Deli meats have long been an American favorite, a lunchtime staple for all ages, packing the power of protein and other nutrients. There are so many great varieties that the North American Meat Institute, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, decided deli meats needed a month long celebration and has declared March as National Deli Meat Month.

“March is a fitting time for Deli Meat Month because it’s also when we celebrate National Nutrition Month,” said Janet Riley, senior vice president of public affairs at the Meat Institute. “Deli meats are convenient and versatile choices, packed with protein, and also providing important nutrients like vitamin B-12 and zinc that help power you though the day.”

Whether you like your beef deli meats sliced thin or thick – on bread, with crackers, alongside vegetables, in salads, or rolled up and solo simply for the flavor – there are many choices to tempt taste buds all month long and they come in a wide range of nutrition options including lean or low-fat, reduced sodium and American Heart Association certified. Consider these options: 

  • Roast Beef – This beloved classic can be found at deli counters everywhere. Sliced thin on crusty bread and served au jus, or thick cut and Italian-seasoned with horseradish mayonnaise, deli roast beef is an extra-juicy, mouth-watering way to pack protein into your diet with 10g of protein, 2g fat and 60 calories per 2 oz. serving.
  • Corned Beef – Although most attribute this versatile meat to the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day, in fact, it’s historically an American tradition. Soaked, salted with “corn” shaped grains of salt and boiled, this brisket is versatile as a main dish, sliced on a Reuben or chopped as hash alongside your eggs. Lean corned beef provides great taste and protein with 11g of protein, 10g of fat and 140 calories per 2oz. serving.
  • Pastrami – This delicious beef variety is a cultural phenomenon. Its European heritage, creative smoking preparation and seasonings crossed over to the U.S. landing in New York City to the famous New York delis where, between two simple pieces of rye bread, a star was born. Similar to corned beef, lean pastrami boasts of 12g of protein, 3g of fat and 80 calories per 2oz. serving. Visit www.meatpoultrynutrition.org/productcenter/pastrami for fun facts, trivia and interesting preparation ideas.
  • Beef Salami – Beef salami is an American favorite showcasing texture, spices and tremendous flavor. Eaten alone, on a sandwich, with cheeses and crackers - boarded charcuterie-style, as a salad topping, or chopped and added to egg or pasta dishes – the versatility is endless. Known for shelf-life and ease of handling and storing, these traditional beef varieties offer flexibility and flavor. Lean beef salami offers 7g protein, 13g fat and 150 calories per 2oz. serving.

Throughout March, the Meat Institute will highlight facts and recipes featuring the various deli meat options including its new Beefshi concepts using #DeliMeatMonth. Deli meat facts and nutrition information are available at www.meatpoultrynutrition.org.