Let’s talk about nutrient-dense and satisfying snacks. More specifically snacking on beef jerky. Is it healthy? What brands are best? What even is beef jerky? Baze registered dietitian, Gabrielle is here to give you the rundown on healthy snacking and beef jerky!
The perfect snack foundation
When it comes to snacking, you want something that will satisfy your taste buds but also your hunger and energy levels. Therefore, protein and fiber-rich snacks are ideal. Both of these nutrients provide you with long-lasting energy.
Protein-rich snacks include nut butter, trail mix, beef jerky, cottage cheese, beans, seeds, and hard-boiled eggs. Fiber-rich snacks include raw fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grain products, and seeds. It’s important to keep at top of mind that flavor and preference are also key because a snack or meal will never satisfy you if you do not enjoy it.
One of my all-time favorite on-the-go snacks is a clean, sustainable piece of beef jerky. And I’m not talking about Slim Jims. Sorry, Dad. By adding an easy fiber source, like an apple or berries, the sweet + salty combo is both satisfying and satiating.
Keep reading for my favorite brand and what to look for the next time you shop for this hearty snack.
What is beef jerky?
Native American descendants of the Incas started making beef jerky in order to preserve meats for the winter and anytime when hunting was not as accessible. Now, beef jerky producers cure it with salt and heat and sometimes add some seasoning for flavor.
Is beef jerky healthy?
The nutritional composition of beef jerky provides several dietary benefits. During the curing process, moisture and fat are removed from the meat making it an excellent source of protein without the heavy fat composition, leaving only 3% fat.
My top reasons for choosing beef jerky:
- Hunger-satisfying protein after a workout
- A healthy snack for your work desk or children’s lunch box
- Light, easy-to-pack snacks for a hike, skiing, camping, or road trip
- No prep, no mess
However, many beef jerky companies you may be familiar with fill their products with sodium, nitrites, MSG, and artificial ingredients in order to preserve and mass produce it, which reduces the nutritional benefits. To make the most of your jerky, look for the following when shopping.
What to look for in clean, sustainable, and healthy beef jerky
- No synthetic nitrites, MSG, or other synthetic or artificial ingredients
- Sodium: Keep to 450 mg or less per serving. Excessive sodium can lead to bloating and negative effects on heart health.
- Sugar: As close to 0g of added sugar as possible; at least less than 5 g per serving.
- Beef source: The best healthy jerky brands use grass-fed, organic, and hormone-free beef.
Meet my favorite healthy beef jerky brand: People’s Choice
My go-to beef jerky brand is People’s Choice Beef Jerky. It is incredibly nutrient-dense and convenient for my on-the-go lifestyle. Their jerky has minimal and clean ingredients, has a high protein content. I deeply appreciate the sustainability of their products and the incredible flavors People’s Choice offers. Not to mention, when I purchase People’s Choice Beef Jerky I get to support a family-owned, small business.
People’s Choice nutritional breakdown
I conducted a nutrient analysis of the People’s Choice Beef Jerky products and found that their jerky products are a good source of the following nutrients, meaning they contain >10% of your daily needs of:
- Phosphorus: 15%
- Vitamin B6: 14.8%
- Iron: 11.3%
- Choline: 11.1%
And an excellent source, containing >20% of your daily needs, of:
- Vitamin B12: 29% DV
Supports energy production, cognitive performance, nervous system health, cardiovascular health, immune health.
- Selenium: 22% DV
Supports immune health, normal detoxification pathways, hair, skin, and nail health, a healthy inflammatory response, and thyroid function.
- Zinc: 30% DV
Supports immune function, skin health and wound healing, early fetal development during pregnancy, and necessary for protein and DNA synthesis and gene expression and cell proliferation.
Personally, I struggle to obtain adequate amounts of choline, protein, vitamin B12, selenium, and zinc. While consuming this tasty treat, I know that I am fueling my body with the nutrients it needs.
Protein-rich snack for my busy lifestyle
With my busy, active lifestyle I am often looking for ways to fuel myself while on-the-go. Therefore, my snacks are often non-perishable and protein-rich so that I can ensure I am meeting my protein needs for the day. It prevents me from snacking on cardboard carbs that are not satisfying and leave me even more hungry.
The ingredients are insanely minimal and clean. Most often, they are simply beef, salt, and spices.
Sustainability of farm and production
To me, the sustainability of farms and animals is a top priority. When it comes to beef sustainability, it’s about being able to produce beef in a way that’s responsible for the environment, animals, and consumers. There’s a commitment to environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic viability. Most importantly, being a caretaker to the animals, the land and waters, being a good neighbor and community member, and maintaining profitability while doing it.
Brian Bianchetti, Fourth Generation from People’s Choice says they honor sustainability by “exclusively partnering with suppliers that share their core philosophy: doing the right thing can be beneficial to all and helps customers and communities thrive in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way. This includes requiring all-beef suppliers to meet the following quality standards: demonstrate a real and accountable commitment to animal care and handling; uphold the highest of food safety standards to deliver a wholesome product, no corners cut; and a commitment to the long-term sustainability of both the food chain and the environment.”
As a multi-generational family business, People’s Choice understands its place in the larger picture. It wants future generations to enjoy their jerky. To do so, it works with its partners to manage resources both for what’s needed today and what will be needed for years to come.
Supporting a family-owned, small business
I always prefer to support small or family-owned businesses when I’m looking at food brands. People’s Choice Beef Jerky is a fourth-generation family-owned business.
Mark and Brian, the grandson and great-grandson of the original founder, have incredible stories of growing up with this business. Mark says he can still remember the thrill of riding to the shop with the two men he admires most in the world: his father and grandfather. His grandfather greeted every customer as if they were family.
Despite the passing of time and generations, Brian, Mark, and their family have maintained their commitment to the founding principles of their grandfather. Mark’s father, Paul Bianchetti, joined the company in 1955 and carried on the grandfather’s principles.
The family says that over the years, they have been able to reinvent their products and services based on changing market trends while still retaining their true identity.
Their current line of natural-style beef jerky products is a testament to this fact. Drawing inspiration from their grandfather’s recipes and simple techniques, their beef jerky products are a direct representation of what makes People’s Choice Beef Jerky great — handmade, quality meats made for modern times.
The many flavors of People’s Choice
The Ultimate Collection of Keto Beef Jerky line has so many unique and flavorful options. All of the beef jerky snacks located in this Keto jerky collection are 100% Sugar-Free (0g Sugar) and 100% Carb-Free (0g Carb).
They have everything from Original, to Hot & Spicy, to Machaca. My personal favorite would be the Limon Con Chile.
According to People’s Choice, this line is inspired by the diverse culinary tradition of Downtown Los Angeles and its many migrant groups with bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and simple techniques.
Whole cuts of 100% USA beef are cut into thick strips, marinated with lemon juice and an all-natural spice blend featuring cracked red pepper and guajillo chili powder, then slow-cooked for a minimum of 5 hours to craft the best beef jerky. There’s an initial kick of heat from cracked red pepper blended into the richness of guajillo chili powder, cracked black pepper, and sea salt; finished with a touch of lemon.
Wondering about your vitamin B12, selenium, or zinc nutrient levels?
Get your nutrient levels checked today with Baze. Use code PCBEEFJERKY for 25% off your first Nutrient Test Kit.
*This blog from Baze is for information purposes only and should not take the place of medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
- B12 deficiency: a look beyond pernicious anemia.
- Vitamin B12 in health and disease: part I–inherited disorders of function, absorption, and transport.
- Cobalamin and folate evaluation: measurement of methylmalonic acid and homocysteine vs vitamin B(12) and folate.
- The role of selenium in inflammation and immunity: from molecular mechanisms to therapeutic opportunities.
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Selenium
- Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc.
- Meta-Analysis: Effects of Zinc Supplementation Alone or with Multi-Nutrients, on Glucose Control and Lipid Levels in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.