Sara Lee Deli has set out to prove the combination of great taste and lower sodium is indeed a reality as it launches four new premium lower sodium sliced-to-order deli meats, with flavors including Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, Honey Ham, Oven Roasted Chicken Breast, and Roast Beef. Due in stores in spring 2009, the Sara Lee Lower Sodium deli line promises the great flavor traditionally expected from Sara Lee Deli without compromising taste, a key attribute as people look to make nutritious decisions at the deli counter.

“Our customers have told us they aren’t willing to sacrifice taste when it comes to buying lower sodium foods, which is why our new deli varieties offer the best of both worlds,” says Jonathan Drake, vice president, Sara Lee Deli. “When selecting the Sara Lee sliced-to-order lower sodium deli meats, an individual can create a great-tasting, tailor made, gourmet-style sandwich at home that’s delicious and nutritious. In addition, the behind-the-deli counter option can be more affordable given consumers only buy what they need, when they need it.”

Sara Lee Lower Sodium deli meats are significantly lower in sodium than their counterpart non-reduced sodium meats based on USDA data:

  • Oven Roasted Turkey Breast – 40 percent less sodium than USDA data for oven roasted turkey breast
  • Honey Ham, Water Added – 36 percent less sodium than USDA data for ham, water added
  • Oven Roasted Chicken Breast – 42 percent less sodium than USDA data for oven roasted chicken breast
  • Roast Beef – 41 percent less sodium than USDA data for roast beef

The recommended amount of sodium consumption per day for healthy adults is less than 2,300 milligrams, but many health professionals conclude that an average American consumes substantially more salt per day, as much as double the recommended amount. However, making the change to a lower sodium diet can be easier than one may think according to Connie Diekman, R.D. and nutrition consultant.

“There’s a stigma that exists when it comes to trying lower sodium foods,” Diekman says. “What’s really important to understand is that sodium often mutes the real flavor of foods, so by lowering salt and replacing it with flavorful options you’re actually enhancing your experience and enjoyment of food overall. I like to tell my clients to think of lessening sodium intake as a positive rather than a negative.”

She says that most Americans interested in lowering their sodium intake and who are not on a restricted diet do not need to worry about completely cutting specific foods from their diets as long as they choose the lower sodium option and eat smaller portions. Diekman also says being adventurous and selecting lower sodium foods while adding fruits, vegetables and herbs to your favorite recipes are great solutions when it comes to eating nutritiously.

She offers the following guidelines to help people lower the sodium in their diet while still enjoying all the flavor foods have to offer.

  • Mix it up – If you are making a sandwich, replace saltier spreads like mustard by combining crushed rosemary into low-fat mayonnaise; this is a great option for lower sodium turkey and chicken deli meats.
  • Add some crunch – Adding sliced fruit or vegetables such as apples, pears, cucumbers or chopped peppers and pairing it with whole grain breads and lower sodium deli meats and spreads creates crunch and enhances the flavor to make a restaurant-style sandwich.
  • Start slowly – Making the transition to lower sodium doesn’t have to happen overnight. Slowly introducing lower sodium food options to your diet and letting your palate adjust will help make this a goal that is much easier to keep.

Sara Lee Lower Sodium Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, Sara Lee Lower Sodium Honey Ham, Sara Lee Lower Sodium Oven Roasted Chicken Breast, and Sara Lee Lower Sodium Roast Beef sliced-to-order varieties feature premium, minimally processed whole muscle meat with no fillers. The average suggested retail price ranges from $6.99 to $8.99 per pound depending on the region of the country.

The lower sodium meats have also earned the American Heart Association’s (AHA) heart-check mark, giving consumers confidence that they are making a healthy choice for their families when buying the meats. The distinctive heart-check mark indicates that the meats have been screened and verified to meet the AHA’s certification criteria to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2.