Jerky. It’s either a product of adoration, or derision. It’s the stuff of man caves, football, and redneck jokes. Typically considered “guy food,” you might be surprised to know that plenty of women have discovered jerky to be a (reasonably) healthy snack that can become quite addictive. People who don’t like to eat a lot of meat, still should be eating a minimum of 4 ounces (112 grams) of protein a day. If you don’t, your body will “steal” that amount, causing some of your most prominent body parts to sag. And who wants that? Eating protein as a snack such as jerky satisfies hunger, and with it, offers a delicious, low fat, low carbohydrate snack that everyone in the family can enjoy.
You might wonder what “jerky” actually is, Jerky” is a term is usually used to describe meat (generally beef) that has been thinly sliced, cured and dried rapidly for purposes of preservation. While it is a favorite American snack food, the word is actually derived from the Spanish term “charqui” and before that, from the sixteenth century Incan word “ch’arki ” (supposedly a form of dried meat that went through some sort of curing process). The use of dried meat (or “jerky”) goes back even farther to the ancient Egyptians, who also preserved meat that way.
While jerky, admittedly is often considered to be a down-scale product, the truth is that jerky is tasty and it’s good for maintaining one’s weight. Even better, it is a very portable food item that is lightweight, clean, and won’t raise eyebrows at the airport security line.
If there’s a down side, it’s that jerky can be very chewy. You can’t just just wolf it down. And that’s a pretty good thing if you want to savor your snack. But if you have tender gums or don’t like to chew hard on food, you may find marinated jerky (e.g. Teriyaki Jerky) to be easier on the jaw. On the plus side, “chewy” means the slower consumption gives you many more minutes of snacking mileage from this meaty snack.
A common misconception about jerky is that all of it is bad for you because of the salt used to preserve it. While some types of jerky can be fairly high in sodium, others really aren’t. Check the back labels, and you’ll be surprised that some jerky contains much less salt that other snack foods (e.g. potato chips and pretzels), and it still ranks higher on the “health” scale. For example, some of JACK’s Links Turkey Based jerky is modest in sodium levels. Most jerky is also reasonably low in sugar, and the preservation process reduces a lot of the fat you’d find in other meat products.
Talking Turkey: The Advice Sisters have written about Jacks Links in the past, but now the company has updated their Turkey-based jerky, and so we are taking another look! Jack Link’s Tender Bites are recently rebranded from “Jack Link’s Nuggets” and the brand offers a number of different Tender Bites offerings—including Flamin’ Buffalo Chicken (my personal favorite!), Teriyaki, Original, Peppered and, of course, Turkey. What makes Jack’s Links special is their “Tender Bites” products which use a small amount of molasses in the preservative process. This keeps the jerky very tender. Since it is cut into bite-size pieces, a handful is a satisfying snack size. These are a nice option, especially for those who don’t really like to eat beef, and/or who would rather have jerky with 25% less salt. Hopefully if the Turkey Tender Bites sell well, Jack’s Links will introduce additional flavors. The updated Turkey Jerky has a distinctive, green packaging that is also re-seal-able, to take with you wherever hunger might strike.
If you’re interested in trying turkey-based snacks from Jack’s Links, here’s the lineup:
Jack Link’s Original Turkey Jerky — 98 percent fat free, low in calories and carbs, and has no added MSG.
New Jack Link’s Oven Roasted Turkey Tender Bites — formerly called Jack Link’s Oven Roasted Turkey Nuggets, the new “Tender Bites” name suggests that it is easier to chew.
New Jack Link’s Original Turkey Strips — easy to tote servings of protein for anyone on the go.
New Jack Link’s Original Turkey Sticks — featuring easy-to-open packaging and a distinct, turkey taste.
New Jack Link’s Turkey Snack Stick & Cheese Combos — a two in one with a stick of smoked Wisconsin Cheddar cheese and a Jack’s Link’s Turkey Sticks, two great flavors collide in this tasty combo pack.
Tuck some Turkey jerky into your tote for a snack and you’ll never be waiting and wondering when you can get something to eat. Just be sure you get enough, to share!
You can find Jacks Links products at drug and mass market retailers nationwide. To learn more visit: www.jackslinks.com
*thanks to Anthony Sabatini for helping the Advice Sisters with this report