Never heard of seaweed as a snack before? Well then, you have some sampling to do. Seaweed snacks are one of the tastiest and most nutritious snacks available today. Given their high nutritional value, they're actually considered a superfood. And with extremely low calories, they're great to have for any snack or added to a meal.
To help you decide which ones to get, we’ll list some of the best seaweed snacks we could find on the market and give you some tips for how to choose the best product for you. We’ll also explore all of the health benefits of seaweed and let you know how you can make seaweed snacks on your own.
If you're looking for authentic Korean flavor and a product that's been sustainably-sourced there's no better option than Jayone Seaweed, Roasted and Lightly Salted.
You might be surprised to find that you can get a healthy and nutritious snack that is certified organic at a price that doesn't break the bank. That's why we love Annie Chun’s Organic Seaweed, Sea Salt and Vinegar—you get all the flavor of a sea salt potato chip without any of the calories and unhealthy ingredients!
Quick Comparison: The 10 Best Seaweed Snacks
1. Jayone Seaweed, Roasted and Lightly Salted
This type of seaweed snack is number one on our list because Jayone uses sustainable harvesting practices to get their seaweed from the clean waters that surround the Korean peninsula. We are big fans of the slightly nutty flavor, which is quite popular in Korean cuisine.
We're also glad to know that Jayone only sources their seaweed between late December and mid-April, which is considered to be the best time for getting seaweed that's high in both taste and nutrition.
We think this is one of the best seaweed snacks because it contains perilla oil, which is a common oil used for cooking in Korean cuisine. It's made from roasted seeds of the perilla plant and it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. This is great for most of us because Americans are notoriously deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and it is essential in reducing inflammation.
2. Annie Chun’s Organic Seaweed, Sea Salt and Vinegar
If you're looking for all of the flavor of salt and vinegar chips but want something that's lighter and healthier, this is definitely a snack worth trying. Our family loves to have these on-the-go or packed into lunch boxes because they taste like what we're used to (unhealthy potato chips) but don't make us feel guilty about eating too many of them.
Annie Chun is the #1 seaweed snack brand in the United States. When you bite into these seaweed snacks you'll know why. You get a burst of all natural flavor along with a satisfying. If you find that you're still craving salty potato chips, we recommend preparing a baked potato and sprinkling these seaweed snacks (crushed up) on top. It’s a perfect snack you’ll feel good about!
3. gimMe Organic Roasted Sea Salt Seaweed Sheets
We like these seaweed snacks because we know that they've been sustainably cultivated and harvested in South Korea. Naturally loaded with protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins, we can trust that this type of seaweed is free of artificial preservatives and flavors and just full of all of the good stuff contained in natural seaweed.
We always like to tell our kids that the snack is good for supporting healthy oceans, because each purchase helps gimMe give back to the ocean through their partnership with the Sea Turtle Conservancy.
These seaweed snacks are good for our bodies too. They are a low-calorie source of plant-based protein and are loaded with vitamin A, C, and B12, along with some essential minerals like iodine. Even better, they are a good source of fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Daechun Seaweed Snack
Umami is the element in food that makes it taste really good. This is found in high levels in this natural Nori seaweed snack. It's considered a superfood and has been made with seaweed sourced from the clean waters that surround the Korean peninsula. Daechun has had a relationship with their suppliers for more than 20 years, so you can feel assured that you’re getting a quality product.
5. Wickedly Prime Organic Roasted Seaweed Snacks
We love these seaweed snacks from Wickedly Prime, especially the Maui onion flavor. They also come in sea salt flavor, wasabi style flavor, and Korean Kalbi flavor.
Working with producers on the west coast of South Korea, the seaweed used in these snacks is grown without pesticides and harvested in protected bays. Wickedly Prime uses traditional methods (like sun drying) that have been passed down from generation to generation. This means that this is a sustainable, authentic, and healthy snack.
We've tried their “Green Eggs in Maui” recipe and it’s delicious! Simply scramble up some eggs, slice some of the seaweed snacks into thin strips, and add to the scrambled eggs. This makes for a protein-packed breakfast that’s unlike anything you’ve ever eaten before.
6. Seaweed Love All Natural Roasted Seaweed Variety Pack
Family-owned Seaweed Love has loved seaweed snacks for a while. In fact, in 1996, they were the first company to share seaweed snacks with customers in the United States. Their mantra is “never compromise quality” and we think that they’ve done a good job at that.
These flaky, flavorful, and crispy snacks are perfect on their own or sprinkled over noodles, soup, rice, or popcorn. They’re also free of artificial flavors and MSG, making them a safe and healthy choice for the whole family. We like to pack them in our lunches, put them in kids lunch boxes, or just munch on them while at home.
7. Organic Kimnori Seasoned Roasted Seaweed Snacks
Kimnori is owned by the top seaweed manufacturing company in Korea. That said, you know that you’re getting the best product when you purchase from them. All of their products are certified organic and gluten free, as well as kosher and non-GMO certified.
We love the Korean BBQ seaweed snacks with sticky rice. You can make a quick and easy sushi-style snack. Just use some of the umami rich seaweed snacks, add a thin layer of sticky rice, top with soy sauce, cucumber strips, avocado, and sesame seeds. You’ll have a healthy and nutritious snack in just a few minutes!
8. KPOP Sea Snacks Premium Seaweed Snacks
Why do we love the seaweed snacks from KPOP? Because they keep it simple with just four ingredients: organic seaweed, organic sunflower oil, organic sesame oil, and sea salt! They also source their seaweed in a sustainable manner and, as a Korean company, you can be sure that you’re getting authentic and traditional flavors.
The small packs are lightweight and easy to have with you for any occasion—work, school, or on the go. And since they satisfy several different diets, they’re a great choice for anyone!
9. Kwangcheonkim Kim Nori Kakao Friends Roasted Seasoned Seaweed Snacks
These are extremely enjoyable to snack on. They’re crispy, but not too crispy that they feel dry and end up sticking to your mouth. As they’ve got a little more oil in them than other brands, they taste relatively similar to a potato chip (without all of the calories!).
We like sprinkling these onto an Asian-inspired salad with leafy greens, sesame seeds, mandarin oranges, and crispy wontons. They’re great on their own too, so good that you might end up eating three packs!
10. Kirkland Signature Organic Roasted Seaweed Snack
If you’re looking for a quick and easy snack, these organic roasted seaweed snacks from Kirkland simply can't be beat. We love eating them on their own, but they're also great if you crumble them up and serve them with sushi, a salad, or even on pizza!
I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we're all looking for healthier and tastier snacks for our families. Nowadays, most snacks are filled with fat, sodium, and unhealthy and processed ingredients. With these, you only get 20 calories and the best natural ingredients like organic seaweed, organic sunflower oil, organic sesame oil, and sea salt. That's it!
Things to Consider When Buying Seaweed Snacks
What Exactly Are Seaweed Snacks?
When we think of seaweed, we're thinking of a variety of marine plants and algae that are found in our oceans, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Some of these types of seaweed are microscopic and are the foundation of the food chain. Other types of larger seaweed are used in many ways to support larger animals, including humans.
You may be surprised to find that seaweed is commonly found in some commercial goods like cosmetics, skin care products, and toothpaste.
When it comes to edible seaweed however, we’re likely to find large seaweed sheets sold for making sushi and other culinary purposes. Seaweed snacks are a processed type of seaweed that can be flavored in a variety of ways and eaten like potato chips.
Seaweed snacks have been popular in Asian culture for thousands of years. Over the past decade or so, these seaweed snacks have become more popular in other areas of the world. Some are sweet, some are salty, and some are spicy, but all of them are highly portable and easy to snack on.
Are Seaweed Snacks Healthy?
The answer to the question “are seaweed snacks healthy” is a resounding yes. Seaweed is a highly nutritious food and helps our bodies in seven main ways:
- Seaweed is a high source of both tyrosine and iodine. As such, this helps to support a healthy thyroid function. For those of you who don't remember, the thyroid gland is responsible for the hormones that help to control our body's energy production, growth, and reproduction of damaged cells. If we don't get enough iodine in the body, we may experience symptoms like fatigue or weight gain. Nutritionists recommend 150 mcg of iodine per day and just one dried sheet of seaweed (Kombu) can have two up to almost 2000% of the RDA!
- Beyond tyrosine and iodine, dried seaweed is a great source of other minerals and vitamins. Dried seaweed like spirulina can provide a good source of riboflavin, thiamin, iron, manganese, and copper, along with vitamin A, C, E, and K. Dried seaweed is also an amazing source of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. In lesser amounts, it also contains sodium, calcium, magnesium, folate, and zinc.
- If you've heard about cancer and cell damage, it's likely that you're aware that this is associated with free radicals. These unstable cells in our bodies typically lead to problems like diabetes and heart disease. Fortunately, antioxidants help to address that. Dried seaweed is a good choice for boosting our antioxidant levels, which are vitamins A, C, and E. These contain beneficial plant compounds, which include carotenoids and flavonoids, which have been shown to protect cell membranes and keep us healthy.
- Dried seaweed is also high in polysaccharides and fiber which help to support a healthy gut. We need to have a balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in and the gut—otherwise we're more susceptible to disease and sickness. Dried seaweed can help us get rid of some of the bad bacteria and promote growth of good gut bacteria.
- The high fiber content of dried seaweed can help in another way, too. When we consume a diet high in fiber, it helps to slow the emptying of our stomachs. This means that we end up feeling fuller for longer which can also help us minimize food cravings, unhealthy eating habits, and weight gain.
- There's a peptide in seaweed that has been shown in studies to help decrease blood pressure and prevent blood clotting. These are considered to be a few factors that help to support cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease (which is the leading cause of death worldwide).
- Seaweed has also been associated with improvements in blood sugar levels and absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, both of which are thought to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
Can You Eat Too Much Seaweed Snacks?
As the saying goes, sometimes you can get too much of a good thing.
Iodine is definitely something that we need for a healthy thyroid function, but unfortunately we are also at risk for consuming too much iodine. If someone were to eat a lot of seaweed over a long period of time they may end up having extra high levels of iodine, which for some people would put them at risk for thyroid dysfunction.
How would you know if you are consuming too much iodine? Well, if you notice symptoms like tightness or swelling around your neck or weight gain, you should stop eating seaweed and see a doctor immediately.
Another risk with seaweed is the heavy metals that they absorb. As seaweed grows in the ocean, it tends to absorb nutrients and minerals from the sea, some of which aren't great for us. In fact, one study found that there were 10 potentially toxic metals found in seaweed.
This wouldn't pose a risk with low levels of seaweed consumption but if you're eating dried seaweed multiple times a day for an extended period of time you may want to consider taking a break. Alternatively, you could choose organic seaweed that is sourced in a high-quality manner.
How to Eat Seaweed Snacks
Recipe Idea for Seaweed Snacks
Sure, eating seaweed snacks on their own is a great and healthy way to get some essential vitamins and minerals. But, you can also get a little creative with your seaweed snacks.
The slightly sweet and mildly salty taste of seaweed can add a little extra flavor to creamy foods like hummus or avocado. It can also add a little bit of texture to vegetables like cucumber or roasted potato.
Here are a few things you can do with your seaweed snacks:
- Crumble it up and add it to toast (we like it with avocado and sesame seeds)
- Turn it into mini sushi sandwiches
- Mix it into hummus (it adds umami flavors)
- Make seaweed sliders by adding sliced cucumber, a tahini-based dressing, and some sliced avocado
- Sprinkle into your popcorn for a unique and healthy take on a favorite snack food
- Blend it into your favorite green smoothie (or any smoothie!)
How to Make Your Own Seaweed Snacks
Making simple seaweed snacks, like these ones from Dora Daily is so easy anyone can do it. You can start out with just a few ingredients like Nori sheets, sesame oil, salt, and either wasabi or horseradish. Just bake the Nori sheets that have been sprinkled with oil and flavoring for a few minutes at 350 degrees and you'll have a healthy snack in no time.
If you want a little extra flavor, we'd recommend this recipe from Jamie Geller. All you need is toasted Nori sheets, oil, pickled ginger juice, sea salt, wasabi powder, garlic powder, and sriracha.
We honestly can't think of another snack that is as tasty and nutritious as the best seaweed snacks we mentioned here. They're high in essential vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, and dietary fiber. Plus, most of them only contain a few simple and natural ingredients which can make you feel good about your snacking.If you haven't tried seaweed snacks yet we recommend that you do so now! If you have a special way you like to eat them, let us know in the comments below!