Beef jerky is a convenient and tasty snack. Oftentimes, sweet does not necessarily mean healthy, so you may be wondering whether or not beef jerky is as nutritious and healthy as it tastes. In this article, we address the question: is beef jerky healthy? We also consider what makes beef jerky healthy, how to pick your beef jerky and some of the best beef jerky options. That way, the next time you set out to buy jerky, you get the best.
Is Beef Jerky Healthy?
Yes. Beef jerky is a nutritious, protein-rich snack. It contains iron, folate, phosphorus, protein, vitamin B12, zinc, carbs, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, thiamine, potassium, selenium, copper, fiber, choline, and fat.
Besides being a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, beef jerky supplies small amounts of pantothenic acid and manganese to the body. Moreso, it is high in protein and low in carbs and calories, making it a great snack and an excellent accompaniment to various meals.
What Makes a Healthy Beef Jerky?
As with other foods, some qualities make for healthy beef jerky. Healthy beef jerky is:
- Well-sourced and made of high-quality ingredients. A healthy beef jerky uses top-quality fresh meat and high-quality spices.
- Rich in protein. One of the major benefits of eating beef jerky is that it's a protein-rich snack. Healthy beef jerky has an ample amount of protein in it.
- Free of artificial preservatives. Artificial preservatives may pose health risks to you and should be avoided when possible. So, before buying beef jerky in a store, go through the label to be sure you're not getting a jerky stuffed with artificial preservatives.
- Low in sugar and sodium. Salt is an essential part of jerky and adds to its flavor. However, healthy beef jerky doesn't use sugar and salt in excessive amounts. Besides, a high level of sodium may negatively impact your health.
What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing a Beef Jerky?
When choosing which beef jerky to buy, there are three key factors to consider.
Beef jerky is a nutritious snack. However, they are not all made equal, so if nutrition is a major concern for you, you should pay attention to individual labels because the constituents of beef jerky may vary from brand to brand.
At Holy Jerky, we understand that nutrition is critical, so we prepare our beef jerky carefully, using no preservatives or artificial flavors. At the same time, we ensure that they are rich in protein and low in fat, carbs, salt, and sugar. That way, you reap the full nutritional benefits of dropping that bag of chips for a pack of beef jerky.
Gone are the days when beef jerky was only available in a few unattractive flavors. Today, beef jerky is available in a wide range of flavors: sweet, salty, spicy, honey, savory, etc. You can get your jerky in teriyaki sauce or even have a sriracha lime jerky.
So, your flavor preference will play a key role in choosing beef jerky.
As with flavors, various textures of beef jerky are available, from driest and hardest to soft and tender. So you have a range of textures to choose from depending on how chewy you want your beef jerky to be.
Tips for Choosing Beef Jerky
Choose Beef Jerky Low in Sodium.
Salt is a crucial element of beef jerky and contributes to the taste and flavor of the jerky. However, high sodium may be detrimental to your health, increasing your risk of heart-related diseases. As such, make sure you go through the label and do not exceed 500mg of sodium per serving.
When it comes to beef jerky, sugar is not your pal. Taking sugar in excess exposes your body to a host of health conditions ranging from weight gain to liver problems and diabetes.
Moreso, while a small amount of sugar adds flavor to beef jerky, excess sugar is counterproductive as it transforms what would have otherwise been a healthy snack into a sugary one, like a chewy candy. When buying beef jerky, aim for those with 3 grams of sugar or less per serving.
Check for High Protein.
A key reason beef jerky is considered a healthy snack is its high protein content. When buying your jerky, target brands that offer at least 10g of protein per serving.
Look for Low-Fat Options.
The fat content of beef jerky can range from less than 1.5g to more than 3g per serving. So, although beef jerky is generally made with lean meat, you still need to check the label to see the fat content. Aim to buy beef jerky with 1.5g of sugar or less per serving.
Carefully Check the Label for Artificial Sweeteners or Preservatives.
Artificial sweeteners and preservatives are not essential in beef jerky, nor are they beneficial to your health. So, when choosing your beef jerky, look out for names like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and high fructose corn syrup. As a safeguard, it is a good idea to check out any ingredient that sounds strange or unfamiliar.
The Healthiest Beef Jerky Option
At Holy Jerky, we do not add artificial sweeteners or preservatives to our beef jerky, and they check all the boxes earlier discussed. So, our beef jerky is generally healthy for consumption. But, if you're finding it a little difficult to make up your mind, here are five great beef jerky options you may start with.
- Sweet and Sour Jerky combining tangy Asian flavors in a tasty combo.
- Sriracha lime Jerky, a seamless blend that combines bright citrus flavors and Thai chili heat.
- Teriyaki Jerky is a perfect accompaniment to tropical fruits.
- Dr. Pepper Jerky makes an excellent pair with popcorn, ice cream floats, and peaches.
- Bold Jerky Platter, is perfect for you if you like to enjoy multiple beef jerky flavors. Our bold jerky platter lets you have up to six different beef jerky flavors.
Is beef jerky healthy? Absolutely. Beef jerky is healthy and completely safe for consumption. However, when choosing your beef jerky, you should check the flavor, texture, sodium content, sugar content, and absence or presence of artificial sweeteners and preservatives, as beef jerky are not made equal.