It’s portable, you can buy it anywhere, and it’s super high in protein, with nine grams (19% of daily value in a 2,000-calorie diet) in a mere one-ounce serving.

No, beef jerky isn’t one of those “superfoods” you can eat with reckless abandon—most is relatively high in sodium (26% of DV) and fat content (seven grams of fat, three grams of saturated fat)—both of which can lead to high blood pressure. And like a lot of snacks, it’s easy to eat more than that suggested serving size.

Still, there’s no reason to write off beef jerky. Compared to other snacks you can get at a gas station, beef jerky comes out light years ahead in terms of protein and fat content, plus it contains vitamins and minerals like zinc (11%), which helps maintain healthy cardiovascular cells; and iron (8%), which is vital for muscle contractions.

Ruth Frechman, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests trying some beef jerky with fruit as a whole-food postworkout meal: The fruit carbs complete the picture and help halt the catabolic response.

Where’s the Beef? Get a leaner cut of jerky from grass-fed cows, which have more omega-3 fats than grain-fed.

Home Made Beef Jerky


  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 lb eye of round, sliced
  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce


  1. In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, ground black pepper, and brown sugar to taste. Combine well and add the steak slices. Place entire mixture with meat into a sealed plastic container and refrigerate for 12–24 hours.
  2. In the oven, place one oven rack on the highest rack level and one rack on the lowest level. Place a piece of aluminum foil OR a baking sheet on the lowest rack to catch any drippings. Preheat oven to 160˚.
  3. Insert a wooden toothpick through the end of each slice of meat, and suspend each slice from the top rack in the oven, using the toothpick to support the slice.
  4. Bake at 160˚ with the oven door slightly open to allow moisture to escape. Bake for 6–8 hours depending on thickness of slices. Jerky should bend, not snap. Add hot sauce for additional flavor.
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