June 12 is National Jerky Day, and we highly recommend you celebrate by stuffing your face with some beef jerky. Sure, it’s one of those holidays someone made up, BUT you get to eat jerky...so really, everybody wins here.
One caveat: make sure you only stuff that beautiful face with the healthiest beef jerky possible.
Is jerky healthy?
It depends. Choose a jerky brand that’s low in sugar and free from artificial ingredients, and jerky can be a healthy high-protein snack. Bonus points for grass-fed beef, which is higher in Omega-3s and other nutrients. On the other hand, some beef jerky has as much as 9g of sugar and over 700 mg of sodium per ounce as well as nitrites and other artificial ingredients.
So what makes a jerky healthy? Jordan Mazur – registered dietician, Director of Nutrition for the San Francisco 49ers, and contributing writer for Men’s Journal – recommends looking for jerky with 500 mg of sodium or less per serving and no more than 5g of added sugar. (For more nutritional advice, check out our interview with Jordan on grass-fed beef.)
The Eat This, Not That guide to best and worst jerky brands has similar guidelines. They look for less than 450 mg of sodium and 5g of sugar per serving and no synthetic nitrates or MSG. They also recommend choosing jerky made with grass-fed beef for its higher Omega-3 content and conjugated linoleic acid.
Oh and just casually throwing this out there: Country Archer made both the Eat This, Not That and Men’s Journal healthiest beef jerky lists.
What makes Country Archer jerky healthy?
1. Low or Zero Sugar
Almost all Country Archer checks the “5g of sugar or less per ounce” box. (Our Sweet Chipotle Turkey Jerky has just 6 grams… worth. it.) And all products in our Zero Sugar jerky and meat sticks have, well… you get it.
2. Grass-Fed Beef & All-Natural Turkey
We pretty much never get tired of talking about the benefits of grass-fed beef, and we definitely never get tired of eating it. For our turkey jerky, we only use all-natural turkey raised without antibiotics.
3. Gluten Free
It can be ridiculously hard to find gluten-free jerky, so we fixed that. To keep all of our jerky gluten-free, we stick to using tamari, which is basically soy sauce without the gluten.
4. Lower in Sodium
All of our jerky meets the guideline of less than 450 mg of sodium per serving, and a lot of our flavors come in way lower than that. Teriyaki has 220 mg, Crushed Red Pepper has 160 mg, and Mango Habanero has just 120.
5. No Nitrites, MSG, or Artificial Ingredients