How to Choose Low Sodium Snacks Without Sacrificing Flavor
If you see the words “low sodium” and think “no flavor,” you’re not alone. But fortunately, those two traits don’t have to be synonymous. There are plenty of low sodium snacks out there that are loaded with flavor.
The key to cutting back on sodium is understanding how it gets into your diet. Simply removing your salt shaker from the table won’t make a difference if the food you buy already has a ton of sodium in it. (Spoiler alert: it probably does!)
Instead, it’s important to intentionally purchase low sodium snacks and other foods, as well as to limit the amount of salt you add when seasoning your own food. Just remember: Dialing back on sodium really just means dialing up on intentional flavor!
Read on for some ideas to help you choose low sodium snacks that will still please your taste buds.
Why Low Sodium Snacks?
While our bodies do need some sodium, consuming too much of it can cause problems for your heart, blood pressure, and even bones.
Unfortunately, most Americans consume much more sodium than they should. And according to the FDA, more than 70% of sodium creeps into our diets through packaged and prepared foods. Even food that doesn’t taste salty can be high in sodium, so it’s important to pay attention to how much sodium your food contains.
Because so much of the sodium we consume comes in the form of pre-made food, preparing your own food from fresh ingredients as much as possible can help you cut back on sodium, as can switching to low sodium snacks.
But, to reiterate, you don’t have to leave out the flavor just because you’re leaving out the extra salt! Instead, try experimenting with new flavors such as spices, citrus, and vinegar. There’s a whole wealth of different flavors out there beyond just salty!
Low Sodium Snacks that Are Full of Flavor
Knowing you should opt for low sodium snacks instead of high sodium ones and knowing which snacks will still taste great without all that salt are two different things. If you’re not quite sure where to start, here are a few ideas for low sodium snacks that don’t compromise flavor for a lower sodium count:
- (Self-) roasted edamame: On its own, edamame (aka boiled soybeans) is a great source of protein, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals. While most roasted edamame is steeped in salt, seasoning and roasting your own is a great way both to keep it low sodium and to experiment with spices and other low sodium flavors.
- All-natural peanut butter: Peanut butter is also a great way to get more protein and other nutrients. However, not all peanut butter is created equal — it’s often loaded with added preservatives, salt, sugar, and oils. An all-natural peanut butter that’s low in sodium is your best option, and still has plenty of flavor.
- DIY hummus, salsa, or guacamole: Once again, here’s where making your own snacks is the best way to control the amount of sodium that’s included. Try making your own low sodium dips — and swap out the chips for veggies or other low sodium alternatives. Load these dips up with vibrant spices and you won’t even notice that there’s less salt!
- Pig Out Pigless Pork Rinds: Don’t have time to make your own low sodium snacks? No problem! Our Pig Out Pigless Pork Rinds have 75% less sodium than “traditional” pork rinds. And on top of that, they’re addictively delicious! (And did we mention they’re entirely meat-free?)
The key to finding flavor-packed, low sodium snacks is twofold: chose naturally flavorful snacks and load up on spices and seasonings. Often, Western cuisine is packed with salt because it doesn’t rely as much on other spices. If you reintroduce those spices, you won’t even need salt to take flavor to the next level.
Instead of using seasoning blends, which often sneak in extra salt, create your own blends from things like cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Experiment with the classic seasoning blends of different cultures, and use your reduced sodium journey as an opportunity to foray into other cuisines.
Instead of pushing yourself to cut out as much sodium as possible from the get-go, take it one step at a time. Start by choosing a few simple, low sodium snacks over of saltier alternatives, and gradually decrease your total sodium intake over time.
Less Sodium, Not Less Flavor
As with many things in life, practice makes perfect. As you continue to try new, less salty flavors and opt for low sodium snacks, you may find yourself craving copious amounts of salt less and less. You might even find a new favorite flavor that isn’t salty at all!