12 June 2010

Get Your Jerky On: A High Protein, Low Fat Snack Alternative

The thought of eating jerky may bring up images of truck drivers on a lonely road or modern day cowboys for some. Honestly, I can't even recall a TV ad campaign for beef jerky except for jerky dog treats! One of the most well known jerky brands, Jerky Links gets press by sponsoring televised Poker tournaments.

The thing is that the value of jerky as a filling, potentially nutritious snack has been far overlooked. Jerky is a good source of lean protein with vitamins and minerals found in meat in a portable and convenient package. There are so many jerky to choose from-turkey, beef, buffalo, and even ham and ostrich as well as different flavors and moisture levels from quite dry to relatively moist.

I've never been a jerky person, but after giving this unique snack a fair try I've found that I actually like it. But like every other snack, all jerky are not created the same. Many varieties, especially the most popular ones have many preservatives, additives and sodium nitrite added. These include sodium erythrobate, monosodium glutamate, and maltodextrin. But jerky can be more wholesome.

One variety which has no preservatives and sodium nitrites, and is gluten free is Trader Joe's Organic Beef Jerky and other jerky varieties. I've tried the beef and turkey versions. The original beef jerky variety was slightly sweet due to the sugar cane juice added, and had a satisfying taste. It is also quite moist, chewy and "meaty". Each serving is about 70 calories, and has 11g of protein.

Golden Valley brand of jerky is one brand which comes up in a google search for organic or natural beef jerky. It has good ratings on Amazon, but I haven't tried it myself.

Many of the preservative-free jerky on the market come form "mom and pop" small businesses, many of them with an online presence. One of the more popular ones is House of Jerky which has a variety of jerky options.

You can also make beef jerky at home. Many recipes are available online as well as instruction videos. A simple google search yields a large number of results to get you started.

Perhaps you're not ready to embrace the jerky just yet. However, if you've ever used a protein shake, "power bar", energy drink as an afternoon pick-me up or to satisfy hunger then you should know that they often don't do the job and can leave you still hungry and physically drained at times. Beef jerky pr another type of jerky could be a more practical and effective alternative. So get your jerky on!

To Your Enjoyable and Guilt-Free Food Experiences,


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