Dr. Ian Smith goes undercover at Landi’s, a deli in Brooklyn, New York to help customers make smarter food choices. According to Dr. Ian, healthy adults should eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for lunch, but the unfortunate reality is we’re most likely eating double that. The problem? Many of the deli meats we eat are deceptively fattening, especially if they’re heavily processed, like bologna. Moderately processed deli meats include oven baked ham or turkey. So what’s healthiest choice? Dr. Ian says any fresh meats that are oven-baked and on the bone are the meats to eat! Dr. Ian gives us the breakdown below on what eat (and what not to eat) at the deli.
Sandwiches: Choose Pastrami, Not Salami
Salami is undoubtedly jam-packed with flavor, but you can get great flavor from pastrami, too! “Even though pastrami isn’t going to win any health awards, the beauty of it is it does have some protein which is good for your muscles,” says Dr. Ian. He says you’ll also cut around 200 milligrams of sodium and 100 calories from your lunch.
Keep Ham to a Minimum
Deli ham tends to be processed, so it’s not the healthiest, but it also isn’t the worst. If you’re set on eating that for lunch, be sure to watch the portion size. Dr. Ian recommends only using 1/4-inch of the sliced meat on your sandwich. The rest of the sandwich should be full of fresh veggies - think lettuce, tomato, peppers and maybe an optional slice of low-fat cheese
Choose Avocado Over Cheese on Your Sandwich
Choose creamy slices of avocado instead of cheese on your sandwich will add fiber and protein to your lunch!
Dress Your Sandwich with Hummus, Not Mayo
Dr. Ian says simply swapping in hummus instead of mayo could save you 70 calories!
Choose Whole Wheat Bread, Not Refined White Bread
The easiest sandwich swap of all is the bread. He says to always choose whole grain over white because the grains are complete which means it’s full of vital nutrients, compared to white bread which is full of refined grains, so they take a lot of the good stuff out. You’ll also save around 8 grams of carbs.
If You Love Antipasto “Salad”
Antipasto salad is of course delicious, but it’s loaded with heavily processed, fatty meats! Dr. Ian says to instead have a fresh garden salad, mushroom salad or olive salad. Must have the antipasto? He says since it’s sitting in a sodium-rich brine to drain it out as much as possible. “Ask them to give you more of the veggies, a little more of the fresh mozzarella, and stay away from those meats that tend to be highly processed.”
Building the Perfect Healthy Salad (Without Accidental Sabotage)
Choose Dark Leafy Greens Over Iceberg Lettuce
Your salad base should include dark leafy greens which are full of vitamin k, fiber and iron. Dr. Ian says to stay away from iceberg lettuce - it’s mostly water and doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value.
Top Your Salad WIth Blue Cheese, Not Cheddar
Cheese is great - just not a lot of it. Keep in mind that the standard serving size is about 1.5 ounces and could add 15 grams of fat and 150 calories to your salad. Here’s some important cheesy knowledge:
Feta = 100 calories
Cheddar = 113 calories
Blue cheese = 60 calories (but don’t use it as a dressing!)
Mozzarella = 78 calories
Choose Lean Proteins Over Fatty, Processed Ones
Keep your tummy full all day long by adding lean proteins to your salad. Chicken is low in fat and super high in protein. Dr. Ian says 1 cup of it diced will give you 43 grams of protein! Tuna is around 25 grams, and chickpeas (he says it's one of the best sources of non-animal protein) will add 12 grams of protein.
For Crunch, Top Your Salad With Sunflower Seeds, Not Croutons or Bacon Bits
Do have sesame and/or sunflower seeds. They’re crunchy which Dr. Ian says is a natural appetite suppressant, and only around 50 calories!
Be sure to stay away from bacon bits - they’re 43 calories per teaspoon (yikes)! And croutons - those sneaky little devils may look innocent but they’re packed with around 247 milligrams of sodium.
Choose Simple Salad Dressings, Not Creamy Ones
Now that you’ve built your healthy colorful salad, be sure not to sabotage it with your choice of dressing. A good rule of thumb? Thick creamy dressings tend to be full of calories and fat. Rachael says you should be able to see through it! Stick to oil and vinegar, or olive oil and lemon dressings.