Sodium plays a significant role in enzyme operations and muscle contraction, but consuming too much salt often causes an increase in fluid retention, which does show up on the scale.
If you’re attempting to shed a few pounds and can’t control your salty cravings, there is absolutely no harm in indulging. As long as you maintain your calorie goals and avoid exceeding the recommended 2,300 mg of sodium per day, salty goodness doesn’t always have to be the enemy.
From fries to popcorn, salty snacks that will not sabotage your diet do exist.
1. Baked Potato Wedges
Deep fried potatoes coated in salt have a terrible reputation when it comes to weight loss, but there is a way to make them healthier. Try tossing potato wedges with one teaspoon of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, pepper, and cayenne. Roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes and turn the wedges once halfway through the cooking process. Don’t forget to keep the skin on to get the added fiber.
2. Organic Air-Popped Popcorn with Sea Salt
Popcorn is an excellent alternative to a bag of potato chips with only around 30 calories per cup. Popcorn successfully satisfies salty and crunchy cravings, but if salt alone does not please your flavor palette, popping it in a saucepan with olive oil and spices like cayenne pepper and garlic powder should do the trick.
3. Homemade Vegetable Chips
The beauty of home cooking is that you have full control over what goes into your food. You can satisfy your cravings without consuming all the unnecessary sodium and fat that are usually found in packaged chips. Aside from potatoes, there are dozens of vegetables that you can turn into chips — kale, sweet potatoes, beets, brussels sprouts, and turnips are excellent alternatives. Simply wash your desired vegetable, then slice them it into thin pieces. Toss them with a few tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with your choice of flavorings and spices. Lay everything on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until your desired crisp is achieved.
4. Baked Cashews and Walnuts
Aside from being packed with protein, nuts contain a good amount of fiber and unsaturated fats. They are also incredibly easy to spruce up. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and toss a 1/4 cup of cashews and walnuts with one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt, and one teaspoon of ground rosemary. Lay the nuts evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about five minutes or until golden brown and fragrant.
5. Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries with Sea Salt
Don’t let the word ”sweet” or “potato” scare you. Combining the two words give you a vegetable that is high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium. Simply toss a thinly-sliced sweet potato with one teaspoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of lime juice, and 1/8 teaspoon of chipotle powder. After 30 minutes at 400 degrees, take them out and sprinkle with a dash of sea salt.
The next time you’re craving something salty and crunchy, consider pre-making some of these healthier alternatives instead of going to the chip aisle or sliding a dollar inside a vending machine. These alternatives are not only better for you, but they will also satisfy your craving for salty goodness.