The curing of meat was traditionally done to preserve a precious food, and that food, being precious, was not served in mile-high deli sandwiches. It's the portion, not the pastrami, that can be unhealthy these days. Still, even in a modest 1- or 2-ounce serving, sodium can add up. To dodge some of the salt, get your slices fresh from the deli for up to 50% sodium savings over pre-sliced. Opt for reduced-sodium versions when you can. And load your sandwich with lots of fresh veggies.
Per ounce: Supersalty at 650 mg, but that's two of these paper-thin slices, versus one of most other meats.
Oven-Roasted Chicken Breast
Per ounce: As lean as you'd expect--less than 1g sat fat. But not salt-free: same as some pastramis, about 243mg sodium. Lower-sodium versions have about 175mg.
Per ounce: Seasoned brisket or round is leaner (0.5g or less sat fat) with lower sodium (242mg) than you might think.
Smoked Turkey Breast
Per ounce: Similar to chicken--no sat fat and about 260mg sodium (170mg in lower-sodium versions).
Per ounce: Just as pork tenderloin can be almost as lean as skinless chicken breast, so too deli ham. A smidge more sodium than the bird, though--265mg.
Soft & Hard Salamis
Per ounce: Starting at 110 calories, 3g sat fat, and 320mg sodium, these options are similar to sausage.
Per ounce: It's easy to forget how lean beef can be, and it's a salt-savvy option (166mg), too. Reduced-sodium versions have even less--just 40mg.