Little ways to eat a lot less sugar and salt

It’s no secret that too much salt and sugar in your diet can do damage to your health. Reducing your salt and sugar intake can be difficult at first, but it is possible to cut back without feeling like you’re missing out. Here are some simple ways to keep salt and sugar out, while keeping flavor in.

  • Wash Away Salt. When you can’t buy fresh or frozen veggies, rinsing canned vegetables under cool running water reduces their sodium content by about 40 percent. The same holds true for other canned foods, including beans, tuna and chicken.
  • Add Seasoning While You Cook (as opposed to afterwards). Roast veggies by tossing them with a few teaspoons of olive oil, some lemon juice, a small pinch of salt and a few dashes of pepper.
  • Reseason the eggs. If you sprinkle a little dried thyme into your scrambled eggs, you won’t be tempted to pass the salt shaker over them.
  • Naturally Sweeten Your Breakfast. Add cinnamon and dried berries or apricots to your breakfast cereal instead of the sugar.
  • Swap Sugar for Fruit. If a dessert recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, swap in ½ cup fruit puree (make your own using apples, prunes or pears, or use jarred baby food).
  • A Fruity Alternative to Syrup Instead of using syrup on pancakes and waffles, make a raspberry sauce by mixing 1 cup berries with 1 tsp. cinnamon and cooking until thickened.
  • Don’t skip breakfast and make sure it’s a healthy feast. Eat a good breakfast of toast or whole-grain cereals or oatmeal/porridge to keep you going through the day. These release energy slowly, so you will be less likely to crave sugar. Be sure you avoid the sugary cereals, which is most of them.
  • Limit sugary treats to once or twice a week It’s not realistic for most people to go through life never having a sweet splurge. But setting some limits on how often you indulge in sugar-rich foods is certainly reasonable. Pick a day or two a week, maybe Wednesdays and Saturdays, to enjoy can’t-live-without goodies like chocolate, baked goods, or ice cream.

Fortunately, a few diet tweaks can help you quickly reduce your sugar and salt intake, knock down your disease risk, and protect your teeth and heart. As an extra bonus, you’ll probably drop some pounds in the process.