Salty Snacks That Are Actually Good For You, According To Joy Bauer

Salt gets a bad rap usually. However, your body needs some amount of salt to keep running. Salt is made up of sodium and chloride, two minerals that perform a variety of functions. We need a small amount of sodium for nerve and muscle function and to help balance water and minerals in our body. Chloride plays a role in regulating fluids and nutrients in our system.  

Too much salt is the problem. It can lead to bloating, high blood pressure, poor sleep quality, and even increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. One of the ways we might be unconsciously overdoing sodium content is with popular snacks from grocery stores. While you might think you're simply enjoying a tasty treat, you're likely going over your recommended salt intake for the day with those pretzels and chips. 

Did you know that we should ideally be consuming just about 1 teaspoon of table salt a day? That's less than 2,300 milligrams. Luckily, according to the celebrity nutritionist and host of NBC's "Health and Happiness," Joy Bauer, there are healthy snacks that will hit the same spot when it comes to your salty cravings. The trick is to keep your sodium intake to under 300 milligrams per serving, she shared on her website.

Unlike some unusual celeb health habits that are harmful, Bauer's snack suggestions are made using whole foods and are actually good for you. You can whip up treats with ingredients like edamame, roasted nuts, kale, kosher dill pickles, bell peppers, sliced turkey, and more, per the nutritionist (via TODAY Food). 

How to make these celebrity-inspired salty treats

With Joy Bauer's sesame-garlic edamame, you're getting 200 milligrams of sodium per three servings. For the recipe, you'll need 10 ounces of frozen or fresh edamame in the shell, 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil, 2 cloves garlic (minced), ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and red pepper flakes to taste. You steam the protein and fiber-rich edamame first. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and then toss and coat the edamame with the mixture. Boiling the edamame "brings the fun factor and it also slows down the pace of your eating. Very simple," explained Bauer (via TODAY Food). 

Next on the celebrity nutritionist's list of treats were roasted nuts. "Whatever nut is your favorite, that's what you're going to go for," she added. Her rosemary-spiced walnuts (via Joy Bauer), for example, contain just 60 milligrams of sodium per serving. 

Kale chips make a great salty snack too, per the expert. "Kale, also like spinach, has an alphabet of vitamins and minerals [vitamins A, B6, C, K, folate, fiber, carotenoids, and manganese, for example]," shared Bauer, adding that they make a good substitute for potato chips. Containing just 165 milligrams of sodium, the recipe involves coating baking sheets with nonstick oil spray, trimming the stem ends off a large bunch of kale, tearing the leaves into 2-inch pieces, spreading them out evenly on the baking trays, seasoning the cruciferous vegetable with a little oil and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and baking for 8-10 minutes. 

More salty snack suggestions by Joy Bauer

Sometimes, if you're craving something salty, it's about eating something else instead. Other times, you can turn to healthy options that contain just a pinch of salt but still taste great, like Joy Bauer's "kooky" snack of kosher dill pickles wrapped in either turkey slices or bell peppers. Calling this snack option "a little weird," the celebrity nutritionist shared (via TODAY Food) that she loves enjoying this particular treat with hot sauce, mustard, or salsa. 

Her no-bake jicama fries and zoodle ramen recipes are two other options, per TODAY. For the jicama chips, you have to "simply peel and cut the root veggie into pieces, then sprinkle on garlic powder, onion powder, salt (of course!) and a squeeze of fresh lime juice," wrote the expert. Native to Mexico and South America, jicama has brown skin and white flesh and packs a punch when it comes to fiber, protein, and vitamin C. This mildly sweet vegetable has far fewer carbohydrates than potatoes, supports healthy digestion, prevents cell damage, and is good for heart health. 

Bauer's zoodle ramen dish contains 270 milligrams of sodium per serving (via Joy Bauer) and includes 4 cups of reduced-sodium vegetable broth, 1 medium zucchini cut into noodle-like slices, and salt and pepper to taste. After bringing the vegetable broth to a gentle boil, reduce the heat and add the zucchini noodles, letting them simmer, while stirring on and off for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to enjoy. While on the topic of snacks, you could check out Joy Bauer's three snacking rules for healthy weight loss.