The parameters of a healthy diet have changed so many times throughout modern history that it’s hard to know what’s healthy and what’s not. But regardless of your diet, everyone craves salty snacks sometimes.
I’ve concluded that a healthy diet is well-rounded, encompassing all macronutrients through whole foods. Many processed foods, namely snacks, contain harmful chemicals and hormones.
There are, however, plenty of healthy snacking options to make it through the morning, afternoon, or night.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of the best healthy salty snacks to fulfill mid-afternoon or midnight cravings that are as delicious as they are nutritious.
Check out these salty but healthy snacks to munch on.
They are full of protein with little to no carbohydrates or fat.
Now, you can buy them shelled or in their shells in the frozen food section of any grocery store.
I love them hot or cold because they have a subtle savory taste and a nice pop of texture.
Cheese and Crackers
A perfect combination of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, cheese and crackers are one of the most ubiquitous snacks in the Western Hemisphere.
Long touted as a popular diet food for athletes and weight loss programs alike, cottage cheese is a low-calorie, low-fat, and high-protein food.
It has a tangy flavor and a wonderful lumpy texture that melts in your mouth.
I like to combine cottage cheese with my favorite fruits, like berries or pineapple, for a sweet complement to its tangy creaminess.
Olives are an acquired taste and the epitome of umami flavor.
They offer a savory, salty flavor and a meaty texture. Moreover, there are countless varieties, each with distinct flavors and textures.
One of my favorite parts of visiting specialty stores and Old-World markets is exploring the olive bar.
My favorite olives to snack on are Castelvetrano olives.
The ultimate comfort food, popcorn is as satisfying to make as it is to eat.
I grew up popping popcorn on the stove, watching the kernels explode in white bursts through the glass pot topper.
Popcorn is full of fiber, which detracts from its net carbs. If you want to cut back on the fat content, you can invest in an air popper.
I like to sprinkle nutritional yeast over my popcorn for added nutrients.
Check out some creative popcorn toppings to try!
Named for the Italian island of Sardinia, sardines are small oily fish that have been a favorite delicacy in Europe for centuries.
They come pickled, tinned, smoked, or grilled.
Fish are one of the healthiest sources of lean protein and all the best kinds of fat.
There’s a reason that fish oil is a popular supplement for Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B.
If you’re missing the crunch of potato chips, kale chips provide a healthier crunch that you can stuff into your mouth by the fistfuls guilt-free.
Kale is a leafy green vegetable with a strong, savory flavor that intensifies when baked.
The unique and satisfying flavor along with the light, crisp crunch, make kale chips a worthy substitute for fried chips.
Pickles are the best salty snacks, in my opinion, providing a tangy, crunchy improvement to any vegetable.
They are vegetables soaked in spices and vinegar. The best part about pickles is that you can make them yourself with any vegetables, roots, or even meat you like.
My favorite snacking pickles are pickled carrots, okra, and cucumbers.
Seaweed has long been a crucial ingredient in Japanese cuisine.
You can enjoy it as a chewy salad dish or the wrapping that houses your favorite sushi rolls.
Also known as Nori, dried seaweed is a crunchy and light salty snack with a subtle fishiness.
Along with being nutrient-rich, seaweed expands in the stomach, effectively reducing hunger.
A snack dating to Ancient Egypt, Lupini Beans remain a staple snack in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Latin America.
They have one of the highest protein contents of any legume or snack on my list, averaging 32 grams of protein per 100 grams of cooked beans.
The most popular preparation of lupini beans is pickling, and they are popular street food in South America and Egypt.
Nuts are the ultimate savory and decadent snack.
They come in many varieties, but all are calorie and nutrient-rich with a lot of healthy fat and protein.
A little goes a long way, both for your hunger and your wallet.
My favorite nuts are cashews for their buttery, slightly sweet flavor.
Pretzel and PB Nuggets
Pretzels are naturally low-fat snacks. By stuffing them with peanut butter, you substitute their carb-rich innards with protein and nutrient-rich peanut butter.
You still get that delicious pretzel flavor and crunch, but with peanut butter’s added benefits and creaminess.
A handful of pretzel and PB nuggets is my go-to snack to give me that extra boost before my evening workout.
A popular snack in the middle east and Latin America, roasted chickpeas cover all the macronutrient bases.
They’re high in protein and fiber. They’re tossed with olive oil for healthy fat.
You can enjoy roasted chickpeas with any number of seasonings, from salt and pepper to chili powder, cumin, and paprika.
A staple snack at baseball games, there’s a comforting nostalgia about cracking open each shell for the nutty and buttery morsel inside.
Sunflower seeds have all the benefits of tree nuts while providing nut-free salty snacks for those with nut allergies.
You can get sunflower seeds shelled, but I think it’s more fun to crack them open yourself.
Check out other popular types of seeds to eat!
A popular appetizer in Southeast Asia, spring rolls are delicious gluten-free wraps stuffed with healthy ingredients.
They use rice paper soaked in water, vermicelli rice noodles, and vegetables and proteins like shrimp, avocado, or tofu.
I love having spring roll bars for dinner parties with friends, where everyone can choose their stuffings from a wide variety of crudité and fresh herbs.
Spring rolls are typically deep fried, but you can find baked varieties as well to make them healthier.
If you’re trying to avoid carbs but still craving a crispy cracker to munch on, parmesan crisps are the salty snack you need.
Parmesan has a savory, salty, and almost nutty flavor that you’ve probably grated over salads, pasta, and pizza.
Grated parmesan formed into crackers gives you a refined snack that tastes great on its own or as a receptacle for toppings. I like to top them with olive tapenade.
We often think of chips as fried, but you can create a chip out of vegetables by throwing them in a dehydrator.
Whether you make them or buy them in a bag, dehydrated veggie chips retain the nutrients in veggies while changing their flavor and texture completely.
I can serve them to my kids as chips while still demanding they eat their vegetables at dinner time!
Baked French Fries
One of the most beloved foods on earth, French fries are notorious no-nos for a healthy diet.
However, baked potatoes make the cut for any healthy diet, hence the popularity of baked potato chips.
You can cut potatoes into wedges or steak fries and save yourself the fat and the mess of a fryer for an oven.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Eggs were once outcasts of the health industry, scorned for their cholesterol and fat content.
Thankfully, their reputation as healthy proteins has been restored. Their yolks are wonderful sources of key vitamins and minerals, while their whites are pure protein.
I always boil half a dozen eggs for a quick and satisfying mid-morning snack throughout the week.
Who knew that an ancient preservation method would yield one of the most successful snack products on earth?
Salmon jerky, like all jerkies, is lean strips of dried fish. They have a stronger, saltier taste and an addicting chewy texture.
As a flakey fish, salmon has many more nutrients and health benefits than beef jerky.