Snacking doesn't have to be hard. As long as you eat in moderation and make good healthy choices, snacking can happen often, and taste great while doing it. One of the most important things I've found when it comes to snacking is to simply avoid processed foods. Eating packaged snacks, chips and other things can quickly ruin your daily allowance of sodium or even potassium for that matter. Sticking to simple, non (or minimally) processed snacks or organic fruits and vegetables is always the best option for frankly anyone, and most definitely for people snacking with chronic kidney disease.
Below you will find a list of my favorite snacks for people following a low sodium diet. Each snack will have a small writeup along with a nutrition label to help you better understand the nutritional value of each snack.
When most people think of popcorn they think of the movie theater lathering liquid butter all over it. That's just totally unnecessary. A better option is to make your own popcorn from scratch.
- In a heavy bottomed, preferably wide sauce pot, crank the heat as high as it will go with 1-2 tbsp of oil (canola or coconut oil because of their higher smoking point).
- Add 2-3 kernels in with the oil and cover. As soon as all of the kernels pop, remove the kernels from the pot, and the pot from the heat.
- Add in 1/2 cup of kernels to the hot oil, cover and toss around.
- Let stand off of heat for about a minute, periodically tossing the kernels around.
- Add the pot back to the hight heat, covered, for about 1-2 minutes or until all kernels have popped.
Careful, they can blow the rid right off!
I love to ear my fresh popcorn with a mixture of nutritional yeast, cumin and garlic.
Although regular salted pretzels are very high in sodium, unsalted pretzels are actually a fabulous snack for people dealing with kidney complications. Like bread, pretzels are made from a flour and yeast dough, then baked in the oven. I like to get the Snyder's of Hanover - Unsalted Mini Fat Free Pretzels which you can find at almost every grocery store. To the right (or below on a mobile device) you will find the nutritional facts for Snyder's of Hanover unsalted pretzels.
Since corn is considered a kidney friendly vegetable, corn tortillas are also kidney friendly. Most corn tortillas are made from corn, vegetable oil, water and some salt. Look for unsalted, or low sodium tortilla chips at the grocery store, and when out to dinner, ask for no added salt.
Animal crackers, graham crackers or any other low sodium crackers make great snacks for people dealing with a low sodium diet. Crackers are normally made from flour, and some seasonings, which can be done without sodium.
Rice will quickly become your friend if you are dealing with a low sodium diet. Rice cakes are made from rice, and shaped, condensed, and combined into a cake or patty shape. Rice cakes make great low sodium snacks and go great with a little bit of peanut butter spread over them.
Have you tried?
- Mix 1 part honey to 1 part peanut butter and spread over rice cake.
Apples are one of my all-time favorite go to snacks. There are tons of different types of apples, each with their own characteristics. The one thing that all apples have in common is that they will fill you up, and make a perfect snack.
Have you tried?
- Cut an apple into slices and drizzle honey over the top. Top with granola or mini chocolate chips!
Cucumbers are considered the "Kidney Cleansers" and make great day time snacks. Cucumbers are considered a low potassium vegetable, but that's for a 1/2 cup serving. Eating an entire cucumber can quickly turn into a high potassium situation.
Have you tried?
- Cut strips of cucumbers and sprinkle nutritional yeast over the top.
Celery and carrots are great crunchy snacks and go well with your favorite nut butter or low sodium dip. If you're on a potassium restricted diet, make sure to eat this snack in moderation, the potassium can add up quick with celery, carrots and nut butters.