Today we all want to eat better, and that includes taking a close look at some foods we have long loved. For anyone who has ever hoisted a backpack, gone on a canoe trip or worked out in the gym, beef jerky is a familiar food. But just like any other kind of food, there are types of beef jerky that are healthy and good for you and some that would make a better wall hanging then food. So what can make a food most of us associate with too many additives and an over chewy taste good? It is all about how you make it.
A Question of Taste
For many beef jerky is part of a healthy diet, especially those who are looking to add more protein to their regime. For years, weight lifters have made this dried meat product a part of their diet because it is a quick and easy way to add more protein. After all, protein is how our body makes muscle, and these folks are all about the extra muscles. But it has never been just any beef jerky. Many dedicated weight lifters would dehydrate their own beef, allowing them to control such things as added salt and preservatives. Now even women’s diet publications are singing the praises of beef jerky. Because prepared right, it is not only healthy but a quick and tasty snack that is better for you then those store bought protein bars.
Beef Jerky Grows Up
While you may have pictures of old hippies drying out their beef on a sheet or bodybuilders chewing on a tough pile of meat, jerky has learned a few new tricks. Today’s version is low in salt, high in pure protein and often made from hormone-free turkey or chicken as well as the traditional beef. The meat they start with is better and the preservatives are often such healthy options as honey or herbs. Instead of smoking, it may be done in small batches and dried slowly. These new artisanal jerkies are tasty, sometimes even sweet and definitely not the tough chewy products of yesterday.
Jerky Sans the Animal
The real surprise is that there is jerky out there that doesn’t even have any animal meat in it at all. The latest craze has been a really flavorful soy jerky that is smoky and tasty, but moves beyond the taste bud fooling of earlier jerkies. This new family of soy jerky has created their own flavor that is satisfying but still in a league of its own. When you consider that chicken and turkey jerky is now so common you can pick them up in any decent grocery store, you can see that healthy good tasting jerky is easy to find.
So why continue to find excuses for not including this old fashion but newly recreated snack in your diet? While the old days of chewy hard to swallow salty beef jerky may turn you off, these new products will change your mind. They will add protein, something the growing number of seniors in our population need, to a diet without the chemicals, salt or unwanted calories. What is there in that to lose?