When dieting, adding more protein in place of excessive carbohydrates into your diet is a great first step in making a more efficient and healthier diet. It is because your body finds it more difficult to break down protein and spends more calories to digest protein. Meat jerky is one of the best protein snacks available as it is almost all protein and a very nutrient dense food.
Meat Jerky has been a popular snack for a very long time. Nowadays you’ll see it in your grocery store, convenience stores, and even at gas stations. The problem is that most stores end up putting jerky near the junk food which gives it the impression of being an unhealthy processed snack.
The most popular meat jerky is beef jerky. There are other alternatives if you’re not a fan of beef jerky. Some of the best alternatives are turkey and chicken jerky.
The Benefits of Jerky
Whether you prefer turkey, chicken, or beef jerky, they all share the same common benefits. Meat jerky contains many benefits such as:
- Low in fat and calories – Because of the process in which jerky is made, the fat in the meat tends to drip off and when the jerky dries it contains fewer calories from the same amount of meat prior to undergoing the jerk process.
- Convenience – Once jerky is made, it becomes a quick go-to snack that lasts for a long time. Since there aren’t too many healthy snacks that are also readily available to eat, it makes jerky a very good choice when you need a healthy quick bite to eat.
- Packed with Protein – Jerky is a very nutrient dense food for its weight. Most of the nutrients in jerky are protein. Most types of meat jerky contain at least 10 grams of protein per ounce of jerky.
- Fills You Up – Since jerky is such a nutrient dense food, it tends to fill you up on less calories which is great when you’re looking to burn off unwanted body fat.
The Downsides of Jerky
While there are many benefits of jerky, there are some downsides that you should be aware of. They are:
High Sodium – The way the jerky process is made, it requires salt. It is essential to preserve the jerky. However some jerky contains higher amounts of sodium than others so it is important you pay attention to your salt intake while eating jerky. In case you didn’t know, consuming too much sodium makes you retain water which isn’t good to lose weight or look fit.
Jerky is Expensive – If you’re buying jerky pre-packaged you’re going to be paying roughly between $2 – $5 per ounce of jerky. This makes jerky a very expensive snack to have on a regular basis.
Assessing the Facts
The truth is, the benefits of jerky far outweigh any of the downsides. However, not all jerky is the same and there are two things you need to be careful of if you’re buying prepackaged jerky.
- Check the Ingredients – Prepackaged jerky can contain sodium nitrates, MSG, preservatives, and loads of sodium. Make sure you stick to a brand that doesn’t add junk to the ingredient list.
- Watch the Serving Size – Some of the prepackaged jerky has a serving size of the entire bag while others have serving sizes of just an ounce. Make sure you’re getting an accurate idea of how much you’re consuming by paying attention to the serving size.
I prefer to make jerky myself to avoid the potential bad ingredients and to cut my costs. In fact, I find I can make my own jerky at roughly 1/5 of the cost of pre-packaged jerky.
What is also nice about making your own jerky is that you can create your own unique flavors and there is not much prep time involved.
So whether you choose to make your own jerky or buy prepackaged jerky, it can be a great option for a healthy high protein snack.
What’s your favorite kind of jerky?