The Trick of Treats: Secret Sodium in Holiday Sweets

By Jessica Goldman Foung, aka Sodium Girl

Jess halloweenIt’s officially the start of the holidays. Or what I like to call, “the season of eating.” And from Halloween to the New Year, we enjoy a flurry of traditions, many of which involve food. But while most people know to avoid the savory dishes high in sodium–like gravies, ham, and that big bowl of cheesy mashed potatoes (which we’ll chat more about next month)–what might come as a big surprise, is that you have to watch out for the sweets, too. Even when something tastes of sugar and spice, it may also contain a large amount of sodium–enough to tip your daily intake over that recommended limit with everything else you eat that day.

So what do you do? The good news is that with some simple tricks, you can still enjoy your treats. First, know what items to avoid. Some of the big holiday traps include:

1 medium-sized pumpkin latte: over 200mg sodium
1 pumpkin scone: almost 300mg sodium
1 ready-to-bake cookie pie crust: over 800mg sodium
1/2 cup eggnog: almost 100mg sodium
1 serving of most peanut butter/chocolate candy: usually around or more than 100mg sodium

Second, always check the labels of your favorite candies and sweet ingredients, both at the store and online. That way you will make smart choices and choose items with the lowest amount of sodium. And you may even find versions of typically high sodium products (like Egg Nog) with low to no sodium, depending on the brand.

And third, satisfy that sweet tooth by making your own (healthy-ish!) treats at home. Like a pumpkin-spiced popcorn. Or a matzoh cracker pie crust.

Above all, though, remember, a healthy life and a successful low-sodium diet is all about balance. Too much sugar can be just as bad as too much sodium, and brussels sprouts will always prove a better choice than a box of candy. But there are also those moments when you find yourself in a sticky, toffee-coated situation and you need to splurge a little. And for those times, if you’re armed with the right information, you can at least make the healthier choice as well as avoid added sodium.

So those are my tricks for when you treat. Just remember to pair that candy with a kale salad. And have a delicious Halloween.

For more tips on healthy Halloween candy, check out my video here.

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