Biltong vs Other Ready-to-Eat Protein Snacks
Ready-to-eat protein snacks such as biltong, beefy jerky, and protein bars are a popular choice post-workout, during hikes and long bike rides, or as a healthy alternative to junk food. They are also frequently chosen by athletes and bodybuilders to help meet the daily protein requirement. And for people following a low-carb diet (link to keto/LCHF article), high-protein snacks also appear to be a good option.
But ready-to-eat protein snacks come in many different forms. Some are healthy and nourishing, while others are not much more than candy bars in disguise. With all these options out there, how do you know which ones to choose?
In this article, we compare biltong with a few of the other popular ready-to-eat high-protein snacks to help you make an informed decision. The snacks we will cover include:
- Protein bars
- Mixed nuts
- Beef jerky
|Protein content||Low-carb?||Good source of vitamins/minerals?|
|Biltong||50% or more||Yes||Yes|
|Protein bars||Varies per brand||Maybe, depending on brand||Maybe, depending on brand|
|Mixed nuts||Up to 20%||Yes||Yes|
|Beef jerky||30 - 40%, depending on brand||Maybe, depending on brand||Yes, but some vitamins and minerals are destroyed during heat-processing|
Protein bars contain high quantities of protein, are super convenient, have a long shelf, and often taste good. Depending on the brand, they may be even be vegan- or vegetarian-friendly. So far, so good.
One major drawback of protein bars, however, is that they often come packed with sugar and other additives, such as artificial flavours and colours. Even those that contain 100% natural ingredients only are not always as healthy as they appear - they sometimes contain as much sugar as a candy bar, but then in the form of dates, for example.
If you choose to snack on protein bars, therefore, make sure that you read the nutrition label carefully.
Also keep in mind that different protein bars include different sources of protein. Some may be made with soy protein, while others may be made with whey or pea protein. This is especially good to be aware of if you have a soy or lactose allergy.
Nuts are a great natural source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Different nuts contain varying quantities of proteins and other nutrients, and therefore it is a good idea to mix or alternate them.
Nuts are also naturally low-carb and sugar-free.
Some types of nuts that are particularly high in protein include almonds (approximately 20% protein), as well as cashews, walnuts, and hazelnuts, all of which contain around 15% protein.
One drawback of nuts as a protein source is that they are high in fat. Unless you choose the unsalted versions, they may also be high in sodium.
In general, it is a good idea to eat a small portion of nuts (approximately a handful) a few times a week.
Beef jerky is a dried meat snack, similar to biltong. It is high in protein and iron, but is also high in sodium and, depending on the brand, may be high in carbohydrates.
Beef jerky is mostly made with lean cuts, which means that it may be lower in fat than certain types of biltong, which may be made with lean or fatty cuts of meat.
Unlike biltong, beef jerky is heat-treated, which destroys some of the essential nutrients in the meat. Since beef jerky is usually smoked, it also contains potentially harmful nitrates.
Preservatives, sugar, and artificial flavours are often added to beef jerky to enhance the taste, making it a less healthy snack than biltong.
Biltong is a dried meat snack that is high in protein (usually containing 50% protein or more) and iron and low in carbohydrates. It is marinaded in vinegar, salt, and spices (typically coriander) and then air-dried, rather than heat-processed. This means that the essential vitamins and minerals, such as the B vitamins and zinc, remain intact.
Particularly when made with fatty cuts of meat, biltong may have a higher fat content than beef jerky. However, it is usually lower in sodium and is free of artificial preservatives, nitrates, and sugar.
In our opinion, biltong is the tastiest, and probably also one of the healthiest, of all the ready-to-eat high protein snacks. But don’t take our word for it - order your own supply here and decide for yourself!