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Articles Fitness Nutrition

Craving Salty Foods? 8 Healthy Choices

May 1, 2010

Just because you’re having salt craving doesn’t mean you have to reach for greasy potato chips. There are a number of healthy foods that contain sodium as well as other essential nutrients. Although most of us get more than enough salt in our diet, sometimes we do crave salt if our bodies are sodium deficient. This can occur when sodium is lost through sweating. Eating too much salt, however, can impact your health in a negative way. Therefore, you should eat salty foods in moderation; try to stick to the recommended 2,400 mg or less per day. Below are a number of low-calorie and nutrient dense foods that will help you satisfy salt cravings in a healthy way.

1. Pretzels

Pretzels are fat-free, low in calories, and salty enough to satisfy your worst cravings. Unlike greasy potato chips, pretzels will help you shave calories (and weight). Try dipping pretzels in flavored hummus or a low-fat cheese dip to satisfy your palate as well as your salt craving; dip in moderation, however, since you’ll be adding extra calories.

2. Nuts and Seeds

Despite the fact that nuts and seeds are fairly high in calories and fat they are great for satisfying salt cravings. They're also high in protein and contain healthy unsaturated fats, including omega-3-fatty acids. Don’t overeat when it comes to nuts and seeds, but do add them to your diet in moderation--especially if they help satisfy your salt cravings.

3. Pickles

Pickles are low in calories, fat-free, and contain a significant amount of sodium. They are a great way to satisfy your salt craving without adding many calories. Choosing low-calorie foods to snack on such as pickles will help you maintain a healthy weight.

4. Olives

Green and black olives are salty and low in calories. Although they do contain some fat, it’s healthy unsaturated fats including omega-3s.

5. Cottage Cheese

Believe it or not cottage cheese is high in sodium and a good source of protein and calcium. If you choose a low-fat or fat-free version, cottage cheese is low in calories as well. Try adding it to fruit or vegetable salads to give you a healthy meal or snack alternative and kick that salt craving to the curb.

6. Popcorn

Popcorn is high in fiber and can be a healthy snack if you don’t add lots of extra butter.  Look for varieties of popcorn that are made with less butter (or no butter). Eating a diet that is high in fiber has been shown to have many health benefits and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

7. Balsamic Vinaigrette

Added to a salad, a balsamic vinaigrette is an excellent way to cure your salt craving. It’s loaded with healthy unsaturated fats; ingredients include canola, soybean, and olive oils. Balsamic vinaigrettes are fairly high in sodium, so remember moderation is key, especially if the rest of your diet is high in sodium.

8. Hummus

Hummus contains moderate amounts of sodium and is a healthy way to satisfy your salt craving since is contains protein and healthy fats. It makes a great snack when you spread it on low-fat crackers, pretzels, raw vegetables, or a whole wheat bagel.

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