Deli sliced chicken refers to sliced and packaged chicken that is sold at delicatessens and grocery store deli counters. It provides a quick, easy, and convenient way to add sliced chicken to sandwiches, salads, wraps, and other dishes. Some key things to know about deli sliced chicken include:
Types of Deli Chicken
There are a few main types of deli sliced chicken:
– Rotisserie Chicken – This is chicken that is seasoned and roasted whole on a rotisserie. It is then sliced when cooled. Rotisserie deli chicken has a delicious roasted flavor.
– Grilled Chicken – Chicken breasts or cutlets that are grilled and then sliced for the deli counter. Grilled deli chicken has nice char grilling marks and a lightly smoked flavor.
– Poached or Roasted Breast – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are poached or roasted then sliced. This has a tender, delicate texture.
– Fried Chicken – Chicken that is breaded and fried into strips, cutlets, or nuggets before slicing. Fried deli chicken offers a crispy texture.
When buying deli chicken, be sure to:
– Check the expiration or sell-by date. Opt for chicken that will last for your intended use.
– Look for chicken that is freshly sliced rather than pre-packaged. It will taste fresher.
– Evaluate the appearance and aroma. It should look fresh and not have an off-putting smell.
– Ask when it was prepared. For maximum freshness opt for recently prepared chicken.
– Ensure proper refrigeration. It should be kept cold at the deli counter.
Storage and Food Safety
To safely store deli chicken:
– Refrigerate it right away and use within 3-5 days of purchase.
– Keep the chicken stored in its packaging until ready to use to retain moisture.
– Use clean utensils and wash hands when handling raw chicken to prevent cross-contamination.
– Cook or reheat chicken thoroughly to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to verify the internal temperature.
Nutrition and Health Benefits
Deli chicken can provide the following nutrition and health benefits:
High in Protein
Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein. A 3 ounce serving of sliced deli chicken breast contains about 25-30 grams of protein. The protein in deli chicken supports muscle growth and development and leaves you feeling full.
Low in Fat
Skinless sliced chicken breast is a low fat food, with only about 1-3 grams of fat per serving. This makes it a diet-friendly option. The thin slicing also allows the fat to drip away.
Provides Important Nutrients
In addition to protein, deli chicken provides nutrients like niacin, selenium, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. These support body processes.
May Benefit Heart Health
Replacing red or processed meats with lean chicken as part of a healthy diet may improve cholesterol levels and heart health.
Deli sliced chicken provides a cost-effective way to enjoy chicken. Here is a cost comparison of deli chicken versus whole rotisserie or raw chicken:
|Deli sliced chicken breast (1/2 pound)
|Whole rotisserie chicken (3-4 pounds)
|Raw boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 pound)
As you can see, deli chicken provides individual portion control in sliced form at a comparable or lower cost per pound than other options. The slicing makes it ready to eat.
Deli sliced chicken is versatile and can be used in recipes like:
Chicken sandwiches are a classic use for deli chicken. Use it in chicken salad sandwiches, club sandwiches, bbq chicken sandwiches, and more. The sliced chicken is easy to layer on bread or rolls.
Add sliced grilled or rotisserie chicken to fresh green salads, pasta salads, grain bowls, chicken caesar salad, and other chilled salad recipes.
Snacks and Appetizers
Slice deli chicken into smaller pieces or strips for quick snacks. You can also bread and fry it into chicken fingers or chicken nuggets as an appetizer.
Diced or shredded deli chicken makes a flavorful, protein-packed pizza topping. Get creative with bbq chicken pizza, buffalo chicken pizza, and more.
Quesadillas and Tacos
Include sliced or shredded deli chicken in quesadillas, fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, and other Mexican cuisine. It adds a boost of protein.
Shredded rotisserie chicken blends perfectly into casserole dishes like chicken pot pie, chicken enchilada casserole, chicken divan, and more.
Comparisons to Other Deli Meats
Compared to other deli meats like ham, turkey, and roast beef, deli chicken provides:
Chicken averages about 25 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving, while ham and roast beef have around 16-18 grams. Turkey has slightly less at 13 grams.
Fresh deli chicken has minimal added sodium. Ham, turkey, and roast beef average 600-900 mg sodium per serving.
Many traditional deli meats like ham contain nitrates and nitrites for preservation. Fresh deli chicken does not contain these preservatives.
Deli chicken, especially breast, is lower in fat than most deli meats which tend to have higher fat content.
So for maximum protein with less sodium and fat, fresh deli chicken can be a healthier choice over processed deli meats.
Is Deli Chicken Healthy?
Deli chicken is a versatile, lean protein that can be part of a healthy diet. However, there are some considerations:
Freshly sliced rotisserie, grilled, or roasted chicken is healthier than fried or highly processed chicken lunch meats. Read labels carefully.
Watch Sodium Levels
If opting for pre-packaged sliced chicken, choose lower sodium options when possible to reduce excess salt.
Use Proper Storage and Handling
Follow food safety guidelines to reduce risk of illness. Don’t leave deli chicken unrefrigerated.
Eat in Moderation
Even healthy proteins like chicken should be eaten in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.
As part of a diet focused on lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, fresh deli chicken can be a nutritious choice.
Deli sliced chicken provides pre-sliced, ready-to-eat chicken that can be easily incorporated into a variety of recipes. Opt for freshly sliced rotisserie, grilled, or roasted chicken over highly processed options. Store properly and use within 3-5 days for safety and quality. Enjoy deli chicken in sandwiches, salads, snacks, casseroles, and other dishes for a boost of protein. Eaten in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet, deli chicken can be a healthy and handy kitchen staple.