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It's Mallomar season over here on the East Coast. I do not know if you have them in California, but they are cookies with cake-y graham bottoms and marshmallow filling covered in chocolate. They're quite addictive and have 60 calories and 2.5g fat each. Problem is, a person could easily eat a whole row of cookies without thinking. Do you have any substitutes that will fill the craving? Thank you.

Dear Mallo-Queen,

Your question made me laugh because I grew up eating Mallomars. (I'm originally from NY and they're my dad's favorite, so my mom always kept them in the house.) I know just how easy it is to swallow a whole row of those cookies in one sitting. There's something about their delicious squishiness that makes you want to keep eating them. Instead of going down THAT road, I've been known to put together a little marshmallow graham "project" that is lots of fun, takes longer to eat, and may stop you from shoveling almost 500 calories' worth of Mallomars down your gullet. Take a 100 Calorie Pack of Honey Maid Cinnamon Thin Crisps, about 10 mini marshmallows, and half a tablespoon of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips. Then you can put together mini s'mores -- or melt the chocolate, dip the cookies into it, and stick the mini marshmallows on top. However you decide to eat the stuff, it'll take you a while and only add up to around 160 calories and 4g fat! If you're feeling adventurous, you may want to try making your own mini Mallomars using the ingredients above, or even using crushed Fiber One cereal for bottoms. I'll eventually try this and get a recipe out there. But if anyone beats me to it, feel free to send it in. And by the way, who knew there was an official Mallomar season?! :)

Dear Hungry Girl,

I was reading your reviews of soup last week and noticed that the sodium counts were INSANELY high! What are your thoughts on the crazy-high sodium levels in packaged foods, and even in many of your own recipes?

Anti-Sodium in Ann Arbor
Dear Anti-Sodium,

There are a lot of people counting sodium these days. In fact, I hear from sodium-counters ALL THE TIME. They complain if I write about foods that are high in the stuff. I can say this -- if you have been told by your doctor to keep a low-sodium diet, then by all means, do NOT eat the foods I write about that contain lots of sodium, and avoid the HG recipes that are high in sodium as well (or tweak them to fit your own sodium needs). If you watch your sugar intake, you may want to avoid many of the foods featured here on HG. I give lots of product recommendations and recipes with all the info you need to make your own decisions, so you can (and should) take only what works for you. The truth is this -- recipes and products that are low in calories and fat tend to be higher in salt. That's because salt makes things taste better, especially things that are missing fatty, high-calorie ingredients that give foods a lot of flavor. If eating these foods helps you to maintain a healthy weight (thus helping to avoid health issues associated with obesity), many experts agree that this benefit far outweighs the issue of high sodium counts. Regarding high sodium intake in general, since I'm not a nutrition expert, I called on my friend Delia Hammock (who is a registered dietician with an M.S. in nutrition, and Nutrition Director at Good Housekeeping) to shed some light on the subject. Delia says, "Some people are definitely more sensitive to sodium than others, and those with high blood pressure or a family history of hypertension should make watching sodium a priority. Others can take a more relaxed approach." She does recommend choosing brands with less salt when you can, and balancing out high-sodium foods by making low-sodium choices at other times. She also offers this neat little tidbit: "Eating lots of fruits and veggies is a top choice and a GREAT defense against high blood pressure. They are often high in potassium (which actually blunts the effects of too much sodium), and filling up on them can help with weight control (extra pounds can also make blood pressure soar)." Thanks, Delia! Looking for some lower sodium items? Click here for some reduced sodium soup finds!

October is National Chili Month. Boca's version is our pick for the best store-bought guilt-free chili on the planet. And salt-sticklers will dig Health Valley's no-salt-added vegetarian chilis. Yay!!!
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