I am so happy to share this article written by Liana Walkin, one of my closest friends and the wife of my best friend.
She is a seaweed fanatic and wanted to use my platform to share her thoughts on why seaweed is a super healthy snack.
Let’s see what she has to say ->
Healthier Snacking with Seaweed
If you’re like me, you like to snack. Chips and other crunchy, salty treats are very tempting and can be hard to turn down. After all, we are hard wired to crave salt and fat; an unfortunate vestigial craving from a time where these nutrients were scarce in our diets. Let’s face it, given that sodium and lipid deficiencies are more or less a thing of the past it can be hard to feel like you’re making healthy snacking choices that are still satisfying. Andy, I’m sorry, I love spinach but snacking on a tub of it really doesn’t hit the spot like a big ol’ bowl of Miss Vickie’s.
Enter seaweed. Yup, you heard me. But wait, didn’t I just say that veggies don’t satisfy my snack cravings? If you haven’t already tried the seaweed snacks on the market, you probably have a sinking feeling in your gut right now (great, another person just telling me to suck it up and eat healthy – I never thought of that before…). Before I lose you to a full-fledged bout of eye rolling, let me assure you that I’m going somewhere with this. Somewhere salty, crispy, and oh so satisfying!
But first, let’s talk about some of the health benefits of consuming seaweed in your diet. Specific levels vary by type, but most are higher in protein than other vegetables (so more satiating than snacking on spinach). They also boast impressive mineral contents, including calcium to promote bone health and iodine which promotes healthy thyroid function. Add to that respectable levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, B vitamins, and top it off with a good dose of super satiating soluble fibre and we are good to go!
So I’ve hopefully convinced you that you should eat seaweed, but have I convinced you that you want to? I’d like to reiterate that I love my snack foods. Potato chips, corn chips, buttery popcorn, and pretty much anything else that’s salty and crunchy (well, not bugles – everyone has a line). I can honestly tell you that since discovering seaweed snacks, I’ve often chosen those over some of my other favourites because I wanted to, not because I was trying to make a healthy choice. In fact, once you get hooked, good luck thinking about anything else!
However, the world of seaweed can be daunting. One reason is that the western world hasn’t yet fully embraced these products, and as such there is often less English on the package than on your typical bag of Ruffles. For that reason, I’d like to walk you through some of my favourites and not-so-favourites, so that you have a better idea of what to expect. I happen to be lucky enough to live near a large Asian grocery store so I may have access to a wider array than you do, but most chain supermarkets will carry at least a couple of varieties. I’m confident that there’s one out there for you!
There are many brands of this style of roasted seaweed. I find that this one is particularly tasty, but honestly they are all pretty good, and my regular go-to style of sea snack. At only 30 calories per pack, I don’t need to feel too bad when I eat the whole 3 pack in a sitting. These sheets are very thin and crispy, and have a nice salty sesame taste. The sheets are just slightly wider than your mouth, so they do tend to cause a bit of salt-burn at the corners of your mouth and can get a tad messy if you aren’t careful about crumbling. The convenient packs make these a fantastic lunchbox snack.
I love these! With a slightly higher fat content than most, these are not the #1 health choice, but at 140 calories for the whole bag, they still beat chips by a long shot. The added fat and high heat cooking method allow these to crisp up in a unique way. If you think you don’t like seaweed, this is the one to try. Texturally, they have absolutely no trace of that gooey (verging on slimy) texture that sometimes turns people off of seaweed. The long narrow strips are easy to nibble on, and don’t leave a mess like the roasted laver does. The only problem: just try opening the bag and not finishing it, I dare you. Oh, and if you’re a fan of spicy foods, the spicy variety is delicious.
These are a bit gimmicky, but I’m pretty much obsessed with the spicy flavor. At just 12 calories per roll, they are a great option if you just need some salt but aren’t looking for a large snack. They have a serious hit of flavor, which can be great for satisfying cravings. They are a bit high in sodium (40mg in a 16g roll), but as long as you are only having one, it’s really nothing to worry about. I personally do not like the original flavor, as I find it oddly sweet, but that may just be personal preference.
These are a very healthy option. They are very lightly seasoned, except for a serious dose of chilli pepper. Because they are quite spicy it’s hard to eat a lot, so they are great for the times when you just want to eat everything. There’s something a bit fishy (pun intended!) about the nutrition info in this product. It lists each sheet as having 0 calories, but 3 grams of protein (3 grams of protein alone would contribute about 12 calories). That said, this is still a very low calorie product, I’m just not sure how low. I should warn you that these come in large sheets, similar to nori used to roll sushi. They can be kind of fun to eat, or really annoying, depending on your perspective. Definitely be ready for a mess.
I was really excited about these. One package contains 100 smaller packages, each containing just 4 bite-sized sheets of seaweed that fit easily into your mouth. What a great idea for portion control! Boy was I disappointed. These are by far the worst seaweed snack that I’ve tried. The spicy flavor is barely detectable, while the seaweed itself is incredibly tough and fishy tasting. As you chew, it becomes quite slimy and difficult to swallow. This product is exactly the type of thing that would turn off first-time sea snackers. Don’t waste your money.
I hope that your experience with seaweed will be as positive as mine has been. I have a new favourite snack that is actually good for me, but satisfies even the most intense chip cravings. Of course, a healthy diet depends on a variety of factors and one substitution will not change things overnight, but if seaweed works for you, just imagine what else might be lurking around the next corner waiting to be discovered.