If you go into a convenience store, it's not hard to find some beef jerky. This dried but tender meat is the perfect salty snack— who wouldn't want to eat it? But, despite it consisting of a primary food group, is beef jerky healthy? I'll help you find out!

Is Beef Jerky Healthy?

Megan Yee

There are a few key components to beef jerky that determine how healthy it is. First, beef jerky contains saturated fat, and if you eat a lot of saturated fats, you might increase your chances of getting heart disease or type 2 diabetes and raise cholesterol levels.

This snack also has a relatively large amount of sodium to help preserve the meat and enhance the flavoring. It's recommended that adults intake a maximum of 2300 mg of sodium per day, and one serving of beef jerky typically has 580 mg.

Beef jerky isn't all bad, though. It contains a lot of iron and zinc, which are two essential minerals for your diet. Beef jerky contains approximately 1.5 mg of iron and 2 mg of zinc, which is a decent amount.

When looking for a healthier beef jerky, try to find brands that contain less saturated fat and sodium levels. One such brand is Think Jerky, which only has 0.3 g of saturated fat and 224 mg of sodium per serving. Another is Brooklyn Biltong, which has 0.5 g of saturated fat and 380 mg of sodium per serving.  

What is a Healthy Snack?

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Jocelyn Hsu

It's important to know that when you want to eat a snack, it should be a nutritional one when you feel hungry between meals. Such snacks should, therefore, be high in fiber and include carbohydrates for a quick source of energy or protein for satiety.

Fruits, nuts, vegetables, eggs, or even potato chips are good examples of healthy snacks. You should avoid highly processed foods because they're typically low in fiber and high in sodium and unhealthy fats, which don't help your body.

Hopefully, now that you understand the nutritional drawbacks of beef jerky, it will be easier to differentiate which beef jerky brands are healthier than typical junk food. It's important to look after your health to prevent diseases, and being aware of what you eat is one way to do that!