When you were a kid, “lunchtime” probably meant a few things: a break from classes, a chance to catch up with friends, and finally getting to eat the ham and cheese or turkey and mustard sandwich your mom had made for you. Sandwiches have a nostalgia around them, in the US alone, more than 300 million are consumed daily! However, for us plant-based folks’, meat-based subs aren’t really an option…until now, that is. Over the past few years, companies have nearly perfected the art of mimicking meat and dairy-based products all through plants. So, to those longing for their ham and cheese sammy, wipe away those tears! Below is a list of some great plant-based deli slices to cover all of your sandwich needs!
Let’s Dish About Deli
Before we jump into our brand breakdown, it’s important to understand why people are straying from the deli and turning to plant-based options. First, what is deli meat? Deli meats or cold cuts are pre-cooked or cured pieces of meat. The process of curing requires the addition of high amounts of salt to remove moisture from the product. The addition of salt and nitrates helps preserve the meat; however, it can also be problematic. Sodium content in deli slices and other processed meats “is about 400 percent higher, on average” than their non-processed counterpart. Due to the high sodium content, eating these kinds of meats regularly can greatly increase the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
The Problem with Nitrates
In terms of nitrates, these are compounds found in both vegetables and processed meats. Nitrates in veggies tend to have the opposite effects on health compared to those in meats. For example, nitrates in beetroot juice increase oxygen intake and have been credited with lowering blood pressure. Nitrates in processed meats, however, become problematic when cooked, due to their interaction with proteins. The high temperatures allow the nitrate and proteins to form nitrosamines, which is a cancer-causing compound.
The cancer risk (particularly colorectal, breast, and stomach) doesn’t stop there. With cold cuts specifically, Dr. Nigel Brockton, director of research for the American Institute for Cancer Research, says just 15 grams, or one slice of ham, increases the risk of cancer by 4%. Whereas a typical serving of 50 grams, can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. In short, deli meats and processed meats can have adverse effects on your health. Luckily, there are plant-based options available!
In this installment of brand breakdown, we have four different brands of vegan deli slices. It’s important to note, these are still processed products, meaning they will be a bit higher in sodium and fat. They are also a good source of protein and are convenient and cruelty-free. As with most everything in life, moderation is key!
We Got The Meats!
Tofurky Plant-Based Deli Slices
Kicking off this brand breakdown is Tofurky Plant-Based Deli Slices. Edible right out the package, these slices look just like the real deal. They offer seven different flavor options including smoked ham, bologna, roast beef, and many more. With a serving size of five slices, you can build quite a hearty sandwich; however, do be mindful as Tofurky slices top the chart with 350mg of sodium/serving. Whether you eat them cold or pop them in a panini press, Tofurky plant-based slices will make all of your sandwich dreams come true.
Lightlife Smart Deli Ham
For those looking for a slightly healthier option, check out Lightlife Smart Deli Ham. Four slices of these highly realistic-looking cold cuts are only 70 calories and 1g of fat! Lightlife also provides these products with a very short list of ingredients, all very readable. This is a great option for large appetites on the search for few calories.
Yves Plant-Based Turkey Slices
Another great option for the health gurus is Yves Plant-Based Turkey slices. Five slices will only cost you 80 calories, and they are low in fat (1g), yet high in protein (13g). Also, these slices give you 20% of your daily B12 and Iron intake! For more reading on why B12 is important for everyone, regardless of diet, check out this link.
FieldRoast’s Deli Slices
If imitation meats aren’t really your thing, never fear. FieldRoast’s offers plant products, plain and simple. While called ‘deli slices,’ FieldRoast’s Deli Slices are interested in being the plant products they are. They are made from primarily whole food ingredients (mushrooms, garlic, carrots, etc.) with a short and legible list. They come in mushroom, lentil, and tomato flavors. Three slices are 100 calories; however, they are only 270mg of sodium, 3g of fat, and 12g of protein! You can easily get your plant fuel while satisfying your sandwich needs, with the help of FieldRoast’s Deli Slices.
The Wrap Up
Alright, readers, there you have it; four plant-based deli slices options. For further information, check out the brand breakdown chart below, which gives you more detail about the nutritional value of each product profiled. Now, give your taste buds a treat and start stacking that panini. To your vegan success!