In general, turkey is one of the healthier choices for a sandwich. Sliced turkey is high in protein and low in fat, and when combined with whole-wheat bread and vegetables, it can make a nutritious lunch. Sliced turkey is low enough in fat that you can add 1 tbsp. of low fat mayonnaise to your sandwich and still have a meal that contains less than 11 g of fat.
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Turkey lunch meat is lower in calories than most other lunch meats. A 100 g, or about 3.5 oz., serving of sliced turkey contains 99 calories. The same size serving of pastrami contains 147 calories, and the same amount of ham contains 163 calories. Other lunch meats, such as salami, are even higher in calories, with 388 calories per serving.
One serving of turkey lunch meat contains 17.1 g of protein, which provides 69 percent of the calories. Turkey is composed of higher percentage of protein than other lunch meats; pastrami is 60 percent protein, ham is 41 percent and salami is only 21 percent. The 17.1 g of protein in sliced turkey supplies 37 percent of the recommended daily amount for most women and 31 percent for most men.
Turkey lunch meat is lower in fat than most other lunch meats. One serving of sliced turkey contains 2 g of fat, which supplies only 18 percent of the 99 calories. Pastrami contains more than twice as much fat, with 5.8 g, which makes up 37 percent of the calories. Ham and salami are even higher in fat, with ham containing 8.6 g and salami containing 33.3 g, which are 48 and 77 percent of the calories, respectively.
Most lunch meats are low in carbohydrates, and turkey is no exception. One serving of sliced turkey contains 3.25 g of carbohydrates, which provides only 13 percent of the calories. Like most lunch meats, sliced turkey contains no fiber. However, if you use turkey to make a sandwich on whole wheat bread, the sandwich would contain 3.8 g of fiber, which is 14 percent of the recommended daily amount for most adults.
Although it is lower in sodium than ham or salami, turkey lunch meat still contains a high percentage of the daily allowance. Because sodium can contribute to health problems, such as heart disease, it is recommended that you consume less than 2,300 mg per day. The American Heart Association suggests even less, 1,500 mg per day, if you are at risk for heart disease. One serving of turkey lunch meat contains 966 mg, which is 64 percent of this amount. If you are at risk for heart disease, or wish to stick to a low-sodium diet, you may wish to use low-salt turkey, which contains 772 mg per serving.