Sunday, October 18, 2015

Healthy Substitutes for Deli Meat

Lunch foods have always been my biggest culinary challenge, health-wise and budget-wise.

Trying to eat healthy on a budget takes planning and work. I am trying to steer my menus away from
 any processed foods. We already eat a good diet, but sandwich meats are usually processed so I am trying to find ways to avoid them (and their nasty nitrites and nitrates) in our diets. They are also expensive which is hard on the budget.

I pack my husband's lunch every work day for him and so it's important to me to pack him healthy foods. I'm wanting to get away from the deli-meat rut of turkey and ham sandwiches so I am making a list of things that I can make instead that pack well and are hearty. Here's what I've come up with so far.

Healthy Alternatives to Lunchmeat 

Canned tuna (Costco's Kirkland Signature regular tuna is the best I've ever had & it's budget friendly)
You can't beat tuna for its convenience, great taste and protein. It's highly nutritious and delicious. Mix w/ mayo and spread on sandwich bread, a tortilla or crackers. Sprinkle it plain on a green salad.

Wild-caught Canned Salmon  It's easy to come by, inexpensive, and delicious for salmon spread

Egg Salad  According to Dr. Wallach, you can never have too many eggs. I personally adore eggs cooked all different ways.  Add a splash of white vinegar to the cooking water so the shells don't crack and they'll also peel easier.

Real Chicken Sometimes I just buy a rotisserie chicken and use the meat for sandwiches when I'm pressed for time and don't want to cave in to the sliced deli meats. At least it's whole, real chicken cooked on the bone (which is healthier). So while it's not as good as a home roasted chicken, at least it's less-processed meat and I feel better about it. Slice it or make chicken salad with mayo & diced celery.

Meatloaf  When we lived in the country, and the nearest grocery store was a 10-15 mile drive away. So I became very disciplined in home cooking. My husband worked very hard (still does!) and needed a hearty lunch every day which I would prepare the night before. One time, I made a meatloaf after dinner just so he could have meatloaf sandwiches the next day for lunch (his favorite). It only takes about 5 minutes to prepare and then then an hour in the oven.

Roast Beef  Beef is getting so expensive. We have bought 1/4 of cow in the past as well as getting 1/2 a moose from my husband's hunting and I sure miss having a freezer stocked with good wild meat! So if/when it's affordable, I purchase beef for roasting. My favorite cut is Round Eye Round because it has so little fat and slices so nicely.

Roast Lamb  I didn't start cooking lamb until a few years ago. Mainly because it was intimidating and I didn't know what to do with it. But also lamb is on the pricey side (about $25 for a boneless leg at Costco). However, I reasoned that it is worth it for the variety it adds to our diet. It seems like americans are stuck in a beef and chicken rut. So I try to add different protein sources as much as possible with lamb and wild caught fish.

Vegetarian  I'm not a proponent of vegetarianism or veganism in any way, but some hummus, avocado, sprouts, juicy tomato makes a nice sandwich.

Peanut butter and jelly  This is my husband's least favorite sandwich, but me and my kids like it. We only buy non-transfat peanut butter and I try to only use healthy or homemade jams/jellies. I found a non-gmo grape jelly at Wal-Mart so food companies are listening to the health demands of the public. How do you show them what you want? Don't buy their junk anymore. Nothing speaks louder to a manufacturer than decreased sales!

What about you? Do you send your husband to work with a healthy lunch? If so please share your ideas!


DeNiece Barnes said...

I too send my husband off to work with his lunch. Some of the things that I pack him is leftovers from dinner the night before. I too fix him turkey cheese and lettuce sandwiches but would love to come away from some of the processed meats. I make a lot of our bread homemade but sometimes I get lazy and buy store brought. I have to get better ( not enough hours in the day for me lol) at taking time to make the bread as well because hubby and the kids love homemade bread. Our dinner tonight was pot roast carrots and potatoes so I'll make him a sandwich out of the pot roast and but the carrots and potoatoes on the side. One sandwich my hubby enjoys is a bagel toasted with Gouda cheese, tomato, and avocado sometimes with a fried egg. But I'm interested in known what all your other commenters will say along with your ideas I'm going to try and see if hubby will like some of those lunches especially the meatloaf sandwich. Thank you for this post.

Simply Keeping Home said...

Thanks for commenting, DeNiece! It's great to know there are other nurturing wives out there who care enough to make their husband's lunch. So many men either make their own or spend money they can't afford on unhealthy fast food. My husband said just the other day that a couple of the guys at work said they were jealous that his wife makes his lunch (and breakfast) for him. One of them said he's afraid to even ask his wife for a neck rub! :( The bagel with melted Gouda and tomato and avocado sounds so yummy!! I'm going to have to try that one! And after a long busy season of moving, home renovations and travel, I am excited that fall is here and I will be able to get back into make homemade bread again. :) God bless!!

Jessica said...

We're blessed to live so close to my husband's work that he gets to come home every day. :) Usually we have pasta or soup with a green smoothie on the side.

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