We all get those snack cravings! Whether you're hungry, bored, or have just completed an intense workout, it's normal to start craving salty foods like potato fries and chips or sweet foods such as chocolate or candy. But instead of ordering fast food, there are lots of healthy salty snacks that you can prepare at home.
Replace the chocolate with trail mix, or oven bake some kale for a healthy alternative to chips. Enjoy veggie sticks and hummus while you watch television, or prepare tofu lettuce wraps to cut out the cravings before dinner.
With a little inspiration, it's easy to cook up healthy salty snacks that energize and keep you going through the day. Here are our top salty snack ideas to beat those cravings!
Why am I craving salt?
Before we unveil the best salty snacks, let's take a look at why you are craving salt in the first place. Our body requires salt, or sodium, in order to operate properly. Sodium helps to regulate blood pressure, and it's needed for a wide variety of bodily functions.
While too much salt in our diets can lead to high blood pressure and other conditions, a lack of salt can be just as dangerous. When we are low on salt, our body starts to crave it, and that's when we start wanting to open the potato chips!
Here are the major reasons for craving salt:
- Dehydration - when we sweat, we lose salts. Our body then craves salt, as it needs to replace the sodium that's been lost.
- Overexertion - over-exercise can lead to a lack of sodium, as your body uses up all available salts. These salts need to be replenished after exercise!
- Health conditions - salt cravings can be a sign that you have an underlying health condition. Addison's disease is one such condition that results in a lack of control over hormones and blood pressure and cravings for salt.
There are many more reasons too. You could be stressed, for instance, or your body could simply need a large amount of salt. It's often just a matter of being hungry (or even bored), but if cravings are persistent, then consider contacting a health professional.
Luckily though, there's a whole host of healthy, salty, crunchy snacks that will help you to beat the cravings and cut down on the calories!
The best healthy salty snack ideas
From trail mix and edamame beans to lettuce wraps and spring rolls, here are our top low calorie salty snacks that can be easily prepared at home!1. Trail mix
Trail mix is one of the simplest, healthiest, and most filling snacks you can prepare at home. A favorite snack for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts (trail mix is meant to be eaten 'on the trail'), this mixture of nuts and dried fruits stores for a long time and is packed full of energy.
Make trail mix in bulk at home, using your favorite ingredients. For a salty trail mix, go for peanuts or crumbled pretzels, then mix in dried fruit favorites such as raisins, apricots, or cherries for a sugary balance.
Trail mix works well with sweet and salty ingredients, too, so if you require lots of energy for that hike, feel free to throw in some chocolate or candy too.2. Baked french fries
French fries? French fries are definitely salty, but how can they be healthy, you might be asking? Typical french fries from a fast food outlet are drenched in saturated fats after being double fried in oil, but at home, oven-baked French fries offer a surprisingly healthy alternative.
As far as healthy savory snacks go, baked french fries are perhaps the most delicious of options. Baking requires just a fraction of the oil that deep-frying does, and when your fries aren't dripping in oil, they retain many more nutrients and vitamins (healthy fats, rather than saturated fats!).
Baked French fries are easy to prepare. All you need are a few potatoes, a drizzle of oil, and some salt and pepper (try other seasonings such as rosemary, thyme, or chili powder to make things more exciting too).3. Baked sweet potato fries
Baked sweet potato fries offer another delicious, salty snack that's perfect for crushing those afternoon hunger pangs. Baked sweet potato fries are a fantastic alternative to normal potato fries, being different in taste and texture.
Nutrition-wise, sweet potatoes are similar in calories and healthy fats to regular potatoes, but they are extremely high in Vitamin A. When oven-baked, you skip out those saturated fats and excess calories that come with deep frying.
Don't forget to add plenty of salt and seasoning to beat the cravings!4. Healthy grilled cheese
A grilled cheese sandwich isn't often included in a list of healthy things to snack on, but a healthy grilled cheese is different. The secret is whole grain bread and using as little butter and oil as possible!
Healthy grilled cheese sandwiches can be made in various ways, but choose a low calorie or light variety of cheese to melt between the bread. Try light cheddar or mozzarella, and add a few extra vegetables (cauliflower, for instance) for a much more nutritious snack.
A grilled cheese sandwich needs to be pan-fried for the best results, so be sparing on the oil to keep the calories and fats down.5. Kale chips
Everyone's a fan of potato chips, but the harsh reality is that potato chips are just too calorific, too fatty, and, dare we say it in this article, too salty.
However, there is a healthy replacement for chips that's crunchy, tasty, and vastly lower in fat and calories. That replacement is kale chips, which are super easy to prepare in the oven. Simply place kale onto a baking tray, drizzle some oil and sprinkle some salt, then bake in the oven for 20 minutes until they are crispy.
Baked kale chips are high in fiber and contain essential nutrients, including vitamins A, B, and C. The only fat comes from the cooking oil, so you can enjoy kale chips all day long without having to feel guilty!6. Veggie sticks and hummus
One of the most filling yet healthy snack ideas for weight loss will always be the simple combination of veggie sticks and hummus.
Delicious, nutritious, and really easy to assemble, this is one snack you'll be craving in the future. Pick your favorite veggie sticks, such as carrots, cucumbers, or bell peppers, then dip them into the hummus.
It's that easy, and if hummus isn't your thing, then there are lots of other tasty dips that you can try out instead. Why not dip into a tzatziki sauce, or go for a classic ranch sauce?7. Tofu lettuce wraps
Tofu lettuce wraps are good salty snacks that are also packed full of protein. You need tofu, lettuce, and lots of delicious herbs and spices for the seasoning. Season, then cook your tofu before wrapping it all up in lettuce.
Delicious recipes include seasonings such as chili powder, lemons, limes, sesame seeds, cilantro, mint, or parsley. Use a tofu press to drain the tofu before seasoning for the best results.
Tofu is extremely high in protein, but it's low in fat and low in calories. Lettuce, of course, is the lightest, no-calorie wrap you could ever use for snacking.8. Healthy spring rolls
Healthy spring rolls packed full of fresh vegetables are a wonderful option if you're in search of a light bite that's still plenty filling.
Fresh spring rolls are a healthy alternative to the deep-fried spring rolls often found at your local takeaway. Healthy spring rolls use low-calorie rice paper wraps and contain delicious ingredients such as bean sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions. Add some chilis for a spicy kick!
Season with soy sauce for that salty finish, or dip into sweet chili sauce for a sweeter taste.9. Edamame beans
If you're not in the mood for mixing up trail mix or wrapping up spring rolls and tofu wraps, then why not keep things simple with a bowl of edamame beans?
Edamame beans are just soybeans in the pod, and they taste great with a light sprinkling of salt. There's no prep just needed; just crunch away!
Low in calories, these great snacks are also brimming with essential nutrients and vitamins, including a surprising protein quantity.
If you can't find edamame beans, then snap pea pods are a similar snack you can try.10. Whole grain nachos
Who doesn't love nachos? Luckily, there's a way you can keep this usually decadent dish rather healthy. The secret to healthy nachos is in the tortillas.
Instead of using store-bought tortilla chips, prepare your own nachos at home using whole grain tortillas. This cuts out many preservatives and gives you nachos that are high in fiber and lower in calories than traditional white tortilla nachos.
Bake the whole grain nachos in the oven with a sprinkling of salty goodness and a drizzle of oil. Once cooked, dip the nachos in your favorite healthy sauce, or add some low-calorie cheese or a serving of tofu chili!
Which healthy salty snacks are your favorites?
We love gorging on healthy crunchy snacks like veggie sticks or kale chips, but everyone has their favorite sweet and salty snacks.
Beat those hunger pangs during the day with homemade spring rolls or lettuce wraps, or keep a bag of homemade trail mix on hand instead of reaching for the potato chips or opening a tub of ice cream!
Being healthy doesn't need to be difficult, so why not try these healthy, satisfying snacks the next time you're feeling hungry?