A substitute for deli meats?

edited August 2020 in General Nutrition

Salutations from Sunny Greece. B)

Lately I've been using sandwiches as a dinner option, using a couple of rye bread slices, a slice of cheese and some turkey luncheon meat (deli-meat) with condiments. I use a grill toaster for them, and tend to consume them with an egg and a carrot. They are fast to make, the preparation is easy (just mixing ingredients you have in your fridge), are considered a whole meal and have good nutrition stats.

I would like to replace the turkey I've been using, since it is essentially a processed meat with nitrates and nitrites in it. I do have trouble though finding a suitable low cal (around 40-50 max) source of protein to pair with my bread and cheese sandwich.

Suggestions? Any help would be vastly appreciated, cheers.. <3


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    Greetings from Hot and Humid Tennessee.

    Turkey breast is about 40 calories an ounce, chicken breast ~50, and pork loin roughly 60. A serving the size of a deck of cards or your palm is maybe 3½ to 5 ounces.

    So if I had to fix my own lunch, given your constraints, I'd spend 100 to 200 calories on lean meats like the three examples mentioned above and cut back on calories in the bread, cheese, condiments, and fat you're probably using on the grill.

    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan

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    Hi from Canada!

    It's always best to get your meat from the meat vs. the deli section of the grocery store. I'd suggest batch cooking chicken or turkey breast and freezing it for your sandwiches.

    Alternative fillings that you could swap include:

    • Tuna or salmon (canned in unsalted water)
    • Eggs
    • Chickpea salad
    • Grilled tofu or tempeh

    Hope this helps!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    Many thanks for the replies. For the time being, I added 4 kalamata olives and some cooked mushrooms to the mix, while taking out the turkey luncheon meat. Great suggestions above btw, will try them out!

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