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A couple of months ago we discussed healthy eating. Well, sugar and salt reduction is a vital aspect of healthy eating. Even though it seems that our sodium and sugar consumption tripled with the rise of convenience food, it can still be checked. One way to do this is by modifying our eating behaviour. This is not always easy as there are tons of misleading information online. Moreover, stress, fear of waste, personal taste and even family acceptability are all challenges to modifying eating behaviour. Truth be told, every family member will not be willing to make the necessary adjustments that healthy eating demands and cooking separate meals at every mealtime can be both stressful and wasteful. But regardless of these challenges, sodium and sugar reduction in meals can be achieved.

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The following tips will make it a possibility:

Embrace Fresh Foods:

Do you know that eighty percent of our sodium and sugar  intake come from fast food? Oh yes! The chips, pizza and even soft drinks that you conveniently and joyfully consume are loaded with salt and sugar respectively. Now, if you just sighed, relax. I know you think I want to discourage you from enjoying your favourite treats but that is not the case. I’m well aware that expunging convenient food from your diet at once is never the best approach. It usually results in binge eating. What I advocate is a gradual approach, one that allows you to enjoy your treats in moderation. That said, one of the ways to reduce your salt and sugar intake is to cook your food at home with minimal processed ingredients. You can also replace some of the high calories food and drinks with healthy alternatives. Fruits and homemade smoothies, for instance, can replace the artificially sweetened beverages.

Store the Salt Shaker:

I know you must have heard that it’s best to add salt to food while it’s still cooking and not after. Nevertheless, I’ll say something to that effect. Too much salt is bad for your health. If that salt shaker on the dining table is what leads you into temptation, please, relocate it. Discipline is all it takes to break bad habit; So, rein in that urge to add more salt to your food after cooking. Your health will be better for it.

Go Easy on Condiments:

Condiments alter the taste and flavour of food. But some of them contain a high amount of added salt, sugar and artificial addictive. This makes them unhealthy. Thus, if you want to reduce your salt and sugar intake, keep an eye on the condiments you use. Stock cube, for instance, contains sodium. If you use it, then salt should be used sparingly. This also applies to other condiments that you use. Know what they are made of and make necessary adjustment so that you don’t eat what will potentially cause health complications for you.

Eat Whole Grain Bread:

Bread is the convenient, darling breakfast of most families. But the amount of sugar and salt in most prepackaged bread is surprising. This is why you should go for whole grain breads especially those with fewer ingredients and at least three grams of fibre.

Choose Fruits Instead of  Juice:

It is said that a glass of juice is the caloric equivalent of three whole fruits. You should therefore reach for fruits when the craving for juice comes. But if you must drink juice, make it yourself and ensure that it is hundred percent fruit. Do not sweeten it.

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Be Patient with Yourself: 

Recipe adjustment should  be gradual. Don’t rush it. Go from drinking soft drink every day to drinking one in two days; from there, you can do one soft drink in three days, one in five days to once a week. This gradual process gives your taste bud time to adjust to the little tweaks in the recipe.

Finally, eating right is a choice.  You can make that choice today by working on gradually reducing your salt and sugar intake.


Nurture Life

Harvard Health Publishing

Featured image source: Everyday Health
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This article was first published on 5th August 2021 and updated on August 16th, 2021 at 8:09 am


Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address,

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