Deli Food Done Right, Plus Advice for Sugar Counters!

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Hey HG,

I absolutely LOVE deli food. It's my favorite! How can I enjoy it without derailing my diet?

Deli Dreamer

Hi Deli Dreamer,

I totally get your obsession with deli food... YUM! But from the mile-high sandwiches to the giant bagels with monstrous slabs of cream cheese, there are a LOT of calorie-and-fat-packed items on the menu. Luckily, there are tons of guilt-free options too, and it's easy to make over the decadent stuff at home. Check it out!

If you're at a deli... Scoop out the insides of your bagel to save a LOT of carby calories. You still get that delicious bagel goodness, and it makes it even easier to pile on no-guilt toppings like smoked salmon, onion, tomato, and cucumber. If you've gotta have cream cheese, stick with a small amount. For lunch, a cup of broth-based soup, like chicken noodle, is the best way to start your meal. I might sound like a broken record, but studies show that people who start their meals with soup take in fewer calories overall. Besides, chicken soup at a good deli is the BEST. As for sandwiches, stick with lean meats -- turkey breast, chicken breast, and ham -- instead of salami or pastrami. Then remove the top slice of bread and eat your sandwich open faced. Or skip the bread altogether, and request your sandwich insides over large lettuce leaves. Avoid the mayo-laden scoopy salads and sides, like coleslaw and macaroni salad, as well as the enormous desserts -- not worth it!

For an at-home deli fix... Grocery stores are guilt-free gold mines when it comes to deli food. I love the recently revamped Western Bagel Alternative 2.0 Bagels -- just 120 calories each and a whopping 10g fiber. I'm also a big fan of Thomas' Bagel Thins -- only 110 calories each. As for guilt-free spreads, the new Laughing Cow Smooth Sensations Cream Cheese Spreads are insanely tasty and (bonus!) portion controlled. I've been using the Cow's Light Swiss cheese wedges as a cream cheese swap for years, too. Other delicious spreads? Light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown) and low-sugar or sugar-free preserves. For sandwiches, use light bread slices or a 100-calorie flat sandwich bun (like Arnold/Brownberry/Oroweat Sandwich Thins). Weight Watchers even makes Rye Flat Rolls -- total deli staple! Then opt for extra-lean deli slices (96 - 99% fat-free) -- turkey breast, ham... even roast beef. I love the lower-sodium options from Boar's Head, which you can get at many supermarket deli counters. Sometimes the deli counters have more options than the prepackaged deli section. As for sides, it's easy to make your own lightened-up scoopy salads at home. I bulk 'em up with chopped veggies, like in this tuna salad recipe. Instead of oil, I use fat-free dressing in pasta salads. For mayo, I use the fat-free stuff in recipes, but I zazzle it up with spices, herbs, and other guilt-free condiments.

There you have it... your deli survival tips. Happy chewing!

Hi Lisa,

Do you have any recipes that are very low in sugar? I love everything Hungry Girl, but I need to watch my sugar intake.

Sugar Stickler

Hi Sugar Stickler,

Sure! There are many HG recipes that are low in sugar, and we always list the nutritional info for sugars, sodium, etc., so you can review all of the info and find what works for you.

To help you out, here's a slew of HG creations with 5 grams of sugar or less per serving. Try these chicken gyros, this cheesy quesadilla, our Buffalo Chicken Chili, and these shrimp skewers. Looking for sweet stuff? This recipe for sweet 'n salty freezy treats has only two ingredients, our BFFs! (Black Forest Fillo-Cups!) rock, and FIVE of the margarita recipes on this page have 2 grams of sugar or less! Plus, check out this recent recipe for iced pumpkin scones... Just 3 grams of sugar per sweet treat!

You can also lower the sugar content in HG recipes by using sugar-free or unsweetened versions of certain ingredients. Swap out low-sugar preserves for sugar-free preserves, like the kinds by Smucker's and Polaner. Use sugar-free chocolate syrup (Hershey's makes the best) instead of the light stuff. And go for Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze in recipes that call for light vanilla soymilk. And, of course, use granulated Splenda No Calorie Sweetener in place of any granulated white sugar. (We almost always provide the alternate stats!) One more easy trick: Use Sugar-Free Velvety Chocolate VitaTops in any HG whoopie pie recipe to save a whopping 11 - 12g sugars per serving.

Remember, I'm not a doctor or nutritionist, so I definitely suggest checking in with your doctor to determine what foods and what amount of sugar will be best for you. Hope this helps!

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