Humans naturally consider salt and salty foods highly palatable, which is why most people like to enjoy a salty snack now and then. Even though enjoying an occasional salty snack is perfectly healthy for most people, some may need to limit their salt intake to manage certain medical conditions, including kidney disease and high blood pressure. While salty foods can be a part of your diet, it’s best to avoid highly processed, salt-laden foods like fast food, flavored chips, and boxed mac and cheese. Fortunately for salt lovers, various nutritious salty snacks can be used to satisfy salty cravings. This article lists the healthiest salty snacks.
The Healthiest Salty Snacks
Salted macadamia nuts
Salted macadamia nuts are the perfect combination of a creamy, crunchy texture and salty taste that’s sure to satisfy your salt cravings.
In addition to being pleasingly salty, salted macadamia nuts are packed with nutrients like healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Macadamia nuts are especially rich in manganese, a mineral that’s essential for the health of your bones, metabolism, nervous and immune systems, and reproductive hormone function.
It also acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body’s cells from damage.
You can pair macadamia nuts with a piece of fruit for a balanced sweet and salty snack.
Sardines are one of the healthiest salty snacks you can eat.
Sardines are rich in vitamins B12 and D, calcium, iron, and selenium. They’re also an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.
People who consume diets rich in omega-3 fats tend to be at a lower risk of developing heart disease and dying from heart-related ailments.Enjoy sardines alongside some veggies or crackers for some crunch.
Take one whole-grain tortilla, mist with canola oil spray, and sprinkle a touch of sea salt. Bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees, then add a 1/4 cup of black beans, part-skim shredded cheese, and chopped hot peppers. Bake the tortilla with toppings until the cheese melts and nosh with a side of salsa. “The fiber from the beans and tortilla help to keep you full, while the spicy peppers can help to curb appetite and cravings,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies.
Homemade Veggie Chips
Since you control what goes into them, this will give you that salty crunch without all of the sodium and fat found in packaged chips, says Alissa Rumsey, RD., CSCS. “Kale chips are well known, but you can also make chips from beets, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and turnips,” says Rumsey. Wash your desired veggie, then cut it into thin slices. Toss them with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Arrange in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until crispy.
Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups with Mustard
“This snack will give you that hit of salt, while also providing you with protein for fullness,” says Minno. It’s especially great for those trying to cut back on carbs, she says. Just roll up your favorite kind of turkey and cheese, and throw in some spicy mustard for dipping. You can also get creative by adding lettuce, tomato, avocado, hummus, and sprouts, says Minno. And since one roll-up should run you about 100 calories each (depending on toppings), aim for about two rolls per serving.
“Walnuts, pecans, macadamia, almond—I love roasted nuts. I’ll buy them raw and whole because if they’re already roasted and salted, they are already drenched in [oil]. I’ll add a little bit of sea salt and roast them myself,” says Fahad.
Cheese and Crackers
Pairing cheese and crackers is a really easy way to get some protein, fiber, and whole grains—all of which will keep you fuller longer, says Gal Cohen, RD, a dietitian in Philadelphia. Her fave combo? A serving (look on the label!) of Simple Mills almond flour crackers topped with a bit of pepper jack or gouda.
Olives are a perfect choice if you’re looking for a salty snack that offers nutritional benefits.
Research shows that olives are packed with phenolic compounds, including secoiridoids, verbascoside, and flavonoids. Phenolic compounds are antioxidants that help protect cells from oxidative damage and inflammation.
In fact, olives contain 100–400 mg of phenolic compounds per 100 grams of olive fruit, which is about the same amount found in 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of extra virgin olive oil.
Pair olives with some cheese for a low carb salty snack.