Do healthy Fritos exist?
November 22, 2010 1:20 PM   Subscribe

What are some SALTY, low-fat snacks I can nosh on?

My diet plan consists of a lot of chocolate protein shakes, and I'm dying for salty things to snack on in the afternoon when I get hungry. (Also have slightly low blood pressure, which may be contributing to the cravings.) Not looking to drastically lose weight anymore (hooray!), but am interested in maintaining a healthy weight and, to quote Linus, Fritos just have too many ingredients in them.

Rice cakes, check. What else? Thanks.
posted by Melismata to Food & Drink (49 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:22 PM on November 22, 2010

Edamame is good. You may need to add salt to certain varieties though.

Certain peanut butters can also be very salty. I'd say store brand ones are usually high sodium.
posted by reenum at 1:23 PM on November 22, 2010

Nori is salty, full of minerals, and fat free. It won't fill you up or anything, but it'll give you your electrolyte fix.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:24 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seaweed is extremely salty. People other than me like to eat it.
posted by SMPA at 1:25 PM on November 22, 2010

Response by poster: Ooh, love popcorn. Overeducated_alligator, can you recommend a brand? Thanks!
posted by Melismata at 1:26 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: This may seem weird, but I've roasted chickpeas (at 375 or 400 until crunchy) with various seasonings and it's surprisingly tasty.
posted by torisaur at 1:27 PM on November 22, 2010 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Concurring on seaweed, popcorn, and roasted chickpeas. (For seaweed, I love stuff like these sesame seaweed snacks).

But in defense of Fritos, they only have three ingredients - oil, corn, and salt!
posted by mskyle at 1:29 PM on November 22, 2010

Melismata: "Ooh, love popcorn. Overeducated_alligator, can you recommend a brand? Thanks!"

You don't need a "brand." You need a pot, a teaspoon of oil and some popcorn. Salt to taste when done. (If you really like gadgets, you can get an airpopcorn popper for your natural popcorn, but any bag of pre-popped popcorn is going to to have additions, crap and more rubbish than what you can make at home.)
posted by DarlingBri at 1:31 PM on November 22, 2010 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Pretzels and salted peanuts.
posted by anderjen at 1:31 PM on November 22, 2010

Seconding torisaur's roasted chickpea suggestion, very high in protein and yumminess.

As for popcorn, buy a bag of popcorn kernels and a bunch of brown paper lunchbags. 1/4 cup of unpopped popcorn goes into the lunchbag, and fold the top down a couple times (use short 1-inch folds, the popcorn grows immensely). Put it in the microwave for about 3 minutes, open the bag, enjoy. Sometimes I spray the top with a little no-fat, butter-flavor cooking spray and shake on stuff like cracked black pepper and lime salt.

The variety in available popcorn seasonings/flavors keeps it interesting.
posted by rachaelfaith at 1:31 PM on November 22, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Instant miso soup.
posted by dontjumplarry at 1:31 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Overeducated_alligator, can you recommend a brand? Thanks!

I actually never touch the stuff, but when I did I preferred to make it myself. Wise brand is extremely salty. Try some supermarket store brands -- like reenum says, they tend to be much saltier.

What about pretzels, too?
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:32 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: Pirate's Booty.
posted by evilmomlady at 1:33 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: If you don't need spur of the minute convenience, I highly recommend popping at home with canola oil and your own sea salt. Healthier and cheaper by far!

Nuts Online has a very good selection of kernels -- blue, red, ladyfinger, mushroom, midnight blue (yes, those are popcorn kernel varieties) all have their distinctive crunch and flavor. Yum.

Store the popped kernels in airtight containers and you can pop ahead for a few days. Then you can crunch and carry.
posted by cross_impact at 1:36 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding Pirate's Booty. Amazon often has good deals on a case of them.
posted by inturnaround at 1:38 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: Beef jerky, or turkey jerky if you can find it.
posted by knile at 1:38 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: Dried wakame flakes. Salty & crispy & delicious like chips, full of vitamins, very cheap if you buy 'em in bulk at a health food store.
posted by ourobouros at 1:39 PM on November 22, 2010

Response by poster: All fantastic answers, thanks so much!!
posted by Melismata at 1:40 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: oh my god please eat popcorn every day...put your choice of nutritional yeast and/or lemon pepper and/or cajun seasoning and/or vinegar powder on it + salt and DIE OF JOY
posted by 200burritos at 1:46 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Snyder's of Hanover Sourdough Hard Pretzels.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:59 PM on November 22, 2010

Yep, popcorn. Spend $20 and get yourself an air popper; you'll never go back to the microwave. Then browse this askme thread for ideas, and enjoy!
posted by cgg at 2:05 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: Japanese rice crackers are great -- salty/savory and pretty low-calorie and low fat. Fairly cheap, too. There are many varieties and many "flavors" but I like the kaki no tane type (without peanuts) that are slightly spicy.
posted by darksong at 2:13 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I love, love, love good old-fashioned popcorn made on the stove. I don't add butter to my popcorn, so I do it that way in oil, otherwise, air-popped is just too dry.

You can try a number of seasonings on it--experiment with what you have in your spice cabinet.

I store popcorn in airtight containers and bring it to work as a snack--it's really not necessary to eat it all at once.

Being fat, I'd much rather be burying my face in a bag of potato chips, but popcorn is something like 40 calories a cup for non-buttered, oil-popped, so it's the preferred snack.

I love salt. (Sigh.)

If you're not having to count calories, roasted almonds or cashews are delicious snacks. The bulk section of my grocery store has both salted and unsalted. Unsalted is too bland, salted is too salty, so I get some of each, mix together, and shake. Wait, sorry--that's not exactly low-fat. Carry on!
posted by Savannah at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What, nobody mentioned vegetable chips?
They are great. I love kale and zucchini.
posted by leigh1 at 2:49 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: popchips are super-delicious.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 2:55 PM on November 22, 2010

Sliced radishes sprinkled with coarse sea salt. So good.
posted by mostlymartha at 3:02 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

This is a 'love it or hate it' food (they even say so in their advertisements), but Marmite is deliciously salty - spread it on toast with (or without) butter, put it on Melba toast with a sprinkle of parmesean cheese and bake until warm and toasty, stir it into edamame or other veggies ... mmm, Marmite.

Oh, and along similar lines, if you can find a bag, barrel, or metric ton of Twiglets, holy cow, buy them and rejoice.
posted by DingoMutt at 3:15 PM on November 22, 2010

Pumpernickel pretzels!
posted by jgirl at 3:16 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: This is also very salty and good for you, but it's not your salty potato chip taste. You can buy flakes or whole leaf varieties. It's an easy, portable snack. I never did become fond of it sprinkled on salads, and preferred to eat it straight from the bag when I needed a salt-lick moment. Although the listed RDI's actual sodium level is very low, the taste is very, very salty.
posted by simulacra at 3:26 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: Rice crackers (the flat kind) are great: Hot-Kid Christie

Salt cod is tasty and low-fat, but not for everyone.

Pickles are crazy salty and have basically zero calories. The vinegar's not great for your teeth, though.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:38 PM on November 22, 2010

You can find decent popcorn machines at Goodwill for less than $10 and sometimes less than $5. (No need to buy new -- seriously, there's ALWAYS at least one in every thrift store.) Or just make it in a pan, as suggested upthread.
posted by vickyverky at 3:40 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: rice crackers are f--ing delicious, very salty and very low calorie. You can get them at Trader Joes and some mainstream supermarkets.
posted by bananafish at 3:43 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: Just realized you might not be able to find those brands in the store. Sesmark is another one.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2010

Pretzel Crisps:
posted by darkgroove at 3:51 PM on November 22, 2010

Blue Diamond Nut Thins
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:11 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Roasted Seaweed Snacks!!!! Roasted rectangles of seaweed, lightly brushed with a little oil and sprinkled with salt. They sell them in 60/calorie $1 snack containers at Trader Joe's. They are ridiculously addictive, and a good alternative to potato chips, as they have a nice crispy bite to them. I sometimes stock up on them from local Asian supermarkets, especially those that stock primarily Korean foods (less expensive in bulk amounts). About a month ago, there was a SEAWEED SHORTAGE in the entire Boston area. All TJ's were sold out, and nearly all of the Asian supermarkets. It was crazy. They're that addictive. Thank FSM they're back in stock.
posted by raztaj at 4:48 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Salty but not crunchy, low calorie and amazingly satisfying: Lipton's Cup-A-Soup.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:26 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: Pickles! Virtually no calories, salty, crunchy and delicious!
posted by kylej at 6:05 PM on November 22, 2010

posted by Kololo at 6:15 PM on November 22, 2010

Nthing roasted seaweed (also known as Laver).. get it at TJs or an Asian market..
posted by jockc at 7:28 PM on November 22, 2010

I came in to specifically recommend both Popchips (especially the salt & pepper flavor) & Pretzel Crisps (some flavors have maltodextrin, etc., but they're SO GOOD), but have to thank 200burritos... I had no idea vinegar powder existed, and my whole world just shifted a foot to the left. Wow.
posted by mintcake! at 7:29 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: I just realized I totally effed up my link there. copy/paste fail. Should have been to this seaweedy deliciousness
posted by raztaj at 7:54 PM on November 22, 2010

I love tossing some dried banana chips into a paper bag with some salt, shaking vigorously, and then munching away. Haven't tried it with other kinds of fruit, but the crispiness of the banana replicates potato chips nicely, minus the calories. (watch out though, some store bought brands of banana chips are fried, or contain a lot of oil)
posted by hasna at 8:51 PM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: Roasted pumpkin seeds. Not the pre-packaged (David?) brand; those are TOO salty. I like the kind I get in the bulk bins at Sprouts or Whole Foods.
posted by jvilter at 6:34 AM on November 23, 2010

You can make popcorn in the microwave with no oil. Simply take your bulk popcorn, put about 1/3 cup in a standard sized brown paper lunch bag, fold the top over twice, and close shut with two staples.

Yup, staples. In the microwave. It works, doesn't destroy the microwave, and doesn't set the bag on fire.

Empty in to a bowl, add whatever else you like. I usually use olive oil instead of butter, some salt, and some smoked paprika.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:00 AM on November 23, 2010

And I should read the whole thread more carefully before I post!
posted by backseatpilot at 9:01 AM on November 23, 2010

Best answer: Smoked salmon. There is some fat, but a little goes a long way.
posted by valannc at 3:07 PM on November 23, 2010

Dulse seaweed has an umami taste that salt-cravers tend to like. It's also high in vitamins and fibre. It is usually found in the ethnic foods section of groceries here in Canada.

Note that it is not recommended for persons with hyperthyroidism, due to the iodine content.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:31 PM on November 23, 2010

Seconding KALE chips. Just wash and dry kale, then rub all over with olive oil getting into all the folds. It actually doesn't take much since it goes on so thinly. Lay on a cookie sheet so no pieces are overlapping, Bake at 400 for 7 minutes, then flip and bake until light and Crispy. Papery delicious nutritious snacks that are full of fiber and iron and calcium and vitamin K. Put salt and pepper on before baking, or nutritional yeast. Soooo delish.

My own popcorn recipe involves a whirly-pop stovetop popcorn maker which makes delicious fluffy popcorn without drying out (gross, airpoppers). It just takes about a teaspoon of oil. I put nutritional yeast and a sprinkling of paprika (the magic combo!) And salt, of course.

Popcorn is also good if you're craving cheese -- just get some dried powdered cheddar at the bulk store and sprinkle a bit on. Cheesy flavor, without the calories.

Ps, plantain or banana chips are crunchy and salty but pack in the calories. They're full of good stuff but if you're looking to stay away from calories id avoid them.
posted by custard heart at 7:08 PM on November 25, 2010

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