When looking for a quick snack that’ll satiate your hunger, jerky is one of the best options available. Most conventional jerkies are full of chemicals, sugars, and fat, so we’ve looked into some healthier options.
In our research, we found that the best healthy jerkies can be made from a variety of meats, contain just a few whole food ingredients, and have a balanced macronutrient profile. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve handpicked some of our favorite healthy jerkies available online.
Top 10 Best Healthy Jerkies to Buy Online
When looking for a jerky that’s good for you, simplicity is almost always better.
1. Ayoba-Yo Biltong Grass Fed, Tender Beef Snack (2 oz)
Best No-Fluff Beef Jerky
Biltong is a minimally processed South African jerky that’s been sun-dried and contains no sugar. It’s soft, easy to chew, and great for those watching their macros.
Reviewers write that it’s well-spiced and tasty, despite the lack of sugar. The slices are on the thinner side, and many write that it’s as close as you can get to real African biltong without having to fly to Africa.
|Type||Grass-fed and finished beef|
|Ingredients||Beef, sea salt, coriander, Worcestershire powder, pepper, vinegar|
|Per Serving||Serving Size: 1 package (57 g), Calories: 180, Carbs: <1g, Sugar: 0g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 5g, Sodium: 700mg|
2. Golden Island Korean BBQ Pork Jerky (3 oz)
Best Flavored Pork Jerky
This Korean-spiced pork jerky is soft, succulent, and extremely tasty. It’s made in small batches with all-natural, whole food ingredients.
Reviewers rave about its addictive flavoring that’s neither too sweet nor too salty. They write that the texture is moist and not at all stringy like some jerkies can be.
|Ingredients||Pork, sugar, water, Korean-inspired seasoning, brown sugar, gluten free soy sauce, contains 2% or less of salt, chili powder (red pepper, salt), sesame oil|
|Per Serving||Serving Size: 1 oz, Calories: 90, Carbs: 10g, Sugar: 10g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 2g, Sodium: 360mg|
3. OneForNeptune Wild Caught White Fish Jerky, Fiery Cajun (2.2 oz)
Best Sustainable Fish Jerky
This lower calorie, almost non-fat jerky is made from sustainable, while-caught white fish. It’s flavored with a delightful combination of fresh herbs and spices and is non-GMO and gluten-free.
Reviewers love the healthier nutrient profile compared to beef and though it has a very similar texture to beef. It has just the vaguest fish scent but hardly tastes fishy, which makes it great for those averse to seafood.
|Type||Wild-caught white fish|
|Ingredients||Pacific yellowtail rockfish, liquid aminos, coconut sugar, natural hickory smoke flavor, arbol pepper, sea salt, paprika, citric acid, tomato, rosemary, garlic, fennel seed, black pepper, cayenne|
|Per Serving||Serving Size: 1 oz, Calories: 60, Carbs: 5g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 0.5g, Sodium: 570mg|
4. Wild West Jerky Wood-Smoked Buffalo Jerky (2 oz)
Best Buffalo Jerky
Made with just a few choice ingredients, this buffalo jerky is about as all-natural as you can get. It’s thick-cut and tender MORE
Reviewers liken eating this jerky to snacking on filet mingon and absolutely love the meaty flavor and texture. However, it is a bit pricey for the amount that you get, so you may want to consider this a treat jerky.
|Ingredients||Buffalo, sea salt, garlic, wood smoked 100% hickory|
|Per Serving||Serving Size: , Calories: , Carbs: , Sugar: , Protein: , Fat: , Sodium:|
5. People’s Choice Beef Jerky (1 lb.)
Best Bulk Beef Jerky
This bulk bag of beef jerky is nothing but the good stuff. Sugar-, gluten-, and MSG-free, it’s beef jerky the old-fashioned way–chewy, not too soft, but not too hard either.
Reviewers write that this jerky is lean, simply flavored, and requires a bit of chewing. Despite its lack of preservatives, it is good for up to a year unrefrigerated, which shows you that it’s properly preserved.
|Ingredients||Beef, water, seasoning (sea salt, spices, garlic)|
|Per Serving||Serving Size: 1 oz, Calories: 90, Carbs: 0g, Sugar: 0g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 2.5g, Sodium: 490mg|
6. Sogo Snacks Beef Sticks (12 Count, 1 oz Each)
Best Stick-Style Beef Jerky
For those who like the grab-and-go beef stick type jerkies, here’s a healthier, preservative-free option. Unlike most beef sticks, which tend to be made from low-quality meat scraps, these are made with Non-GMO Project-certified grass-fed beef.
Reviewers love the flavor and texture and write that these are much less greasy than conventional beef jerky stick. However, do note that this particular listing might arrive close to the expiration date, so be sure to double check your package before eating.
|Type||Grass-fed and finished beef|
|Ingredients||Beef, water, sea salt, citric acid, celery juice, black pepper, red pepper, granulated garlic, coriander, white pepper, in beef collagen casings|
|Per Serving||Serving Size: 1 stick, Calories: 90, Carbs: 1g, Sugar: 0g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 6g, Sodium: 350mg|
7. The New Primal Free-Range Chicken & Maple Meat Sticks for Kids (8 Count, 5 Sticks Each)
Best Snack Jerky for Kids and Adults
This chicken jerky is packaged for kids to take as a snack, but it’s great for adults as well. Low-calorie and just lightly sweet, it’s a well-balanced snack to help you stay energized through the day.
Reviewers (and their kids) love the flavor and appreciate that it’s a balanced alternative to sugar-laden snacks. Though it comes in 8 packages, each stick is wrapped individually, making it easy to grab on the go.
|Type||Free-range and pasture-raised chicken|
|Ingredients||Chicken, honey, maple syrup, lactic acid, sea salt, black pepper, celery juice powder, ginger, coriander, in collagen casings|
|Per Serving||Serving Size: 2 sticks (1 oz), Calories: 50, Carbs: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 1.5g, Sodium: 200mg|
8. FBomb Keto Meat Sticks, Salt and Pepper Pork
Best High-Fat, Ket0-Friendly Pork Jerky
With 10 grams of fat per serving (and just 1 gram of carbs), these high-fat pork sticks were designed with those following a ketogenic diet in mind. Each stick is individually wrapped, which makes it easy to grab for an on-the-go snack.
Reviewers write that these sticks really curb your hunger. They’re softer than some other stick-style jerkies and the skin breaks down easily with the meat, but some reviewers report that the texture can be a little grainy.
|Type||Crate-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free pork|
|Ingredients||Pork, water, sea salt, cracked black pepper, citric acid, cultured celery powder, cherry powder, natural liquid smoke, coriander, ground clove, in beef collagen casings|
|Per Serving||Serving Size: 1 stick (24 g), Calories: 120, Carbs: 1g, Sugar: 0g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 10g, Sodium: 330mg|
9. Wild Zora Meat and Veggie Bars, Mediterranean Lamb (10 Count, 1 oz Each)
Best Fruit and Veggie-Infused Jerky
These meat and veggie bars are like granola bars for carnivores–they’re primarily made from antibiotic- and hormone-free lamb but also include veggies and fruits for added flavor, texture, and nutrients.
Reviewers write that these bars are soft, rich, and moist. The flavor is delicate, and the taste of lamb isn’t overpowering. However, they aren’t very large, and you may find that they’re a bit expensive for the amount you get.
|Ingredients||Natural lamb, spinach, apricots, dates, garlic, onion, celery, sea salt, oregano, rosemary, turmeric|
|Per Serving||Serving Size: 1 package (28 g), Calories: 120, Carbs: 8g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 7g, Sodium: 200mg|
10. Perky Jerky Turkey Jerky (14 oz)
Best Super Soft Turkey Jerky
Despite how lean this turkey is (less than 1 gram of fat per serving), it’s still soft and succulent–guaranteed not to get stuck in your teeth.
Reviewers write that it’s extremely tender–which may not be what you’re looking for, admittedly. It comes in large pieces, which is great if you don’t want to keep sticking your hand in the bag.
|Ingredients||Turkey breast, gluten-free soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, garlic powder, black pepper|
|Per Serving||Serving Size: 1 oz, Calories: 80, Carbs: 8g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 0.5g, Sodium: 350mg|
How to Choose a Healthy Jerky – Buying Guide
Figuring out what’s healthy and what isn’t is pretty easy when it comes to jerkies. Keep the following in mind, and you should be good to go.
Consider Flavor and Nutrition When Choosing a Meat
We’re most used to seeing beef jerky, but in fact, almost any kind of meat can be made into a jerky. When deciding what kind of meat to get, you naturally want to think about how it’ll taste, but different meats also have different nutrient profiles. Beef, for instance is high in protein but also quite high in fat. Venison or bison, on the other hand, are leaner and have a more unique gamey flavor. Fish jerky can sometimes be high in fat, but those fats are heart-healthy Omega-3s.
Another way to determine the nutrition of the meat that you’re eating is by looking for labeling that states the meat has been “grass-fed and finished” and is hormone- and antibiotic-free. Meats raised in conventional mass agriculture are often pumped full of chemicals and fed foods that lead to lower nutritional values.
When Looking at Ingredients, Avoid Preservatives and Artificial Flavorings
The key ingredients that many people try to avoid when picking a jerky are nitrates and nitrites. These are used as preservatives in meats and have been linked to cancer. While the science is still a bit shaky on the exact quantities required to cause harm, it’s still best to avoid them where possible.
As a good measure, look for jerkies that have ingredient lists that only include things you yourself might use in the kitchen. Particularly if you’re going for a flavored jerky, it’s important to carefully read the label.
Watch Fat and Sodium Levels
At it’s core, jerky is essentially meat that’s been cured in salt. As such, it’s unsurprising that a lot of jerkies can have some pretty high levels of sodium. However, too much sodium can be bad for your health, particularly if you have heart problems. To ensure that you’re not consuming too much sodium, look for jerkies that have less than 500mg of sodium per serving (though that’s still about 20% of your daily recommended amount!). Be sure to also check serving size.
You may also want to be conscious of how much fat is in your jerky. Jerkies with higher fat content can taste more succulent and soft, but you should aim to look for a jerky with under 5 grams per serving.
Jerky can be one of the most healthful snacks–if you know what to look for. Just don’t forget to also consider flavor!
By Jacqueline Oshiro
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