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Let’s face it; parents aren’t constantly feeling up to it to whip up something early in the morning for five days a week. Thus, we can conclude that occasional processed meats are okay because they’re quick and hassle-free.
According to a study by WHO in 2015, high and regular consumption of processed meats could lead to colorectal cancer in humans. So, we understand that there are two schools of thought here. Now, while some parents will immediately fret and leave this discussion right at this point, others might stick around.
But here’s the kicker, as long as you can stick to authentic quality processed meats, the apple of your eyes will be out of harm’s way. But, how to pick the best lunch meat brands? Keep reading as we reveal the best quality lunch meat brands for cautious parents and children who love scrumptious lunch breaks!
Best 15 Lunch Meat Brands:
So, without further ado, let’s review some of the best quality lunch meat brands for parents who are in dire need of this help but feel icky or confused while picking out a brand or two that have zero health hazards and high nutritional values.
If you’re on the hunt for organic or natural meats, you will love Applegate. Applegate, one of the best and first companies to produce deli meat without antibiotics, was founded back in 1987. They also launched their organic deli meats in 2002, with consistent distribution to almost every other store.
The company still continues to produce GMO-free ingredients for its loyal consumers. Their range and selection of natural, organic, and antibiotic-free lunch meats. Applegate focuses on the following types of meats: roast beef, chicken, turkey, and ham.
Nutritional Values, per 2oz – 11g protein, 1g carbohydrates, 250mg sodium, 0g fat, 50 calories
Where To Buy – applegate.com/locator
Website – applegate.com
Smithfield has to be one of the top brands for producing pork. They have a wide array of pork meats such as bacon, sausage, bratwurst, and ham. However, their other meat options are delicious and healthy too.
You can also opt for pre-packaged chicken or turkey lunch meats in re-sealable tubs. Another amazing factor that Smithfield specializes in is its usage of 50% recycled materials and 31% lesser packaging.
Nutritional Values, per 2oz – 1.5g total fat, 25mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium, 9g protein
Where To Buy – Smithfield Marketplace
Website – smithfield.com
3. Sara Lee
Sara Lee’s deli meat brand was named after the founder, Charles Lubin’s daughter. The company is owned by Tyson Foods currently. The vast deli meat ranges that this company produces include turkey breasts, ham, chicken breasts, and roasted beef in multiple flavors.
Nutritional Values – 50 calories, 1g carbs, 2g fat, 8g protein
Website – saraleedeli.com
4. Oscar Mayer
Oscar F. Mayer and his brothers started the Oscar Mayer Company in 1880. He obtained meats from the local meat markets in his place of work in Detroit in 1873. Later, he moved to Chicago and opened up his own sausage and butcher shop in 1883. This is where the journey of the company Oscar Mayer began.
The company produces cold and natural cuts. Additionally, the natural lunch meat line contains zero artificial preservatives, nitrate, antibiotics, and other unauthentic ingredients. They offer a broad range of roast beef, ham, chicken, and turkey treats.
On the other hand, the cold cuts comprise products like roast beef, olive leaf, ham, turkey, salami, and ham in a zipper pouch, deli fresh, bologna, carving board, and classic varieties.
Nutritional Values, per 2oz – 60 calories, gluten-free, 1g sugar, 470mg sodium, 0.5g saturated fat
Website – oscarmayer.com
5. Natural Choice
Natural Choice has a premium selection of lunch meat. Hormel launched the brand, and the meats are fresh with no addition of artificial ingredients, hormones, or preservatives. Their deli meats come in pre-packaged editions, and you can select from a broad range of salami, ham, and turkey choices.
Moreover, the company has also recently introduced its new line of slow-smoked deli meats. Some of these new editions include pecan smoked ham in brown sugar, applewood smoked ham, and applewood smoked turkey with herbs and garlic.
Nutritional Values, 4 slices – 60 calories, 1.5g fat, 1g carbs, 10g protein
Where To Buy – hormel.com/Locator.aspx
Website – hormel.com
6. Land O’ Frost
Land O’ Frost is a family business started by Antoon Van Eekeren back in 1941. The company’s roots remain in Chicago, where Antoon found his passion in TV diner and frozen meat businesses. They started making deli meats in 1990, and since then, they’ve been on a roll.
Their famous 1-pound meat sliced pouches are readily available in many flavors like roast beef, over-roast chicken breast, and black forest ham. But, they also own a 100% natural meat line with assorted sizes and varieties.
Nutritional Values, 57g – 5g fat, 30mg cholesterol, 620mg sodium, 9g protein
Where To Buy – landofrost.com/where-to-buy
Website – landofrost.com
7. Hillshire Farm
Tyson Foods owns Hillshire Farm. Tyson acquired the business in 2014 and several other brands too. Frits Bernegger started Hillshire Farm’s meat industry in 1934. They don’t only specialize in deli meat but an extended line of other ham and sausage delicacies too.
Nutritional Values, per 2oz – 1g fat, 25mg cholesterol, 490mg sodium, 10g protein
Where To Buy – hillshirefarm.com/where-to-buy
Website – hillshirefarm.com
Peter Eckrich started this company in 1894 in Indiana. Initially, the company served the local community as one of the best meat markets and eventually became a more prominent scale wholesaler. Currently, Smithfield owns the company and specializes in packaged and deli meats.
Nutritional Values, per 7oz – 15mg cholesterol, 300mg sodium, 3g protein, 40mg calcium
Where To Buy – eckrich.com/locations
Website – eckrich.com
9. Dietz & Watson
Gottlieb Dietz, an immigrant from German founded Dietz & Watson. He purchased the Watson Meat Company back in 1939 and merged the name into what it is today. The family-owned business produces pickles, mustard, snack, cheese, and packaged and deli lunchmeat, among other things in their broad range.
Nutritional Values, per 56g – 0.5g fat, 30mg cholesterol, 360mg sodium, 11g protein
Where To Buy – dietzandwatson.com/where-to-buy
10. Castle Wood Reserve
Cargill Meat Solutions owns the Castle Wood Reserve deli meat brand. Castle Wood Reserves doesn’t possess a large selection of deli, premium pre-sliced meats.
However, their range is still top-tier, including oven-roasted turkey breast, four pepper turkey breast, uncured honey ham, turkey pastrami, and many more.
Website Nutritional Values, per 2oz – 2g fats, 30mg cholesterol, 10g protein
Where To Buy – castlewoodreserve.com/locations
Website – castlewoodreserve.com
Buddig is a family-owned business and has been since 1943. Buddig has two meat lines which are premium deli lunchmeat and budding original. The original includes choices such as turkey, pastrami, ham, chicken, honey ham, and more.
At the same time, the premium consists of rotisserie-flavoured chicken breasts, honey turkey breasts, smoked turkey breasts, and more.
Nutritional Values, per 56g- 7g fat, 1g carbohydrates, 9g protein
Where To Buy – buddig.com/store-locator
Website – buddig.com
12. Boar’s Head
Since the early 1900s, Boars Head has made cold cuts in Brooklyn. Since then, they’ve continually made high-quality meat delicacies across the US. The company also has other focuses other than deli lunch meats such as franks, bacon, horseradish, sausage, hummus, and cheese
Nutritional Values, per 2oz – 150 calories, 13g fat, 35mg cholesterol, 530mg sodium, 7g protein
Where To Buy – boarshead.com/locator
Website – boarshead.com
Bar-S is owned by Sigma Alimentos, a Mexican international food company. The S in the company’s name stands for Seattle. They’re best known for their franks in the US. Additionally, they also make bacon, sausages, cheese bits, bacon mac, corn dogs, and more. Similarly, their lunchmeat selection includes scrumptious loaves, salami, bologna, ham, and other poultry items.
Nutritional Values, per 16oz – 15mg cholesterol, 5g protein, 390mg sodium
Where To Buy – bar-s.com/product-locator
Website – bar-s.com
Saag focuses on bringing quality and grade-A meat to their consumers without hampering their healthy eating habits. When compared to many other brands, Saag’s doesn’t overpower its processed meats with unnecessary fats or sodium, which is a big plus for children.
Nutritional Values, per 1oz – 210mg sodium, 7.5g fats, 70 calories, 3.5g protein
Website – saags.com
If you want to induce plant-based or vegan foods into lunches, Tofurky will not disappoint. Their popularity has grown remarkably, especially as their processed meats have lower chances and risks of weight gain and other diseases. They also have the least amount of chemicals and sodium, preventing gut-related issues.
Nutritional Values, per 52g – 100 calories, 3.5g fat, 13g protein, 5g carbs, 350mg sodium
Website – tofurky.com
The key is to switch things up a bit. Often children might nag about not wanting the pancakes or pasta you’ve whipped up for them (hurtful yet, true). Moreover, even though every parent would love to cook something for their children every morning before school, sadly, it does only remain a dream because we’re all humans!
These lunch meat brands can be a quick escape for groggy and tiring mornings. And the best part? When your children want a retreat with these lunch meat brands once in a while, you don’t have to say ‘no’ and become their rival.
Here’s a tip: Always plan on making these lunch meat brands a maximum of two times per week or skip a few weeks in between. This lower consumption of processed meats will also minimize any associated health risks.