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Trader Joe's upgrades it's NO Nitrate turkey. Nitrates Bad. Turkey Good.

**Editor's Note: This post was updated in 2024

Deli meat is a quick and flexible source of protein.  Between your favorite slices of bread, rolled around hummus, or our favorite, spread with Trader Joe's cilantro chive yogurt dip.  The challenge is finding deli meat that is nitrate free and still tastes good.  

Note: Most recent studies suggest that ALL processed meats are BAD for your health.

Why?  Read our earlier post here.  (It explains about nitrites and nitrates and lists some other good sources for no nitrate deli meats.) The bottom line is that nitrates (nitrites) have been linked to all sorts of BAD things like cancer.  Consider this, according to a USA Today Article, "Every 1.7 ounces of processed meat consumed a day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 21%."  While it isn't totally clear which part of "processing" is truly the health culprit, it is clear that avoiding nitrates is a good idea.

Trader Joe's sells no nitrate ham and turkey.  But until recently we took a pass on the turkey. It was thick, a little rubbery and didn't measure up to other options (like Diestel and freshly sliced Applegate Farms).  However the price was right.

Recently, TJ's improved its no nitrate turkey.  It's thinly sliced -- deli style -- and is nearly as good as any fully processed option.  Give it a try.  Each package is 7 oz, and a 2 oz serving size yields 50 calories, 2 grams carbs, 11 grams of protein and an unfortunate 630 mg sodium (26% of the RDA). There is always a downside and sodium is it! 

Another Trader Joe's no-nitrate option is the uncured, turkey bacon.  Each 30 calorie slice cooks up nicely and tastes more like high quality ham than turkey.  Mix it with scrambled egg whites, beans and salsa and stuff into a tortilla.

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