Jerky is a popular snack that has been around for centuries. Historically, it was a way to preserve meat and make it last longer.
Today, it is enjoyed by many as a tasty and convenient snack. However, some people may be hesitant to add jerky to their regular diet due to concerns about its nutritional value.
Mostly, jerky lovers aren’t bothered much about its standard consumption habit; hence, its value goes unnoticed.
In this article, we will discuss four healthy ways to add jerky to your regular diet to get the most out of it. Read on.
- Choose the Right Kind of Jerky
The first step to adding jerky to your diet is choosing the right kind. Some types of jerky can be high in sodium, preservatives, and other additives, harming your health.
One of the best ways to select the right kind of jerky is to research authentic sources. Jerky Brands, one of the most reliable businesses in this field, can find you the best quality jerky on the market.
However, you may also look for jerky procured from high-quality lean meats with minimal additives. Beef, turkey, and bison are good choices for healthy meat sources.
Moreover, jerky doesn’t always have to be meat-based only. You can also find jerky made from plant-based protein sources like soy or mushrooms if you are vegetarian or vegan.
Adding the right kind of jerky will only make your diet tastier and more nutritious.
- Portion Control
Adding jerky to your regular diet isn’t just about consuming it without control. Although jerky can be a healthy snack option, it is still important to practice portion control.
Jerky is a high-protein food that can be beneficial for building and repairing muscles. However, consuming too much protein can be hard on your kidneys and lead to dehydration.
Limiting your jerky intake to one serving per day, which is usually around one ounce or a handful, is recommended. It’s all about going healthy with jerky, not binge eating it.
- Mixing Jerky with Various Meals
Jerky isn’t just a snack; you can also consume it with regular meals to add flavor and nutrition. Here are some healthy ways to mix jerky with your meals:
- Breakfast Scramble: Add diced jerky to your eggs for a protein-packed breakfast.
- Baked Potato Topping: Sprinkle chopped jerky over a baked potato for a filling and savory meal.
- Salad Toppers: Add chopped jerky to your salad for a protein boost and added crunch.
- Trail Mix: Mix jerky with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit (date, raisins, etc.) for a healthy and wholesome snack.
- Pizza Topping: Add chopped jerky to your homemade pizza for a protein boost and added flavor. Be careful with the ordered-in pizzas, as their taste may not go well with jerky.
- Sandwiches and Wraps: Add sliced jerky to your sandwich and wrap it for a delicious and filling snack or lunch.
- Omelet Filling: Add diced jerky to your omelet for a delicious and nutritious breakfast.
- Soup Topping: Top your soup with shredded jerky for a crunchy and flavorful garnish with every spoonful you sip.
- Charcuterie Board: Include jerky as part of your charcuterie board for a high-protein and satisfying snack.
- Stir-Fry: Add diced jerky as a protein booster to your stir-fry dish for added flavor.
4. Make Your Own Jerky
If you are concerned about the additives in store-bought jerky, consider making your own at home. This way, you can control the ingredients and ensure your jerky is made from high-quality, lean meats.
Select lean meats from beef, turkey, etc., while eliminating the excess fat. Cut them thinly into long strips for chewability. Then follow the rest of the process, including marinating, drying, dehydrating, and cooling.
Making your own jerky can be a fun and rewarding activity. It’s educating, healthy, and economical at the same time. Furthermore, you can include homemade low-carb jerky in your keto plan if you’re thinking about it.
5 Potential Side Effects of Overeating Jerky
Eating jerky in moderation is generally safe, but consuming it excessively can lead to several potential side effects. If you aren’t following moderation and the ways to consume jerky as mentioned above, you’re probably going to experience the following five threats:
- Digestive Problems: Jerky is also high in protein, which can be difficult to digest in large amounts. Overeating jerky can cause digestive problems such as bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
- High Sodium Intake: Jerky is often high in sodium, which can increase your blood pressure. Besides, overconsumption of jerky may increase your risk of heart disease and mild to a major stroke.
- Dehydration: Because jerky is dried, it contains very little water. Eating too much jerky without drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration. So, if you drink water very rarely daily, too much jerky isn’t good news for you.
- Increased Risk of Cancer: Some types of jerky are made with preservatives such as nitrates. Research shows that these types of jerky may be linked to increased cancer risk. So, check the labels on the jerky you’re buying from stores for specific harmful ingredients.
- Tooth Damage: Jerky isn’t juicy; it’s tight and chewy. Eating it excessively can damage your teeth over time if you eat it frequently while leaving teeth and gum uncleaned.
Hence, eating jerky in moderation and mixing it with other healthy foods is essential to avoid these potential side effects.
Jerky can be a healthy addition to your regular diet if you choose the right kind, practice portion control, and incorporate it into meals. It’s undoubtedly a healthy and tasty food. However, you mustn’t get ahead of yourself while having it.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the delicious taste and nutritional benefits of jerky without compromising your and your family’s health.