Is it OK to Eat Deli Meat?

Food & Nutrition

Is it OK to Eat Deli Meat?

Sandwiches are a lunchtime staple and it’s easy to make healthy high-protein versions of your favorites, like turkey or steak. However, deli meat often gets a bad rap for being highly processed (which ups the sodium content). Still, “cold cuts can definitely fit into a well-balanced diet, but the frequency may depend on the type,” says Keri Gans, RD, author of “The Small Change Diet.”

Here, a look at how different cold cuts compare nutritionally, why sodium content matters and how to make a healthy sandwich that helps you reach your health goals.


As you can see, turkey, ham and roast beef run pretty similar in terms of calories, fat and sodium. It’s salami that is markedly higher in fat (including saturated fat) and sodium.

THE SODIUM DILEMMA

“The problem with many deli meats is they are very high in sodium, and for salt-sensitive individuals, this may increase their risk for high blood pressure and heart disease,” says Gans. Even if you’re not particularly worried about salt, think about how you feel after eating a sandwich packed with cold cuts. “For some people, very high-sodium foods can cause bloating, which leads to GI discomfort,” she adds.

Cold cuts are among the top 10 sources of sodium in the American diet, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Consider that the recommendations are to limit your sodium intake to 2,300mg per day. If you’re eating a sandwich with bread, deli meat, cheese and mustard, you may get 1,500mg of sodium in a single meal, says the CDC — and that’s before sides like chips and a pickle.

ARE PRESERVATIVES A PROBLEM?

Deli meat often contains nitrates or nitrites, which are added as preservatives to keep slices fresh. A report from the American Institute of Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund says there’s evidence consuming processed meats daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer. It’s less clear, however, if it’s the nitrates specifically or because of other factors such as lifestyle. “More research is needed, but, in moderation, deli meat is safe,” says Gans.

TIPS FOR EATING DELI MEAT

If you eat a lot of deli meat, look for those free of added nitrates or nitrites. Applegate is one example; major brands also have lines free of these preservatives, says Gans.

Most people should also opt for cold cuts that are lower in sodium (you can look for low-sodium or reduced-sodium on the label). If you have a sandwich, it’s also a good idea to cut back on saltier foods for the remainder of the day.

Choose wisely: “Turkey, ham or roast beef are better choices than salami, bologna or pastrami, because they are lower in sodium, calories and fat,” says Gans. “Fresh roasted” is another buzzword to look for at the deli counter, she says. “These may include fewer preservatives, and thus, less sodium.”

HOW TO BUILD A HEALTHY SANDWICH

Gans advises using four slices of deli meat, max. “Build bulk by adding veggies, not more meat,” she says. Along with the standard lettuce and tomato, consider piling on cucumbers or sliced carrots for crunch or using grilled veggies as toppings. Avocado or hummus can replace mayo or cheese as a spread, which adds healthy monounsaturated fats.

You can also cut down on sodium by using one piece of bread and making it open-faced. Or, try placing a couple pieces of turkey between two slices of bell peppers as the “bread,” or roll it up in hearty greens like kale or collards.

Source: My Fitness Pal

5 Tips to Hack Your Meal Prep

fitness, Food & Nutrition, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized, Workout Wednesday
5 Tips to Hack Your Meal Prep

When you’re loading up the calendar with workouts, family time, friend events and work projects, it’s likely that “make delicious, healthy meals” tumbles too easily down the to-do list. While there are some good grab-and-go options, let’s face it: There are only so many prepared salads and protein bars you can eat before they get boring.

“When you get tired of what you’re eating, that’s when you usually begin to make food choices that you’re not happy about later,” says Melissa Joulwan, author of the popular “Well Fed” cookbook series. “Taking some time every week for meal prep can help keep it interesting.”

By setting aside time for preparing meals and ingredients in advance, you’ll not only zap food boredom, but also have greater control over putting more vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats into your rotation. Best of all, you don’t have to sacrifice a whole day for the effort. Here are some shortcuts Joulwan uses for her own weekly cookup:

1. SCHEDULE THE TIME

Count on about 2–3 hours for the prep, but it doesn’t need to be done all at once. For example, you can do 90 minutes on Sunday morning and 90 more on Wednesday night. The most important aspect is to put it on the schedule and stick to it, so it becomes a habit. For those who have a weekend farmers market nearby, scheduling meal prep for just after shopping can be an easy way to incorporate more veggies into your meals.

2. PREP YOUR EQUIPMENT FIRST

Before she does any chopping or cooking, Joulwan takes out all the utensils and equipment she needs for the effort. For example, she puts several cutting boards on the counter, locates measuring cups, sharpens knives, gets out large mixing bowls and sets up the food processor. Think of it as the “kitchen stadium” approach, where everything you need to use is handy. That 10 minutes of finding everything first saves plenty of time compared to taking out equipment as you need it.

3. THINK INGREDIENTS INSTEAD OF MEALS

There are two main ways to do meal prep — either you create whole meals and put them in containers, or you focus on ingredients that can be thrown together quickly. Joulwan prefers the latter approach, because it allows her to be more creative, and to eat according to her mood. She focuses on “convenience foods” that can be transformed into a variety of meals. These include roasted chicken, hard-boiled eggs, homemade mayo, zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, chopped lettuce and roasted vegetables. When these components are stored in the fridge, meals usually take only 5–10 minutes to prepare, she says.

4. GET SAUCY

Roasted chicken and cauliflower rice with an Indian vindaloo sauce is a very different meal than the same basic ingredients with a Jamaican jerk sauce. To keep tastes interesting, consider spending some prep time creating sauce blends or simply purchase some to have on hand. As with any prepared food, check the ingredients to make sure the sauces aren’t high in sugar or preservatives.


5. PUT THE TUNES ON

When she does meal prep, Joulwan listens to either ‘80s, new wave or Broadway musical soundtracks, so she’s singing and dancing the entire time. If you’re more the movie type, put on one you’ve already seen (since you’ll be looking down while you work) and will love hearing again, or play some podcasts on interesting topics.

“Your time in the kitchen should be productive, but also fun,” says Joulwan. “The more you can make meal prep time enjoyable, the more you’ll look forward to doing it. Rather than see prep as a chore, think of it as a way to make amazing, healthy food for the week ahead, in a way that feels like a fun break from your busy schedule.”

by: ELIZABETH MILLARD
fitness, Food & Nutrition, Uncategorized, Workout Wednesday

What 5 Healthy 500-Calorie Lunches Look Like

What 5 Healthy 500-Calorie Lunches Look Like

Breakfast gets all the credit for being the most important meal of the day, but let’s not forget about the meal that keeps you going after breakfast wears off: lunch! Lunch is your body’s midday energy source, fueling your afternoon so you don’t end up starving long before dinnertime or crashing before your 3 p.m. meeting.

When it comes to lunch, most of us reach for sandwiches. They’re portable, easy to eat and come in a wide variety. They can also become calorie bombs with the bread, cheese, add-ons and condiments. If you want to grab a sandwich, but keep the calories in check, here are a few tips:

GO EASY ON THE CONDIMENTS

A packet of mayo or a few squirts of Thousand Island dressing can easily tack on around 100 calories. Stick to low-cal condiments like mustard, salsa or hot sauce and swap creamy, plain Greek yogurt for mayo whenever possible.

LOAD UP ON VEGGIES

Rather than piling your sandwich with meat and cheese, stack it with high-fiber veggies to sneak in nutrients, a little crunch and added flavor.

WATCH THE BREAD

Bread may be the cornerstone of a good sandwich, but I love using collard greens in place of wraps for an extra dose of veggies. Using collards or lettuce in place of bread means you can enjoy more fillings for the same (or less) calories. It’s also a way to enjoy sandwiches on a lower-carb diet. If you’re a sandwich purist and bread is your jam, opt for fiber-rich, 100% whole-wheat varieties to keep you full longer. (And stay away from the footlong subs!)

Here’s some inspiration for your next brown bag lunch:

Ingredients

5 ounce can albacore tuna, drained
2 tablespoons 2% Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 avocado, sliced
1 cup spinach
1 small tomato, sliced
1/4 cup carrots, shredded
1 large whole-wheat wrap

Directions

Combine the tuna, yogurt and mustard in a small bowl and mix with fork. Place the spinach, avocado and carrots in the center of the wrap and top with tuna salad mixture. Roll the wrap and slice in half. Eat immediately or store for up to one day.

Ingredients

For the burger:
1 whole-wheat burger bun
4 ounces lean ground turkey
1.5 ounce part-skim fresh mozzarella
1 small tomato, sliced
2 tablespoons basil leaves
For the salad:
1 cup lettuce
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette

Directions

For the burger, place a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Shape turkey into a patty about 1/2-inch thick and place in pan, cooking 5 minutes on each side. Place patty on bun and top with mozzarella, tomato and basil leaves.

For the salad, combine lettuce, cucumber and onion in a medium bowl. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.

Ingredients

1 large whole-wheat tortilla
1/3 cup canned black beans, drained
3 ounces cooked, pulled chicken
1/4 avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons salsa
1/2 cup cooked peppers and onions
1/4 cup lettuce, shredded
1 small tomato, sliced
2 tablespoons light shredded Mexican cheese

Directions

Heat the beans, chicken, peppers and onions in the microwave for 1 minute. Heat the tortilla according to package directions. Place the heated ingredients in the center of the tortilla. Top with remaining cold ingredients.. Roll the tortilla and serve immediately or store for up to one day.

Ingredients

1 whole-wheat sandwich roll
3 ounces cooked, pulled chicken
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Sriracha
2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup cucumbers, sliced
1/4 cup lettuce
Cilantro, basil, mint to taste

Directions

Toast or broil the sandwich roll until brown around the edges. Spread mayonnaise and sriracha evenly across the roll. Starting with the pulled chicken, place remaining ingredients in the roll. Finish with cilantro, basil and mint to taste. Fold closed and serve immediately or store for up to one day.

Nutrition: Calories: 467; Total Fat: 10g; Carbohydrate: 63g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Protein: 30g

 

Ingredients

3 large collard green leaves
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup cucumbers, sliced
1 small tomato, sliced
1/3 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup lettuce
1 1/4 cups canned low-sodium black bean soup

Directions

Place 1/3 of the brown rice, carrots, cucumbers, tomato, avocado and lettuce into each collard green leaf. Fold closed and serve immediately with a side of heated black bean soup.

Nutrition: Calories: 497; Total Fat: 13g; Carbohydrates: 88g; Dietary Fiber: 19g; Protein: 16g

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21 Dietitian-Approved Tips to Jump-Start Weight Loss

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Summer brings more energy, a renewed spirit and the best of intentions. Many people have health and weight-loss goals to achieve, and they turn to fad diets that leave them feeling deprived and wanting to give up after a couple weeks or days. This year, set yourself up for success with these dietitian-approved tips to jump-start weight loss.

1. MAKE YOUR FOOD BEAUTIFUL

We eat with our eyes as much as we do with our mouths! Instead of throwing veggies into a bowl, plate them with care, cut them in new ways and pick lots of colors. Take that extra step to enjoy the process of eating healthy options.

– Carlene Thomas, RDN, LD, Registered Dietitian and Food Content Creator at Healthfully Ever After

2. DON’T SKIP MEALS

To jump-start weight loss (and maintain it!), get your hunger in check by choosing satiating meals and snacks every three to four hours. For optimal hunger control, aim to have meals and snacks that contain both protein and fiber–two nutrients that have serious staying power.”

– Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT, blogger at The Foodie Dietitian

3. MEAL PREP IN ADVANCE

Pre-slice vegetables and fruits, and keep in air-tight containers at eye level in the front of your fridge. They should be the first items you see when you need a quick snack. Having pre-sliced veggies makes it easier to whip up omelets, salads, casseroles and soups. If you feel you pressed for time to slice your own fruits and veggies, most grocery stores sell them pre-sliced from their kitchens. Keep in mind this is more expensive, but the extra cost is worth it if it means you’re more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables!

– Angie Asche, MS, RD, LMNT, of Eleat Nutrition

4. MAKE HEALTHY FOOD VISIBLE

Display fruit on your kitchen countertop, whether it’s in a pretty bowl or on a decorative cake stand. Whenever you want a snack, you’ll see the fruit first and hopefully reach for that.

– Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, dietitian in the New York City area and contributing blogger at ‪Weight Watchers

5. PACK NUTRITIOUS SNACKS

Bring a small snack to work, and eat it 30 minutes before you begin your commute home. This will curb the insatiable hunger, preventing a trip through the drive-thru. It will also make dinner preparation or last-minute stops at the grocery store so much more bearable! My favorite options are almonds or a Greek yogurt.

– Lauren Gibson, RD, of Eating with a Purpose and Lauren Gibson RD


6. DO WEEKLY WEIGHT CHECKS

Once you start making changes, you are probably agitated to see the numbers go down quick, but obsessing with the scale on a daily basis won’t help. Instead, it’s better to give it a week–the rule of thumb is to weigh yourself every week using the same scale, preferably in the morning.

– Dixya Bhattarai, RD, LD, of Food Pleasure And Health

7. POWER UP BREAKFAST WITH PROTEIN

Make sure to enjoy a balanced breakfast packed with protein. It will help to keep your energy levels up all morning and may also help you snack less later in the day.”

– Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, owner of ‪Nutrition Starring YOU

8. PILE PLANTS ON YOUR PLATE

Focus on eating more plants. Crowd out your plate by packing in as much produce as you can. You’ll feel fuller, and you’ll be practicing portion control without even thinking about it.

– Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, Owner of Avocado A Day Nutrition

9. EAT YOUR VEGGIES FIRST

Veggies fill you up not out!

– Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, Owner of Marisa Moore Nutrition

10. DRINK MORE WATER

Our bodies need lots of water to keep our energy levels up, undergo regular digestion, etc. Drinking water before meals may also help to curb hunger and keep you satisfied before, after or during a meal.

– Katie Serbinski, MS, RD, founder of Mom to Mom Nutrition, LLC

11. KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL

Our minds are always busy, so it’s easy to underestimate the amount of food consumed. Tracking your food with a journal or mobile app can make you more aware. Be as specific as possible, tracking type of food, amount, time, place, hunger level and emotions surrounding eating. Not only can developing a food-tracking habit make you more aware of portion sizes and eating patterns (e.g., overeating at night, skipping breakfast), it can help detect mindless or emotional eating.

– Min Kwon, MS, RD, owner of MJ and Hungryman

12. EAT A PROTEIN- AND FIBER-RICH BREAKFAST

When my waistband is fitting a little tighter than I’d like, one of the first places I start shaping up is at breakfast. Rather than focusing on “lightening” breakfast with fewer calories, I make sure to pump up the protein and fiber at my morning meal. That usually means adding an egg white-and-veggie omelet or hard-boiled eggs with fruit, plus a small fiber-rich muffin or small bowl of oatmeal. What I eat in the morning not only sets my hunger level but also sets the tone for how I’ll eat throughout the day.

– Regan Jones, RD, Founding Editor at Healthy Aperture

13. DON’T DEPRIVE YOURSELF

Allow yourself to have a treat from time to time! If you deprive yourself, chances are that over time you will give in and binge. Instead give yourself a set number of times (maybe two to three times) per week where you can treat yourself without feeling guilty.

– Kelsee Gomes, MS, RD, CSSD, Director of Sports Nutrition at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

14. PLAN TO EAT AT HOME

It’s no secret that home-cooked meals typically have smaller portions and contain less sodium and fat than eating out. I think packing homemade lunches and eating at home for dinner makes a big difference in my clients’ long-term weight-loss success. Ideally you should eat 90% of your meals at home; in a week, that allows for three meals out. Plan your meals out as an enjoyable event, and aim to eat or pack your lunch the other 18 meals for the week. The more you do it, the easier it will become.

– Carissa Bealert, RDN, owner Evolution Fitness Orlando at Carissa Bealert


15. EAT WITH INTENTION

Ask yourself if you are really hungry. Think about what you are eating, and, most of all, savor and enjoy it! Being aware is the key to weight loss.

– Wendie Schneider, RDN, LD, owner of Pantry Doctor LLC

16. MAKE SMALL CHANGES

Think about what small change you can make in your daily routine that will help improve your health. For some, it may be taking the stairs instead of the elevator. For others, it may be opting for water instead of Coke for lunch. Bottom line: Remember, small changes make big differences over time!

– Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RD, CLT, of Simple Swaps

17. SLOW DOWN AND USE ALL YOUR SENSE WHEN YOU EAT

Look at your food, smell it, touch it (with your fingers, fork or tip of tongue, depending on what’s appropriate), listen to it (Is it crunchy, mushy or slurpy?) and, of course, taste it. Eating with all your senses involved is an important part of mindful eating.

– Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, of Nutritioulicious

18. FIND WAYS TO MOVE MORE DURING THE DAY

Aim to get 10-minute increments of exercise at a time; this could be walking around while on the phone, parking in far-away parking spots or taking the stairs. Just find ways to sit less because small changes make a difference, especially if you move to boost energy instead of hitting the candy jar or vending machine.

– Rebecca Clyde, RD, CD, of Be Truly Nourished

19. SET A SMALL, REASONABLE GOAL, ONE GOAL AT A TIME

You can easily get discouraged if you can’t reach the big goals you set for yourself. Choose one goal at a time, and once that feels easy and routine, set your sights on a new goal. Slow and steady always wins the race!

– Emily Cooper, RD, LD, of Sinful Nutrition

20. GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

While you may think that the road to weight loss begins at the gym or in the kitchen, research has shown that it might start in the bedroom. Getting a good night’s sleep (ideally eight hours) helps guide your food choices by controlling your hunger and fullness hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells your brain it is time to eat, but when you lack sleep, your body makes more ghrelin. The reverse is true for leptin, the hormone that cues fullness; sleep deprivation slows down leptin production. These hormonal changes cause you to overeat, resulting in unwanted pounds, so put the phones away, cue the sound machine and plan for six to nine hours of shut-eye.

– Holley Grainger, MS, RD, Lifestyle and Culinary Nutrition Expert at Holley Grainger

21. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES

‘One of the fastest ways to jump-start weight loss is to focus on what you can eat instead of what you can’t. Investing all of your energy to stop yourself from eating higher-calorie foods (think: dessert) can leave you feeling drained and deprived. Instead, focus on drinking at least two quarts of cold water and eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This naturally leaves less room for higher-calorie foods, and every time you are successful, it will leave you with a positive feeling of accomplishment.

– Cindy Heroux, RDN, author of “The Manual That Should Have Come With Your Body”

Instead of creating unrealistic goals this summer, jump-start your weight loss with these tried-and-true tips from the nutrition experts.

Benefits of Meal Prep: Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Meal Prep

Food & Nutrition

how to meal prep

Many of us aspire to live a healthy lifestyle, to feel fit and energized. But let’s face it, life can be busy! While setting goals to eat healthy may be easy, following through with those goals and staying consistent can be tricky.

When you’re busy navigating through your daily life, the thought of cooking all of your own meals at home can sometimes feel impossible. Not to mention warding off temptations at restaurants. And let’s face it- time is the number one “make or break” factor when it comes to deciding on a meal.

If you’re tired of ordering junk food out of impulse, spending too much money at restaurants, and not reaching your fitness goals, get ready to meet your new best friend: meal prep!

Short for meal preparation, ‘meal prep’ is the act of planning, preparing, and packaging your meals and snacks in advance, typically for the upcoming week, with the intention of clean eating and portion control. It is the key that helps many people reach their health and fitness goals. Keep in mind there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do meal prep, as it’s all about what works for you personally. The ultimate goal is to save time in the kitchen and to have access to healthy meals during the week. Some people find they like to prepare their breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week, while others will only prep one meal for each day.

Set aside some time for initial planning and cooking, and you will be amazed at the many benefits meal prep has to offer.

1. You will save money

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive if you plan in advance! Buy things in bulk, and don’t forget to take advantage of your freezer. By planning your meals in advance, you will know exactly what you need to buy, instead of going to the store a few times each week to pick up last minute ingredients. You will also be freed from buying pricey meals at lunchtime.

2. It will help you lose weight

Planning your meals in advance is key to weight loss as you know exactly what you are putting into your body, and how much. A weekly meal prep routine allows you to control how many calories you are inputting everyday, which is the perfect recipe for weight loss.

3. Grocery shopping will become easier

Once you know what meals you will be eating for the week, grocery shopping will feel like a breeze! Let wandering aimlessly around the aisles be a thing of the past. Show up  prepared with a list and divide it into categories such as fruits, vegetables, protein, frozen food, dairy, grains, and fats. It will also help you avoid the aisles you don’t need to be in, such as the candy aisle!

4. You will learn the art of portion control

The beauty of meal prep is that it teaches you balance. Packing your meals in containers refrains you from being able to reach for more. If you want to lose weight and consume the right amount of nutrients, portion control is vital. You can still treat yourself from time to time, but monitoring how much you eat is an important factor.

5. You won’t waste food

Have you ever had to throw away produce that went bad before you had a chance to eat it? It’s not a good feeling. When you meal prep, you utilize all of your ingredients for the week, and it is very unlikely that you will have any left over if you plan correctly!

6. You will save time

Although you do need to invest some time upfront to plan out your meals properly and to cook them, you will still end up saving time overall. Think about how much time we waste standing in front of the refrigerator, trying to figure out what to cook. Once your meals are prepared ahead of time, all you need to do is take them out of the fridge and heat them up!

7. It is an investment in your health

The best part about meal prep is that you get to choose ahead of time what you will be eating! People who do this are able to eat cleaner than those who don’t, with ease! You won’t be scrambling to find something to eat, and risk being exposed to unhealthy options, because your meal is already prepared, and it’s healthy! The benefits of eating a clean diet are endless. Good nutrition won’t contribute to just a smaller waistline, but it will also contribute to heart health and other factors!

8. You will gain more willpower

As you get into the swing of consistently eating healthy, you will gradually stop craving sugar and other fattening foods. Keeping a routine in place is key to healthy eating, and you will find it becomes easier to turn down the foods you know you shouldn’t be eating!

9. It will reduce stress

Stress can affect your immune system, cause digestive issues, and disrupt your sleeping patterns. Coming home from work and trying to come up with a plan for dinner can be stressful. Not with meal prep! You can say goodbye to the “what’s for dinner” stress and relax knowing that your meal just needs to be heated up!

10. It will bring variety to your meals

If you are able to put thought into your meals ahead of time, it will become easy to choose from several different food categories (protein, fat, grains, vegetables, etc) in order to get the variety you need to fuel your body. Feel free to mix it up every week! You won’t be limited to the basic foods you make out of habit as meal prep encourages you to get more creative by looking up new recipes.


Remember, there is no right or wrong way to achieve a meal prep routine. Everyone has their own way of doing it and through trial and error you will begin to realize what works best for you, and what doesn’t!

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