A blog by runners. For runners.

10 salty (yet healthy!) snacks for runners


why-you-may-need-more-saltThis past summer was rough for me in terms of running. I felt weak and struggled through most of my runs.

I mentioned it to a running buddy one day and she said, “how much salt do you eat?” I knew runners sometimes need more salt than the general population (and here’s why), but I also thought that only applied to marathon runners. I wasn’t training for an endurance event. Still, we had a hot and humid summer, and since I’m not a huge fan of salty foods – I’m all about the sweets! – I decided to try adding more salt to my diet.

And guess what? Almost instantly I felt stronger on every run and was hitting my old paces. Simply because I was noshing on saltier snacks throughout the day! Perhaps most importantly though I met my salt needs without turning to unhealthy, salty, processed foods, such as chips or pretzels.

A little extra salt may do your body good if you’re training for a distance event or running in hot and humid weather. (Note: If you have a heart condition or high blood pressure, check with your doctor first before increasing your salt intake.)

Here are our top picks for salty snacks that pack a nutritional punch:

  1. Nuts. Peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and more. With so many choices, you’re bound to find a nut that you like.
  2. Seeds. Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and sunflower seeds are delicious, nutritious, salty snacks. Choose the roasted variety for added flavor.
  3. Olives. Both green and black olives contain salt. However, the green variety contains about double the amount of sodium as the black ones.
  4. Roasted vegetables. What is it about drizzling raw vegetables in olive oil, sprinkling them with salt, and roasting them for about 45 minutes at 350°F that makes them so delicious? Roasted veggies aren’t just a yummy side dish, but they’re an awesome snack, too.
  5. Kale chips. If you haven’t had them before, crunchy, tasty kale chips are a must-try (check out this recipe). If kale isn’t your thing, slice sweet potatoes or zucchini really thin, toss them with coconut oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings, and bake them at 350°F until they turn to “chips” (about 40 minutes depending on how thin you slice them).
  6. Pickles. Snack on a cool, crunchy dill pickle to satisfy your salt craving.
  7. Avocado with sea salt. Sprinkle sea salt on a raw, chopped avocado. Not only is this salty snack delicious, it’s also a nutrition powerhouse. Avocadoes are a good source of healthy fats and potassium.
  8. Veggie and hummus plate. Slice up your favorite veggies and dip them in hummus. Most store-bought hummus contains salt. If you’re making your own hummus at home, experiment with the salt quantity to find the ratio that’s right for you.
  9. Lean deli meats. Lunch meats are high in sodium. Opt for fresh, lean deli meats, such as chicken or turkey, from the butcher. Roll them up – try adding cheese and mustard to the middle – and you’ve got yourself a filling, salty snack.
  10. A scoop of peanut butter. Who says snacks have to be fancy? Sometimes you need a simple, no-fuss snack. Peanut and other nut butters usually contain a good amount of salt. Grab a spoon and dig in!

Written by Jen Matz.