I was checking out the deli/cheese section of a local grocery store, when my eye spied some new products from Laura’s Lean Beef. I’d never heard of the brand before and was curious. I noticed, in particular, that there were packages of uncured pastrami and corned beef. I’ve found that sometimes uncured deli meats are a little lower in sodium than cured products, so I gave them a closer look. I singled out the package of pastrami and read its vital statistics: Serving size = 2 oz. and sodium/serving = 280 mg. My initial reaction was, “Whoa! That’s not too bad. Not for pastrami.”
Here's what the package says:
Laura’s Lean Uncured Beef Pastrami
All Natural – Gluten Free – No Nitrates/Nitrites – No Carrageenan
Made with beef raised without added hormones or antibiotics and on a vegetarian diet
Certified by the American Heart Association
But then I thought, I’m not remembering my facts correctly. I’d better compare this to another low sodium brand of deli meat. I picked up a nearby package of Hillshire Farm lower sodium smoked ham. It had the same serving size, 2 oz. But the sodium was 450 mg./serving. Same with the Hillshire Farm lower sodium honey ham. The lower sodium honey roasted turkey was 410 mg./2 oz. serving.
I know that Sara Lee has some good low sodium deli products, as does Boar’s Head. But I have some difficulty finding those products in my local stores. And, anyhow, this was pastrami. My husband’s favorite!
I tossed a package of the pastrami and a package of the corned beef into my cart and finished my shopping. When I got home, we had pastrami sandwiches for lunch. I used my own homemade low sodium focaccia and Westbrae Natural No-Salt-Added Stoneground Mustard.
These deli meats are lower sodium foods, not sodium-free products. So adhering to the serving size is important. 2 ounces. That’s it. You will not end up with a deli style sandwich – 3 inches of meat piled onto a giant roll. If you want a thicker sandwich, you have basically two options: Option 1 – add slices of tomato & onions, some lettuce, and even a sliced no-sodium pickle from Healthy Heart Market. Option 2 – make just half a sandwich. You’ll get more of that “piled on goodness” but with an overall smaller sandwich.
Laura’s Lean Corned beef is higher in sodium (330 mg sodium/serving size), so as long as the pastrami is available, that’s what I’ll be buying. Like many other lower sodium products, it’s not for everyday consumption. But it’s great to know that we can have a pastrami sandwich occasionally, and it won’t throw our low sodium regimen out of kilter.