Looking for some healthy salty snacks to satisfy your salt craving? Everyone craves salt every now and then. And for most people, it’s ok to indulge once in a while.
In fact, sodium, which is a component of salt, is essential to health. We need it to stay alive and for proper organ function.
While sodium is essential, too much may cause health problems like high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure increases the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and stroke.
Surprisingly, salt from the salt shaker is not the biggest contributor to sodium intake. In fact, 70% of the sodium most people eat comes from packaged foods, processed foods, fast foods, and restaurant foods. Needless to say, this makes it difficult to control your sodium intake.
To put the power back into your hands, it’s best to opt for healthy homemade salty snacks. And there are plenty of options that can satisfy your salt craving without breaking your sodium budget.
Salt Vs. Sodium
Sodium refers to the dietary mineral sodium. It is found in almost all foods, either naturally or added during processing.
Salt refers to the crystalline compound, sodium chloride. In other words, the salt in your salt shaker. Salt is approximately 40% sodium and 60% chloride. For reference, 1 tsp. of salt is about 2,300 mg sodium.
How Much You Need
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise reducing daily sodium to below 2,300 mg per day for adults. This is equivalent to about 1 tsp. of salt. Keep in mind that most of the sodium you consume is “hidden.”
Meaning that it’s already in the food, either naturally or added during processing. Sodium is naturally present in unprocessed, whole foods. Things like meat, milk, fish, fruits, and vegetables. But the majority of dietary sodium comes from processed foods, restaurant foods, and fast foods.
The best way to reduce sodium in your diet is to stick to a whole-food diet as much as possible. This way you have more control over your sodium intake. You can also use food labels as a tool to help control sodium from packaged foods.
Low sodium is defined as less than 140 mg of sodium per serving. Don’t forget to take note of the serving size though. You may be eating a “low sodium” food, but if you eat 3 servings, that will triple your sodium intake.
7 Healthy Salty Snacks
These 7 delicious and nutrient-dense healthy salty snacks will satisfy your salt cravings. Check out this round-up of 7 salty and delicious snack ideas.
Olives are packed full of healthy monounsaturated fats. Typically, because they’re cured, olives are very high in sodium. The good news is that most stores stock low-sodium versions.
You can reduce the sodium even further by rinsing olives with water before eating. Be aware that the sodium can add up quickly if you exceed the serving size.
2. Homemade Sweet Potato Fries
These sweet and savory fries are packed with beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
- 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- Homemade no-salt seasoning (blend together 1/2 tsp. each of paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and any other no-salt spices that you love).
- Sea salt
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 2 large baking sheets.
- Mix together the Homemade no-salt seasoning.
- Place sweet potato sticks in a mixing bowl, and toss them with olive oil.
- Toss the oil-coated sticks with the homemade no-salt seasoning and sprinkle on the sea salt.
- Spread the potatoes on the greased baking sheets
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes until crisp.
3. Homemade Pickles
Chances are you are avoiding pickles if you’ve been trying to lower your sodium intake. But did you know that you can make your own healthy homemade pickles?
- 2 medium pickling cucumbers
- 3 sprigs fresh dill
- 1/2 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 sweet onion, sliced
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
- Cut pickling cucumbers into spears or slices.
- To a mason jar add fresh dill, garlic cloves, and slices of sweet onion.
- Pack in the cut cucumbers.
- In a medium saucepan, combine apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, black pepper, turmeric, and ground mustard. Heat until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers until they are covered. You may not need all of the liquid. Or if you fall short just add more vinegar until the jar is full. Let cool to room temp, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
4. Beet Hummus
Beet hummus is packed with healthy fat, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Pair it with raw veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and celery for a super healthy, satisfying snack.
As with all packaged foods, check the label for sodium content. Look for a product with 100 mg of sodium or less per serving, like this one on Amazon. Remember to check the serving size. The serving size for hummus is typically 2 tbsp.
5. Seaweed Snacks
Seaweed snacks, like this one on Amazon, are great low-calorie salty snacks. And they are actually low in sodium at 45 mg per container.
But, not all brands are similar in sodium content, so be sure to check the label.
Depending on its preparation, popcorn can be a healthy snack. Opt for homemade air-popped popcorn. That way you can control the amount of salt you add. You can even avoid using salt by using salt-free toppings. Things like garlic powder, paprika, cumin, ground mustard, nutritional yeast, and rosemary.
This savory edamame snack is easy-to-make, plus it’s packed with protein and fiber.
- 1 lb. bag of frozen edamame pods
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tsp. minced ginger
- Optional, red pepper flakes
- Sea salt
- Cook edamame pods as directed on the package, and then drain.
- In a large skillet, sauté the cooked edamame pods in sesame oil for just a few minutes (3-5), letting the pods brown slightly.
- Add minced garlic and ginger. Add red pepper flakes if you like a spicy flavor. Stir over low heat for 2 minutes.
- Add to a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, let cool, and enjoy.
More Savory Snack Ideas
This salty snacks list is full of healthy options to satisfy your salt craving:
- Sprouted bread toast with avocado, sprinkled with sea salt, garlic, and onion powder
- Lightly salted nuts (cashews, almonds)
- Cashew and date bar
- Greek yogurt with nuts and fruit
- Cottage cheese (low sodium) with sliced apples and nuts
- Date filled with nut butter
- Banana or apple slices with nut butter
- Lightly salted Trail mix
- Hard-boiled egg with sea salt and black pepper
- Sprouted bread toast with peanut butter, banana slices, and chia seeds
For more healthy snack ideas, check out these articles:
Sodium is an essential nutrient, needed by the body in small amounts. Eating too much overtime can be harmful. The majority of sodium that people consume comes from processed and packaged foods, restaurants, and fast foods.
The good news is that there are plenty of healthy salty snack options that can satisfy your salt craving without sacrificing taste. The key is preparation. Have healthy go-to snacks available at home. As well as keeping your kitchen stocked with the ingredients you need to make healthy homemade snacks.