HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Lower cal salty snacks?

I eat fairly healthy - when I reach for a snack, it's usually a diminutive carrot or cherry tomato. The problem is that after a pound or so of these, I've run out of hummus and any other dipping or saucing accessory I've found in the fridge, and the unaccompanied sweetness of the veg does not go that well with beer.

As developing some self control would take far too much time and effort, I'm looking for a new salty snack to accompany my suds and generally alleviate my salivation for sodium. I should say out of the gate that popcorn is one of few foods I don't like. I'm as fond as the next man as nuts, but they become remarkably unhealthy in the volumes I tend to snack on. I find nori tasty, but it isn't always a good prelude to a backyard barbecue. Any thoughts?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I love these kale chips. They are really simple to make, and dangerously addictive.

    Similarly, you can make baked potato chips or this easy shortcut recipe for Microwave Potato Chips.

    If you want a new dip for your veggies, this Creamy Tofu Savory Sauce is truly amazing (much, much better than it sounds).

    Another great healthy snack is pickled vegetables. Here is a recipe for Pickled Carrot Sticks (from Gourmet).

    You can also make roasted garbanzo beans or edamame with whatever seasonings you like.

    2 Replies
    1. re: toveggiegirl

      I second pickled vegetables! Some of my new favorites are:

      Pickled green beans- http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

      Pickled Okra: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      1. re: 4Snisl

        Thirded! Pickled veggies are great to grab in a pinch if you like to graze but don't want to go to the snacking dark side. They're also an awesomely tasty treat with a nice, cold Stone IPA.

        I've got garlic tarragon dill Persian cukes, spicy garlic dill okra, spicy ginger cilantro carrots + radishes + jicama, and straight-up dill cauliflower in the fridge now. So far I've found virtually no crisp, fresh veggies which doesn't rock when made into some sort of pickle.

        I usually use 2 cups of hot water (+ 1/4 sugar and 2TBSP kosher salt - which you can always up if you dig saltier) with 1 cup of vinegar as the base, then add whatever else ... fresh smashed garlic, herbs, funkier vinegars, Thai peppers, whatever, to play with flavors. Softer stuff like sliced cukes will be ready to nosh in about 2 days, harder/thicker veg a bit longer, and they just get more tart and zingy as they hang out. I'm not sure of the absolute max life, since pickles don't last long around here.

    2. Unfortunately not easy to find nor inexpensive...Kettle Brand Baked potato chips in Aged White Cheddar. There's also Pop Chips, again not inexpensive but available at Costco.


      Not quite as sexy as the above two, but I have found Tostitos baked tortilla chips to be satisfactory.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ceekskat

        We get our popchips at Target, they still aren't cheap, but less expensive that at other stores. DH loves the sea salt and vinegar. :)

      2. You'd have to read some labels but if memory serves, I read somewhere that Snyder's of Hanover Pretzel Nuggets were the winner in a taste test of low-fat crunchy snacks. I am partial to the Honey Mustard and Onion Nuggets. NB: nuggets, not pieces.

        1. I like the dry bread type crackers like ryveta. They're low fat, high fiber and pretty low in calories. They come in a lot of different flavors.

          1 Reply
          1. re: junescook

            Ryveta with a wedge of laughing cow cheese is very good.

          2. Roasted chickpeas also good - you can spice them up with whatever takes your fancy.

            5 Replies
            1. re: juniper77

              I love roasted chickpeas! my favourite is spicy tomato, store bought tho, havn't found the right spices to make them at home.. (i cant find tomatopowder) and you can roast other beans or peas too..

              1. re: L987

                Where do you find store bought roasted chick peas? I've always just made them myself, if nothing else just with a little olive oil and salt.

                1. re: Fromageball

                  unfortunately you're in NC, so my rec isn't too helpful, but my local kosher market sells dry roasted chickpeas in the bulk section with nuts and other seeds and whatnot... maybe you have something similar by you?

                  1. re: Fromageball

                    Try whole foods maybe or look online .. I live in sweden and here you can find them next to the chips and popcorn or at the international food. I think the ones I like r imported from Australia

              2. How about edamame? Either steamed and sprinkled with salt (or furikake/sichimi togarashi) or quickly stirfried with a little garlic and chili.

                1. Some of my favorite beer snacks are relatively low in calories...

                  Antipasto: olives, pepperoncini peppers, baby corn, pickled asparagus, and turkey (instead of salami)

                  Dipping almost anything into korean hot red pepper paste (kochujang) tastes pretty delicious with beer. Dried squid, dried anchovies, snap peas, peppers, and radishes are my favorites.

                  Then there's zucchini rounds baked on a rack w/ garlic powder, salt and pepper.

                  I also really like the pumpernickel pretzel sticks at TJ's.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: soypower

                    Just remembered another salty, crispy snack...Deep fried kelp. Yes that's right, I said kelp. When it's dried and then deep fried, it becomes incredibly crispy and chip-like. The traditional recipe includes sugar, but I like mine without. Here's a recipe I found online.


                    1. re: soypower

                      soypower, your post reminded me of nori snacks, also delicious! Thanks for posting!

                    2. re: soypower

                      OMG I love anju! Also, ojinguh (dried squid) and jwi po (dried filefish). The best with beer!

                      1. re: link_930

                        My parents call me goyangi (cat) because I love eating jipo so much...Apparently in the dialect my parents speak it's called ji gogi ("mouse meat"). :o)

                    3. Dilly beans are awesome! They are simply pickled green beans w/ a few herbs and spices. Rick's Pick's "Mean Beans" have a spicy kick to them and are delicious! I found them at Dean & DeLuca but you can also order them online here:


                      Another option is soy nuts - they can be found in health food stores, usually in the bulk bins. Often times they have different flavors too.

                      I'm a big fan of Corn Nuts. They are very simply roasted & salted corn kernels. They have original, BBQ & ranch flavors. I'm partial to the original. They can be found in the chip aisle of some grocery stores and most highway gas stations and truck stops carry them (seriously!). A 1/3 cup serving has 130 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. :)

                      1. How about nori? Or nori snacks? I just eat a sheet of nori each day for good health but you might want to brush it with sesame oil and toast it...not everyone likes the flavor of nori, but I suspect that if you like sushi, you will also like nori...some places sell nori snacks too but for me, too much sodium and fat ...see what you think...here's a Bittman youtube where he brushes the nori with water--NO, brush with sesame oil! But this gives you an idea perhaps:

                        1. my favorites have been mentioned: edamame, roasted chick peas, etc. but I also like to make my own pita chips using those low carb pocket bread that is actually too thin to open as a pocket. Cut into strips or triangle and spray with pam or olive oil, then your fav. herbs and spices (and salt). I can eat them by themself or with salsa. Cumin is awesome on them. I've also used that flat bread too, I don't like tortillas made into chips, something about the texture.

                          1. Guacamole isn't exactly lo cal, but if you replace half the avocados with fresh or lightly steamed green peas, it is relatively healthy(ish) id eaten with veggies or baked chips
                            Cooking Light had a recipe a while back, I think I was able to track it down:
                            Have you made your own tortilla chips before? Just slice corn tortillas into the size you want toss lightly in oil (I use olive) and sprinkle with salt or other seasonings, then bake until crispy.
                            Here is an idea for spinach dip that is not super-lo-cal but better than the original:
                            Fugi apples taste surprisingly good with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
                            Sometimes melon tastes good salted
                            Strawberries drizzled in balsamic are also good, but may not be spicy enough for you
                            Here are some crudite ideas:
                            Don't forget that when chosen wisely, sushi can be a healthy choice as well.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: enbell

                              you can also replace some of the avocado in guacamole with asparagus... which is lower cal than peas :)

                            2. wasabi peas. Also, b/c of the heat, I tend not to eat as many as I would of a similar but non-incendiary snackfood.

                              Dried okra chips (can be found at Indian/Pakistani groceries).

                              pumpernickel pretzel nuggets dipped in stone-ground mustard.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: weezycom

                                Right next to the wasabi peas are the Srichacha peas....yum

                              2. Lately I've been eating grape tomatoes by the tub-full. I just make a little slit in the bottom to let a drop of juice out then dip in salt and masticate. Bonus points are awarded for smoked salt or bacon salt.
                                As an aside to those who use salt as an abrasive to clean cast iron; I've been saving the "dirty" salt after I make a batch of bacon and using it on anything that comes near my kitchen. It's particularly good on the aforementioned grape tomatoes.

                                1. More on the junk food side of the spectrum, but still relatively low-fat, are Veggie Stix. They even make a hot version, which I'm extremely fond of.

                                  1. I had a room-mate once upon a time that was very concerned with maintaining her weight and yet she had these terrible salt cravings. Her solution was to put some salt in a bowl and dip her finger in. Took care of the salt cravings, I guess, without the calories.

                                    Yes, she was a tad nuts but man was she a great oboe player.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      I've been known to take a swig of pickle juice myself :)

                                    2. Bikery: " The problem is that after a pound or so of these. . . " made me laugh so hard. I too naturally reach for quality healthy snacks, it's always the excess quantity I struggle with. Someone above mentioned dried squid/octopus, which I agree is a great low-cal and satisfying snack. Plus it's so chewy that you get downright tired eating it, which tends to moderate consumption.

                                      1. Pop Chips.

                                        Sometimes when I'm munching on these things it almost feel like I'm chomping on fried salt and herbs.

                                        1. when i read wasabi peas i thought of another lighter snack I dont know what they r called.. rice snacks i guess (asian food store) I dont know if they r healhy or not tho..

                                          1. I'm addicted to the wasabi rice crackers at whole foods.