Do you frequently find yourself looking for a tasty snack, but then have a hard time deciding on something that isn’t filled with too much sodium?
Are you trying to eat to help keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure under control?
If you answered yes to either (or both) of these questions, keep reading to hear a registered dietian’s ideas for low sodium snacks!
Sodium in Snacks
The sodium content found in processed foods can be astronomical. Because we live in such a hustle-bustle type of environment, people find themselves consuming more snack foods than ever before.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2300 milligrams per day of sodium. Although people with high blood pressure have a recommendation of no more than 1500 milligrams per day.
Some snacks like potato chips can contain over 1000 milligrams of sodium in just one serving.
Why you should limit your sodium in snacks
For years it has been recommended that people reduce their sodium intake. Sodium is often used in foods both for flavoring and as a preservative.
When people consume too much sodium, the body holds onto extra water in the blood. This makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body, causing an increase in blood pressure.
When sodium in the diet is limited to recommended amounts, the heart does not need to work as hard, thus normalizing blood pressure.
Low Sodium Snack Ideas:
When possible, the easiest way to control sodium intake is to avoid processed foods. Keeping a pantry and refrigerator full of foods to prepare yourself can help to reduce overall sodium intake.
- Veggies and Hummus. Store bought hummus has the potential to have a decent amount of sodium. The good news is that hummus can be very simple to make yourself. Paired with fresh cut veggies can make for a delicious and heart healthy snack.
- Homemade pita chips. Cut pitas into triangles and bake until crispy. Toss with your favorite herbs and spices for added flavor. This can give you a tasty crunchy snack, without all the salt found in potato chips.
- Apples with nut butter. You know what they say! An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Pair this favorite fruit with your favorite nut butter as a low sodium snack that will help to keep you fuller longer.
- Yogurt with fresh fruit. This healthy snack can provide a nice balance of protein and carbs to keep you full (and avoid further snacking!).
- Freshly popped popcorn. There is nothing quite like freshly popped popcorn as a snack. It is one of my own personal favorites. Be mindful of popped popcorn or microwave popcorn bags as they can be high in both sodium and fat. Popcorn is also a whole grain to provide an extra boost of digestive and heart health.
How much sodium is acceptable?
People at risk of high blood pressure should try to stay within the recommendation of 2300 milligrams of sodium per day. The more sodium consumed, the more detrimental it will be for heart health.
There should be no rules around “allowing” yourself to consume processed foods or “allowing” yourself to consume more than the recommended amount of sodium.
It is important to monitor your blood pressure as recommended by your doctor to help meet your own heart health goals.
Watching your sodium intake and knowing which foods may contribute to elevated blood pressure can help to keep you in control of your choices and of your health.
All in all, it is always important to honor your hunger and eat when you feel hungry between meals. When battling high blood pressure, or at risk of high blood pressure, it can be helpful to find low sodium snacks to help promote heart health.