, and/or potatoes, all combined in one container. These are the less healthy salads which usually come with higher fat content and increased calorie counts. So you can ask if these items have been made with low or no fat elements. Chances are they haven’t been, unless you find yourself at one of those high-end organic supermarkets.