A good deli sandwich is a typical go-to lunch for many Americans. While many health conscientious people are concerned with the carbohydrates in bread, others are more concerned with nitrates and nitrites in meat.
Nitrates and nitrites are chemical compounds that are naturally present in many plant-based foods like carrots, spinach and beets, but are also added to many processed foods like lunchmeat, hot dogs and bacon. Nitrates are converted to nitrites by our digestive process. Nitrites give cured meats flavor and color, and in combination with salt, they help to inhibit the growth of Clostridium botulinum and Listeria monocytogenes, two potential deadly foodborne illnesses. However, after the World Health Organization (WHO)'s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that consumption of processed meat is "carcinogenic to humans," there's been concern about nitrate/nitrite consumption.
While it may seem that buying processed meats labeled "no nitrates or nitrites added" is the answer, the manufacturers use naturally occurring nitrites, such as celery powder, which has the same effect as synthetic nitrites. Plus, it likely still has high amounts of sodium and possibly saturated fat, both of which can be negative influences on the heart. Studies have indicated that the higher the intake of processed meat, the higher the risk of colorectal cancers and other chronic diseases. This isn't to say that you must completely avoid processed meats altogether, but it is something that should be limited. If choosing processed meats, choose lean meat, such as turkey or chicken, look for the product that is lowest in sodium, and don't eat it every day.
Turkey Wrap with Lemon Dill Spread (Printable PDF)
¼ cup light mayonnaise
¼ cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped or ¼ teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 whole wheat tortillas
3 ounces deli turkey
3 slices Swiss cheese
¾ cup baby spinach
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, dill, lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic powder and pepper. Let sit in refrigerator to meld flavors. Evenly distribute Lemon Dill Spread, turkey, cheese, spinach and red pepper onto three wraps. Roll up, cut in half diagonally and serve.
Yield: 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 370 calories, 19 grams fat, 740 milligrams sodium, 30 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 19 grams protein