10 Low Salt Snacks for Your Mid-Afternoon Munchies
It’s mid-afternoon. You’ve already eaten lunch but dinner is still a few hours away, and you start to get hungry for a snack. What do you grab? Common convenient snack foods like chips, pretzels, and popcorn all have one thing in common: they are high in salt! Salt, known scientifically as sodium, is needed in your diet to regulate fluid balance, nerve function and muscle function. However, excess sodium intake can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of developing heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. Substituting in low salt snacks is a great way to begin managing your intake.
The recommended daily intake for sodium is 2,300 mg per day, but the average American consumes much more, around 3,500 mg per day. Where does the extra sodium come from? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 71% of Americans’ sodium intake comes from highly processed foods or restaurants. The high sodium content in highly processed snack foods (e.g. chips, crackers, salted trail mix, pretzels, popcorn, cookies) can really add up. While convenience foods are easy to grab, eating them regularly can negatively impact blood pressure and heart health.
Snacking with Less Sodium
If you could benefit from lowering your sodium intake, a good first step is replacing highly processed snacks with whole foods, like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, that are naturally low in sodium. This is an easy way to reduce your sodium intake, which can help to lower your blood pressure. These whole foods also contain fiber, which makes for a more satisfying snack that can better manage your hunger between meals. Plan ahead for that mid-afternoon hunger by packing simple, healthy, low salt snacks! Here are 10 ideas to get you started and inspired.
- Carrots and hummus
- Berries and Greek yogurt
- Peanut butter and banana
- Unsalted trail mix
- Air-popped popcorn
- Unsalted edamame (steamed or dry-roasted)
- Smoothies made with yogurt or nut butters
- Low sodium cheese with bell pepper slices
- Overnight oats
- Unsalted almonds with dark chocolate chips
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