Even if you don’t have time to cook three meals a day, you can still eat well with sandwiches if you choose the best healthy low sodium lunch meats. Finding healthy cuts of lunch meat (or any processed meat) that are also delicious can be quite a challenge, though — and if you’re having trouble deciding on the right deli meat for your sandwiches and wraps, we’ve got you covered.
In this handy guide, we’ll be covering everything you need to know for choosing the best healthy low sodium lunch meats, including buying considerations, a list of our 7 favorite low sodium lunch meats, and suggestions for how to use these cuts in a variety of recipes. Let’s get started!
Before You Buy: Considerations for Healthy Low Sodium Lunch Meats
First, let’s take a closer look at the major concerns that you should take into account before deciding on a low sodium lunch meat:
From The Experts: How Much Salt Is Healthy?
Because excessive sodium intake increases the risk of heart troubles, the American Heart Association is the go-to authority on how much sodium you should have in your diet. Here’s a statement from their article “How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day?“
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. Because the average American eats so much excess sodium, even cutting back by 1,000 milligrams a day can significantly improve blood pressure and heart health.
They then go on to clarify: “And remember, more than 70 percent of the sodium Americans eat comes from packaged, prepared and restaurant foods — not the salt shaker.”
Check Your Labels
Did you know that the United States Food and Drug Administration has an official system for listing sodium content on labels? It’s an incredibly handy way to decide on low sodium lunch meats when you’re at the grocery store. Here is what each label means:
- Reduced Sodium foods have at least 25 percent less sodium than the food used for reference (in this case, a full-sodium lunch meat).
- Low Sodium foods contain less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.
- Very Low Sodium foods have less then 35 mg of sodium per serving.
- Salt- or Sodium-Free foods have no more than 5 mg of sodium per serving.
If you’re looking for brands in a grocery store near you, keep these guidelines in mind to help you find the healthiest lunch meats.
Our Top 7 Favorite Low Sodium Lunch Meats
We’re usually on the side of choosing a diverse spread of brands to feature in our articles. In this case, however, there is one outstanding brand for low sodium lunch meats that’s head and shoulders above the rest: Boar’s Head. Let’s take a closer look at five of their most delicious and healthiest deli meat options.
Thought you couldn’t eat bacon if you’re on a reduced sodium diet? Think again. Boar’s Head’s uncured turkey bacon is amazingly flavorful, and has just enough fat content to still crisp up when sautéed. It’s perfect for BLTs and as a topping for salads.
Free of preservatives and low in sodium, Boar’s Head’s no salt added turkey breast is recommended by the American Heart Association. It’s also free of gluten, nitrates and sodium nitrite, dairy products, and MSG, making it an excellent choice for a healthy low sodium lunch meat.
Made from the tender and flavorful cap-off top round cut, this lunch meat is given a basic seasoning of salt, pepper, and garlic before being roasted to delicate perfection. Highly recommended for roast beef sandwiches.
A classic lunch meat staple re-imagined with much lower sodium, this is one of Boar’s Head’s most popular products. It’s slow cooked and slices easily, making it a great choice for sandwiches, salads, or wraps.
Pork, beef, and savory spices are pureed into a smooth and tasty lunch meat product, all without the salt that usually comes with bologna and cured. It’s hard to think of a better lunch meat to pair with a grilled cheese — bonus points if you pair it with Boar’s Head’s lower sodium American cheese as well.
Heart healthy, preservative free, and certified low in sodium, Boar’s Head’s reduced sodium turkey breast is an amazingly clean and healthy lunch meat / deli turkey choice. They recommend serving it in a turkey and avocado wrap with roasted red pepper hummus — yum! If you use Boar’s Head’s packaged products, it’s a quick, easy, and healthy meal any time of day. Also look for their oven roasted turkey breast.
With 42% lower sodium than their original oven roasted chicken breast, the golden classic chicken breast is a healthy alternative that’s endorsed by the American Heart Association. It’s delicious on a chicken sandwich, or as part of an appetizer tray with other low-sodium meats and cheeses.
With all of that in mind, you’re now fully informed and ready to choose the best healthy low sodium lunch meats for your next meal. If you’re looking for more ways to make your low sodium diet also lower calorie and lower in saturated fat, we recommend checking out our guide to air fryers for meat — a low-fat cooking method that still leaves your food crispy and delicious.