Healthy Low-Sodium Snacks

The average American consumes 6,900 to 9,000 milligrams of sodium a day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, yet you only need 500 milligrams of sodium a day. High intakes of sodium can lead to fluid retention and high blood pressure. Many snack foods contain high amounts of sodium. Choosing healthy low-sodium snacks can significantly reduce overall sodium intake and its affects on health.

Blueberries on a white plate. (Image: pasmal/amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images)

Fruits

Fruits contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber, other vitamins and minerals and little sodium, making them a healthy low-sodium snack option. Most fruits are portion-controlled, helping to limit calorie intake. Healthy low-sodium fruits include apples, oranges, bananas, pears, peaches, plums, grapes, berries, melon and canned fruit. Fruits can also be made into a smoothie with juice and ice for a healthy low-sodium drink to take on-the-go.

Vegetables

Vegetables are also naturally low in sodium and low in calories, making them a healthy low-sodium snack choice. In addition to being low in sodium, vegetables also act as a source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, additional vitamins and minerals and fiber. For variety, serve vegetables with low-sodium dips, such as low-sodium peanut butter or low-sodium salad dressing. Snack choices include baby carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, red and green pepper strips and broccoli and cauliflower florets.

Milk and Yogurt

Dairy foods provide calcium and protein. When it comes to snacking, adding a source of protein can help control hunger. Healthy low-sodium dairy foods to snack on include yogurt and milk. Milk or yogurt can also be added to a fruit smoothie to increase its protein content.

Grains and Starches

When it comes to selecting low-sodium foods, label reading can help. Low-sodium foods contain 140 milligrams of sodium or less per serving, according to the University of Virginia Health System. Choose low-sodium whole-grain crackers, rice cakes, air-popped popcorn and unsalted pretzels. Combining low-sodium crackers or rice cakes with low-sodium peanut butter can make a satisfying snack.

Nuts and Seeds

Unsalted nuts and seeds provide monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, making them a heart-healthy snack when eaten in moderation. In fact, eating an ounce of nuts a day is recommended for heart health, according to Harvard School of Public Health. Nuts and seeds can be eaten by themselves or mixed into yogurt or blended into a smoothie. Healthy choices include peanuts, almonds and walnuts. Nuts and seeds are high in fat and calories, so keep this in mind calculating your caloric intake.

Combinations

Snacks do not need to be limited to a single item, but can include a combination of foods. Low-sodium cereal, such as puffed wheat or puffed rice, with milk is a healthy low-sodium snack. People can make their own low-sodium trail mix to satisfy their need for sweet and savory by combining unsalted nuts, unsalted pretzels, unsalted air-popped popcorn and raisins. Or, try a small whole-wheat bagel with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese or low-sodium peanut butter.

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