20 Salty Foods That Are Perfect for Snacks
Most people crave a salty snack now and then. However, it is important to note that while enjoying an occasional salty snack is healthy for many, some individuals may need to limit their salt intake due to certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Like sour foods, salty foods can surely be a part of your healthy diet, but it’s best to avoid heavily processed, salt-laded fast food, boxed mac and cheese, and flavored chips. Luckily, there are plenty of nutritious salty snacks available to satisfy your cravings. Keep reading to discover them.
1. Salted Nuts
Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and macadamia are loaded with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. If you are a fan of salted nuts but have avoided them due to their high salt content, you might be surprised to know that they are not as salty as some other common foods. Thus, it is worth giving these nutritious snacks another shot.
A study conducted by Nuts for Life in 2020 compared the sodium content of commonly available salted nuts. The study revealed that a 100g serving of mixed salted nuts contains an average of 317mg of sodium. It is generally considered that foods with less than 400mg of sodium per 100g serving are acceptable options.
Sardines possess a distinct flavor profile as they are both salty and savory. They are rich in calcium, iron, selenium, and vitamins B12 and D. Additionally, they contain a good amount of omega-3 fats, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the risk of heart disease and promote heart health.
Sardines are naturally salty, but they are still an excellent source of protein with no added sodium. They can serve as an ideal choice for people on a low-sodium diet. Canned sardines can be rinsed with water to easily remove excess salt, which makes them even healthier for those trying to limit their sodium intake.
If you're looking for a salty snack that's packed with nutritional benefits, olives are an excellent choice. Studies have shown that olives contain high levels of phenolic compounds, including flavonoids, secoiridoids, and verbascoside. These powerful antioxidants help protect healthy cells from oxidative damage and inflammation.
A mere 100-gram serving of olive fruit provides around 100-400 mg of phenolic compounds. This amount is equivalent to what you would find in 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of extra virgin olive oil. Olives make for a great pairing with cheese, making it an ideal low-carb, salty snack option.
Edamame are young soybeans with a mild, buttery taste. They are generally steamed or boiled in their pod and make for a delicious and satisfying snack. For an extra kick, sprinkle some salt and your preferred seasoning. A serving of three-fourths of a cup contains only 7 grams of sodium.
These immature soybeans are rich in plant-based fiber and protein, as well as essential vitamins and minerals such as folate, copper, magnesium, and potassium. To satisfy your salty cravings in a healthy way, try dipping edamame in soy sauce or sprinkling some sea salt over them.
Shrimps are naturally salty, as they live in a salty environment. Packaged, frozen shrimp commonly include added salt and sodium-rich preservatives, such as sodium tripolyphosphate, added to minimize moisture loss during thawing.
An 85-gram (3-ounce) serving of nonbreaded frozen shrimp can contain up to 800 mg of sodium, equivalent to 35% of the RDI( (Recommended Dietary Intake). Consider fresh-caught shrimp or look for additive-free frozen shrimp at a health food store if you are looking for a healthy salty snack.
Who wouldn't love a warm and filling soup that can be enjoyed at any time of the day? Whether you're sipping on a salty cup of bone broth or relishing a bowl of delicious chicken and vegetable soup, it's a healthy way to satisfy your salty snack cravings.
Homemade soup is a nutritious snack that can be enjoyed all week long. Additionally, homemade soup contains considerably less salt compared to store-bought, boxed, and canned soups. To maximize the nutritional benefit, you can add vegetables and a protein source like lentils or chicken to your soup.
7. Sea Salt Popcorn
Satisfy both your salty and crunchy cravings by munching on a bowl of salty homemade or store-bought popcorn. Popcorn makes for a great alternative to potato chips and there are plenty of nutritious popcorn products available if you don't feel like making your own.
For extra flavor, try popping the popcorn in a saucepan using extra virgin oil and various spices like rosemary, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Don't forget to sprinkle some sea salt to give it an extra salty punch. To maintain a healthy diet, you can air-pop it at home and enjoy a high-fiber, low-sodium, and low-calorie snack.
8. Deviled Eggs
Though small in size, eggs are packed with nutrients and serve as a great source of protein as they contain all the essential amino acids. They are also high in iron, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamins B2 and B12. They are filling and may even help to reduce your calorie intake later in the day.
Preparing deviled eggs is an easy and convenient way to have a delicious and satisfying salty snack, whether you're at home or on the go. With basic ingredients found in your kitchen such as cayenne, honey, and apple cider vinegar, you can make mayo-free deviled eggs in just 30 minutes.
9. Veggies and Dip
Fruit-cut vegetables such as celery, peppers, broccoli florets, and carrots make for a healthy snack choice. To give it a salty twist, pair them with whipped goat cheese dip. This dish can also be enjoyed as a vegetarian breakfast option.
Goat cheese is a great option for a filling snack or meal because it's high in protein and healthy fats. When paired with fiber-rich foods, it's even more satiating. Additionally, many people find goat cheese easier to digest than cow's milk cheese due to its lower lactose content and slightly different protein structure.
10. Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas offer more than just creamy homemade hummus. They are rich in magnesium, manganese, iron, and folate, and also make for a great crunchy, fiber-filled, salty snack option. They are adaptable based on what spices are available in your cabinet.
Roasted, salted chickpeas can be readily found at the grocery store or made at home in no time. They contain simple ingredients and are a healthier choice than most ranch-flavored snacks, which can be high in sodium.
11. Cheese Straws
Cheese straws are a traditional food in England and the Southern United States. They are eaten as an appetizer or snack and are known for their crunchy, flaky, salty, and cheesy taste. They are prepared by cutting strips from dough made with butter, flour, salt, cayenne pepper, and cheddar cheese.
If you want your cheese straws to be straight, avoid wiggling the dough before baking. These cheese straws have a subtle warm heat from the cayenne pepper, but they are not overly spicy. They are perfect for parties, holiday gift-giving, satisfying cheese straw cravings, and more.
12. Air Fryer Kale Chips
These crispy kale chips are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds. Plus, they are super easy to make and take only a few minutes to prepare. By using your air fryer, you can enjoy guilt-free snacking with less grease. So, start a healthy chip habit today with these delicious kale chips!
You can also customize your chips by adding various herbs and spices. If you'd prefer a vegan alternative, you can skip the cheese and use nutritional yeast instead for a nutty, cheesy flavor. They are a versatile snack that can be enjoyed any time of day and make a great addition to your vegan breakfast.
13. Sweet Potato Fries
If you like salty foods, you'll likely love hot and crispy fries. But did you know that baked fries can be a nutritious snack? Sweet potato fries can satisfy your fries cravings while providing essential nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, and fiber.
For extra flavor, try pairing sweet potatoes with different sauces like avocado wasabi and tamarind ketchup. You can also switch to salty sweet potato chips. Baking nutrient-rich sweet potato chips at a low temperature will yield crispy, homemade chips that'll quench your salt cravings.
14. Mac and Cheese Balls
Mac and cheese is already a classic comfort food that we all adore, but transforming it into fried, gooey balls of deliciousness is absolutely unbeatable. If you're searching for a game day appetizer to impress your guests, this crowd-pleaser will bring out everyone's inner child.
Choose cheddar cheese for the ultimate cheesiness. American or mascarpone are excellent alternatives too. However, avoid fresh mozzarella, Swiss cheese, and ricotta as they won't give you the creamy, stretchy mac texture you're yearning for. A sprinkle of salt will add that extra touch of saltiness.
15. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkins are a truly amazing fruit and one of their best attributes is their seeds. They can be prepared simply by roasting them with salt and butter, but the variations are endless. To add more flavor, you could try using taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, or even curry powder.
If you plan to carve pumpkins in the late afternoon or evening, you can prepare the seeds by cleaning them and letting them dry on the counter overnight. After breakfast, you can roast the seeds, and they will be ready to eat. You can store the roasted seeds in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Pretzels, a popular snack, are typically sprinkled with salt before baking. This not only adds a satisfying crunch but also enhances the flavor of this mild snack. Also, hard pretzels are often preserved with extra salt to increase their shelf life. In fact, some brands may contain more salt per serving than regular potato chips.
Soft pretzels have fewer calories compared to hard pretzels, but adding sauce or chocolate can increase the calorie count. It is healthy to consume them in moderation, just like any other food. Pretzels are typically sold at concession stands, bakeries, and restaurants.
17. Seaweed Chips
Seaweed is a highly nutritious snack option, loaded with essential vitamins (A, B, C, and E) and minerals. Despite its briny and salty taste, seaweed contains about 85% less unhealthy sodium than regular salt, making it a healthier alternative.
Seaweed has a salty taste because of its high mineral content. It contains important minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and iodine. The iodine found in seaweed is particularly crucial for proper thyroid function, which plays a vital role in the body's metabolism, growth, and development.
18. Ants on a Log
Ants on a log is a perfect snack that provides a healthy dose of fats and protein. To make it, cut celery into four-inch pieces, spread one to two tablespoons of organic, lightly salted peanut butter between the celery, and top with a few raisins or dried cranberries. Enjoy the mix of salty, sweet, and crunchy flavors!
Moreover, it's quick to make and easy to take on the go. When choosing a nut butter, don't forget to read the label. The healthiest option is a brand with only one ingredient: the nut of your choice.
19. Baked Carrot Chips
This tasty snack involves adding a pinch of salt (one tablespoon) to inherently healthy carrots. They make for a great anti-inflammatory snack when combined with spices like cinnamon and cumin. These spices add depth to the flavor and enhance the overall health benefits of the snack.
Baked carrot chips are naturally sweet and crispy. Whether you bake them on low or high heat, you will achieve the same crispy texture and flavor. However, if you bake them on high heat for a short amount of time, they will have a brighter color and be more visually appealing.
20. Canned Tuna
Canned tuna is an excellent source of protein. To make a quick and healthy salty snack, choose a 5-ounce can and mix it with a little bit of avocado oil-based mayo. Before you head out, grab a baggie of peppers and cucumbers to add some crunch and nutrition.
Nevertheless, it is important to be careful when consuming canned tuna, due to its high salt content which may be detrimental to certain health conditions. Just 5 ounces of canned tuna contains over 300 mg of sodium. If you are keeping track of your sodium intake, make sure to read the label or consider fresh tuna which has a lower sodium content.
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