It’s that time of the year. The Holidays are upon us, and if you are at all like my wife and me, you want to have people over and entertain. That usually means putting out some kind of spread for your guest and you. What you don’t want to do though is have a bunch of treats that will blow up our sodium restrictions. To that end, I have scoured around for some ideas that you can add to your snack platters that are both low sodium and won’t scream “Low Sodium” to your guests. It will just be our secret that the snacks are healthy for them as well!
If you are serving a meal, and want to watch the sodium counts for the whole thing, I recommend that each guests snack plates comes in under 100 mg of sodium for “Light” appetizers. If you aren’t having a meal as well, we can target more “Heavy” appetizers. Remember, your party spread won’t impress anyone if it is just celery, baby carrots, and grape tomatoes. Let’s get creative! Here are my suggestions and ideas for low sodium snack platters for entertaining:
Fresh Fruit (Light/Heavy):
We’re looking for fruit that will hold up as finger food. Go with fruit of the season. Summer would be peaches, nectarines, and cherries. Fall is more apples, grapes, berries, and persimmons. Winter is good for pears, dates, figs, and pomegranate (although us transplant patients must skip the pomegranate as it reacts negatively with our medications). Spring is for pineapple, blueberries, and apricots. You can also opt for a low sodium dip for the fruit. I recommend a low sodium yogurt or walden farm’s has a zero calorie Caramel dip that is only 20 mg of sodium per 2 tbsp.
Dried & Candy Fruit (Light/Heavy):
You can go this route for all the same reasons as above. Most fruit is low sodium naturally. The tip to watch for here is to check the labels for sodium used in the packaging or as preservatives in store bought packaging. There are many recipes out there to dehydrate your own. The bonus of dehydrated fruit is you don’t have to worry what season it is.
Low Sodium and Unsalted Nuts (Light/Heavy):
Another snack staple. Planter’s has a line of lightly salted nuts that are low sodium, or you can go with completely unsalted. I like a variety of mixed nuts, but cashews, almonds, pecans, and macadamia nuts on their own dress up a party.
Veggies and Dips (Light/Heavy):
OK, cut vegetables are always a safe bet. Even if it seems run of the mill. Let’s jazz it up a bit. try introducing some new veggies to that old snack platter. Try slices and sticks of Jicama, Parsnips, Fennel, Broccolini, and so on. Mom always used to have radishes on our veggie trays. You can whip up a great tasting low sodium ranch dip from my recipe here. You can also dress up celery with peanut butter and dried raisins/craisins/tart cherries for ants on a log. There are many great recipes for hummus out there which also makes a phenomenal dip for veggies and crackers.
Cheese and Crackers (Light/Heavy):
There are a ton of low sodium crackers on the market these days. Both Triscuits and wheat thins have their low sodium “hint of salt” lines. Also, you can check the labels for many crackers. I found some Lefsa crackers and Rosemary Crisps that both were under 45 mg for 12 crackers (which is a lot of crackers). I grew up with holiday snack platters that included a huge crock of port wine cheese. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a low sodium version. So, we go with small slices of swiss cheese. If you are tired of Swiss, let’s shake it up a bit. If you search the cheese counter, you can find some very low sodium versions of the following: Emmentaler (pictured), Chevre, Jarlsburg, Parmesan, Wensleydale, Marscapone, mozzarella, cream cheese, ricotta and cottage cheese. You could also create a cheese spread/log/ball with a soft cheese rolled in some of the finely chopped unsalted nuts mentioned above.
If you want to grill up some seasoned chicken or turkey strips, this is a great way to provide some meat and protein on the platter. Steer clear of all cured meats. There are some low sodium beef and turkey jerkies out there which would make up for the salamis that are too salty. You could also use one of the low sodium soft cheese options above and blend in some crushed up strips of low sodium bacon, and a bit of chives to make a meat spread.
Hopefully this will spark your imagination. Let me know what you put out on your platters! Cheers!
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