15 Healthy Salty Snacks
15 Healthy Salty Snacks
Whether your tooth is sweet or savory, 3:00 PM hits and that craving can be difficult to ditch. With a sweet tooth, a piece of fruit or yogurt may be enough to free you of that craving and get you home from work feeling like you conquered the day. But what about when you’re craving something salty? A bag of chips or pretzels is hardly the snack that helps you feel accomplished. So, what hits the fix?
First off, don’t be too hard on yourself. Our bodies need salt! According to the American Heart Association, as long as you’re not exceeding 2,300 mg of salt every day, you’re in good shape (https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/how-much-sodium-should-i-eat-per-day). Salt often has a negative connotation, but when it comes from the right snack, it fits harmoniously in a well-balanced diet. The real challenge is figuring what those healthy snacks are.
Tip #1: Avoid processed foods where possible
Processed foods are typically “anything that has been changed from its original, raw form” (https://www.cdc.gov/salt/pdfs/sodium_role_processed.pdf). The part of the product that is altered typically contains sodium additives, which can make the product less healthy. That includes a large percentage of the grocery store, so don’t panic! Start small and make changes where you can. Foods like nuts (www.eatables.co) or air-popped popcorn are minimally processed and have just enough salt to hit that craving.
Tip #2: Pair Salt with something beneficial
A big reason why a plate of French fries isn’t the best choice for your afternoon snack is that they don’t have much nutritional value. When deciding on your snack, try to include a vegetable or some whole grains. That way, you can enjoy something salty, while also checking an essential food group off your list. A few ideas for salty snacks that help fill up your food pyramid with the right choices include, veggies and hummus, whole grain crackers and almonds.
Tip #3: Don’t forget the H2O
This tip may seem a little basic, but it is often pushed to the side and forgotten. Our bodies are constantly balancing their water/sodium ratio. When salt is consumed, our brains are stimulated to make us thirsty and to replenish water consumption (https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-body-regulates-salt-levels). Don’t ignore it! Water and salt go hand in hand, so make sure you’re taking a few sips of H2O every time you take a bite of your salty snack.
Salt cravings are nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to all of us! Next time you’re filling that Ziploc bag before leaving for work or heading over to the office kitchen for a snack, remember these three tips: 1) Avoid processed foods, 2) Pair that something salty with an essential food group, and 3) Drink plenty of water. Enjoy your 3:00 PM salty snack!
Here’s a list of a few snacks we love to get you started!
- Baked Veggie Chips - You can try carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini or any other favorite! Slice the veggies into thin slices and coat with a little oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 400° for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!
- Trail Mix - This is a perfect sweet & salty mix that can combine salty almonds or peanuts with dried cranberries, raisins or coconut. If you’re including chocolate, be sure to make it dark. Have fun with it, and customize it exactly how you like it!
- Sea Salt Popcorn - Air-popped popcorn is 100% whole grain making it an excellent choice for a snack. And the best part is, it is super easy to make. Not everyone has an air popper, but a pressure cooker or a pot on the stove can do the trick. Don’t forget to add a little dash of salt!
- Hummus and Veggies - Hummus is typically made from ground chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice. These 4 simple ingredients mashed together are a great source of fiber and protein. Pair it with some veggies, and you’re hitting more than one major food group!
- Whole grain crackers and cheese - Double check that your crackers are low in sodium and whole grain, and you’re ready to enjoy your crackers guilt free. Some of our favorite whole grain crackers include Triscuit Crackers, Mary’s Gone Crackers and whole-grain Wheat Thins. Add in some mozzarella or cottage cheese for extra flavor!
- Nuts - Nuts are a great source of many different nutrients which makes them a great snack to give you that burst of energy you’re looking for every afternoon. There is also a wide variety of different nuts, so you can switch it up and not get bored of eating the same thing every day. A few of our favorites are almonds, pistachios and cashews.
- Turkey Roll Ups - Turkey provides the protein our bodies need, and you can make it exactly how you want it. Cheese, avocado, tomatoes, the world is your oyster! Look for labels that include “low sodium” to make sure your salt intake isn’t overloaded.
- Hard Boiled Eggs - Hard boiled eggs are quick, easy and healthy. It’s as simple as that! They are a great source of protein while still being low in calories and fat.
- Avocado Toast - This is a favorite. Find your favorite whole grain bread, smash some avocado on it, sprinkle some favorite seasonings and you’re ready to dig in. Avocados may be higher in fat and calories than other fruits, but they are healthy fats and calories keeping you fuller longer.
- Edamame - Edamame is a great low-calorie snack that is still packed with nutrients. And with just a sprinkle of salt, it’s pretty easy to prepare too. This is a great choice for those needing to avoid gluten!
- Black Olives - Black Olives contain antioxidants that help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. They are rich in healthy fats and are simple to prepare. Pair them with some tomatoes or hummus for a little extra flavor!
- Peanut Butter with Fruit or Veggie - Peanut butter is another snack that is high in fat, but it is the heart healthy fat. It also is a great source of protein, which is especially helpful for vegetarians who are looking for extra protein in their diets. The healthiest peanut butters are those that are naturally produced, so look for that natural sign on the jar.
- Salted Watermelon - Looking for more of a refreshing snack? Adding a little salt to watermelon brings out its sweetness and knocks down the bitter flavors. You can also try it with pineapple, peaches, apples or cantaloupe.
- Chips and Salsa - Chips usually scare people away when talking about healthy snacks, but the key is moderation. One serving of low-sodium tortilla chips paired with salsa is can be a great choice for a snack. Salsa typically includes multiple different veggies and is a stellar way to get that food group in. Measure out your chips in a separate bag beforehand so you’re not tempted to overeat later!
- Salty Energy Bites - These bites are a great snack to prepare on a Sunday night, then you’re set for the week. And you can make them just the way you like them! You can include oats, peanut butter, almond butter, nuts, coconut, honey or any other favorite ingredient you love. Make sure to pack a couple extra, your co-workers will want to try one!
Remember, salt, in the right amounts, is a good thing. Hopefully this list helps you satisfy those salty cravings! And be sure to check out our salty snacks!
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