What if I told you that you CAN eat healthier without having to give up on desserts and your favourite savoury ‘comfort foods’?
What if there simple ways that you could eliminate 80% of the excess sugar and salt in your diet?
If you’re like the average adult, you’re likely eating too much sugar and salt. Most of the excess sugar and salt that you’re consuming comes from processed foods that you buy in supermarkets, take-away food outlets, and restaurants.
To make matters worse, many of these items, like sweetened breakfast cereals and soft drinks (sodas), are highly processed. They’re full of artificial ingredients made in labs, and they’ve been shown to accelerate weight gain.
You CAN enjoy delicious foods along with the health benefits of cutting back on sugar and salt. That includes lowering your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, as well as reducing your risk of heart attacks, stroke, and other serious health issues.
Here are some tips for reducing added sugar and salt in your diet:
Eat More Whole Foods
About 80% of the sugar and salt in your diet comes from processed foods. Switching to whole foods is a big change, but you CAN succeed even by just taking baby-steps.
Try these techniques:
1. Check your pantry and kitchen cupboards. Put junk food out of reach. Store it on the highest shelves, or throw it out! You’re less likely to give in to temptation if it means driving to the supermarket or taking out a step stool to reach those higher shelves!
2. Shop the perimeter. Stick to the outer aisles when you’re at the supermarket. That’s where you’ll find fresh produce, instead of chips and lollies.
3. Visit farmers markets. Diversify your grocery shopping. Research farmers markets and ethnic shops in your neighbourhood.
4. Bring a list. Reduce impulse purchases by planning what to buy before you leave home. Create menus for the week, so you’ll know what ingredients you need.
5. Eat at home. Restaurants and manufacturers tend to use highly processed ingredients because they’re tasty and cheap. Prepare your own meals and snacks. You’ll also save a lot of money!
6. Adjust recipes. Experiment with using less salt and sugar than the recipe calls for. Taste your food before picking up the saltshaker to see how much you really need.
Other Tips for Reducing Added Sugar and Salt in Your Diet:
If you like the results you see so far, you may want to go further.
Make your diet even healthier with these simple strategies:
1. Go slow. If you gradually reduce how much sugar and salt you add to foods, you may change your habits without even noticing any difference in the taste. For example, if you usually take your coffee with sugar, work your way down a quarter of a teaspoon at a time
2. Substitute other flavours. Liven up your dishes with herbs and spices. To save money, you can grow many herbs indoors. For any fresh herbs that you buy, use techniques that will keep herbs fresh in the fridge for longer. (Example: I remove the leaves from celery before storing in the fridge as it keeps the celery stalks crisper for longer – the leaves can be washed and used sparingly to flavour broths, stews, etc. (And, yes, celery is a herb!)
3. Read labels. When you buy food in a box or bag, check the nutritional information. For example, frozen vegetables without sauce can be a wholesome time-saver.
4. Drink water. Quench your thirst with plain water rather than sweetened beverages. If you like more flavour, add fruit or cucumber slices.
5. Increase your fibre. Foods rich in dietary fibre such as vegetables, fruits, and legumes, help prevent cravings for sweet and salty snacks.
6. Sleep well. Getting adequate sleep each night fights cravings too, in addition to the many other health benefits.
As you eat more whole foods, you’re retraining your taste buds to prefer the natural flavours of these whole foods. You’ll also be increasing your chances for leading a longer and more active life by consuming less sugar and salt.