Many Americans consume more than the recommended levels of sugar and salt. It may take time, but you won’t reach for the sugar or salt as often with some palate training.
Let’s talk about sugar:
Let your taste buds adjust. Sometimes a sweet tooth calls out for more sugar, and you don’t even realize you add sugar to tea or coffee in the morning. Monitor your intake and make conscious choices to drink water instead of sugary drinks, and only add sugar to warm drinks once or twice a week. In time, your taste will adjust.
Try sugar-free or sugar alternatives. Adapt recipes by using less sugar, searching for sugar-free recipes, or switching out sugar with other options like honey, natural syrup, and fruit purées. Many online recipes offer low-sugar or sugar-free treats that still satisfy your cravings.
Check your food containers. Many packaged foods like cereals, granola bars, and yogurt have lots of added sugar. Even if the item claims it’s all-natural or made with natural ingredients, there can be a lot of extra sugar, making it less healthy than you thought. Check food packaging and choose low-sugar options. Also, consider switching out juices—known to be high in sugar—with fruit or flavored water.
Let’s talk about salt:
Avoid processed foods. The best way to reduce your salt intake is to eat mostly fresh foods instead of packaged or processed items. Frozen meals and canned soups are two culprits that make eating convenient but overload your salt intake. Preparing your own meals and choosing fresh food can help reduce your salt consumption.
Watch out for condiments. Condiments and sauces have a lot of sodium. Even if you think you’re making healthy choices by eating a salad, it can quickly turn into a sodium-rich meal with high-salt condiments. Make your own condiments, or be sure to look for low-sodium options.
Try other spices for flavor. There are many spices that can flavor meals and reduce your salt intake. Herbs and spices such as basil, cumin, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary add delicious flavor to food without using salt. Experiment—maybe you’ll like something new!