Cold cuts, also known as deli meats, luncheon meats, or sliced meats, are pre-cooked or cured meat products that are typically served cold in sandwiches or on charcuterie boards. These can include ham, turkey, chicken, roast beef, salami, pepperoni, and various other types of meat.
When chosen wisely, cold cuts can be a convenient and tasty source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They’re easy to store, have a long shelf life, and can make meal preparation quick and simple. However, it’s important to choose high-quality brands with minimal additives to ensure you’re consuming the healthiest options available.
Boar’s Head is a premium deli meat brand known for its high-quality, flavorful cold cuts. They offer a wide variety of meats, including turkey, ham, salami, and roast beef. Boar’s Head is committed to using only the finest ingredients and adheres to strict quality standards, making it a popular choice for those seeking top-notch deli meats.
Dietz & Watson
Dietz & Watson is a family-owned company that has been producing high-quality deli meats since 1939. They offer a wide range of cold cuts, including turkey, ham, roast beef, and various types of salami. Dietz & Watson is committed to using only the best ingredients and traditional European recipes, ensuring a delicious and authentic taste.
Hillshire Farm is a popular brand known for its smoked and cured meats, such as ham, turkey, and roast beef. With a focus on quality and flavor, Hillshire Farm offers a variety of cold cuts that are perfect for sandwiches, charcuterie boards, or simply snacking.
Columbus Craft Meats
Columbus Craft Meats is a brand that specializes in artisanal salami and deli meats, using traditional Italian recipes and high-quality ingredients. Their selection includes various types of salami, prosciutto, and other cured meats, making it a popular choice for those seeking gourmet cold cuts with a rich, authentic taste.
Applegate Naturals offers a wide variety of gluten-free deli meats made from humanely-raised animals without antibiotics or GMOs. Their selection includes Black Forest Ham, Herb Turkey Breast, Oven-Roasted Chicken Breast, Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast, Roast Beef, Slow-Cooked Ham, Smoked Chicken Breast, and Smoked Turkey Breast.
365 Whole Foods Market
365 by Whole Foods Market is the store’s signature brand, offering an array of cold cuts made with high-quality ingredients. From their organic oven-roasted turkey to their uncured applewood smoked ham, you can trust that these products are made with health-conscious consumers in mind.
Land O’ Frost
Land O’ Frost offers a range of gluten-free deli meats such as their Old World Style Black Forest Ham. However, some of their products have high sodium content or contain additives, so it’s essential to read the labels carefully and enjoy them in moderation.
Sara Lee is known for its delicious baked goods, but they also offer a selection of cold cuts under their Deli brand. Their meats are free from artificial colors, flavors, and by-products, making them a healthier choice than some other brands on the market.
Oscar Mayer is a popular brand of cold cuts in the United States, offering a wide variety of products, including lower-sodium options and natural selections. While some of their products may contain more additives than others, they do provide a range of healthier choices for consumers who prefer this well-known brand.
Tips for Choosing Cold Cuts
Select cold cuts made from lean cuts of meat, such as turkey, chicken breast, lean ham, or roast beef. These options have higher nutritional value and less saturated fat compared to other types of deli meat.
High sodium intake can lead to health issues like high blood pressure and heart disease. Opt for low-sodium cold cuts to reduce your overall sodium consumption.
Choose cold cuts made from animals raised without the use of antibiotics, as the overuse of antibiotics in livestock can contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans.
No Added Sugar
Some cold cuts contain added sugar, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Look for products with little to no added sugar to keep your diet as healthy as possible.
Avoid Processed Meats with Harmful Additives
Some processed meats contain harmful additives like nitrates, nitrites, or excessive amounts of sodium. Steer clear of these products and opt for healthier choices when selecting your cold cuts.
Healthy Alternatives to Cold Cuts
Cook Your Own Meat
Prepare and slice your own meat at home to control the quality of ingredients and avoid any unwanted additives. Roast a chicken or turkey breast, cook up a lean cut of beef, or grill some fish for a tasty and healthy alternative to store-bought cold cuts.
Slice Your Own Chicken
Purchase a rotisserie chicken or cook your own, then slice it into thin pieces for use in sandwiches and salads. This option allows you to enjoy a delicious, preservative-free meat option for your meals.
Make Your Own Beef Cuts
Roast a lean cut of beef, such as eye of round or top sirloin, and slice it thinly for use in sandwiches or wraps. This homemade option is a healthier alternative to processed roast beef cold cuts.
Make Veggie Wraps, Salads & Plant-Based Proteins
For a meat-free alternative, try creating veggie wraps or salads with plant-based proteins like chickpeas, lentils, tofu, or tempeh. These options provide a healthy source of protein without the additives found in some cold cuts.
Tofurky offers a range of plant-based deli slices made from ingredients like organic tofu and wheat protein. These products are a great alternative for those looking to reduce their consumption of animal products while still enjoying the convenience of cold cuts.
What are the top deli meats?
The top deli meats include turkey, ham, bologna, salami, and corned beef, with various flavors and variations available.
What is the most popular cold cut?
The most popular cold cut is turkey, followed by ham, bologna, salami, and corned beef.
What are good cold cuts?
Good cold cuts are those that are lean and minimally processed, such as turkey, chicken breast, lean ham, or roast beef.
What is the unhealthiest deli meat?
The unhealthiest deli meat is salami, as it has a high calorie and fat content, and is highly processed, which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Cold cuts can be a convenient and delicious addition to your diet when chosen wisely. Opt for high-quality brands with minimal additives, lean cuts of meat, and low-sodium options to ensure you’re making the healthiest choices possible. Don’t forget to explore alternative options like cooking your own meat or trying plant-based proteins for added variety and nutrition in your meals.