When you’re on a low sodium diet, deli style meats are usually not a sandwich option. Luckily, a few brands of low sodium sliced turkey have been available for the last couple of years. Trader Joe’s sells packages of Columbus sliced turkey as does Costco. My favorite local grocery store also sells it at the full service deli. Boar's Head has an array of low sodium offerings, and I can find the ham, turkey, and roast beef nearby. A couple of months ago I noticed a newspaper ad for Sara Lee lower sodium deli style meats. A few weeks ago, I was shopping in Safeway and discovered Sara Lee lower sodium Virginia ham. I quickly snapped up a package. The nutrition label indicated that a 2 oz. serving was 390 mgs. of sodium, supposedly 1/3 less than the regular style. Granted that 390 mgs. is not truly low sodium. But for an every-once-in-a-while splurge, it’s not too bad.
About a week later I was perusing the self-service deli section of my favorite grocery store and really hit the jackpot. I discovered Hillshire Farm’s low sodium honey ham, Healthy Ones honey smoked turkey breast, and even Farmer John’s low sodium ham. Yup, I bought all three and tested them over the course of two weeks.
The Hillshire Farm honey ham contains 450 mgs. sodium for a 2 oz. serving, while the Farmer John ham has 270 mgs. sodium per each one (1) oz. slice. The real winner, sodium-wise, was the Healthy Ones smoked turkey breast with 290 mgs. sodium for six (6) slices weighing 58 g. or about 2 oz.
As far as flavor goes, the Hillshire Farm honey ham tasted good. The Farmer John product tasted like regular boiled ham. The Healthy Ones honey smoked turkey breast had a very nice smoky flavor to it and was my favorite. Check out the Healthy Ones website. It has several offerings that are relatively low in sodium.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating eating a ham sandwich every day for lunch. But for that occasional treat, to satisfy a craving, these products are better than what is normally available. This is one of those times when portion control is extremely important. A 2 oz. serving needs to be just 2 ounces. Not 2 ounces plus of couple of extra slices. I weighed out the portions for both my husband and me. It also helps to make sure you’re making the sandwiches with lower sodium bread and using low sodium cheese and condiments. Luckily, I’ve always got plenty of homemade sandwich buns in the freezer and thinly sliced (and naturally lower in sodium) Swiss cheese in the fridge.
I was happy to find these products. What it tells me is that food manufacturers are making an effort to offer some low sodium choices, and that’s encouraging. An occasional ham sandwich, a bacon & eggs breakfast every once-in-a-while, a grilled cheese sandwich treat – it will be easier to enjoy them now that more and more products are losing some of their sodium.