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Limiting My Sodium and Sugar Consumption

My August Nutrition Goal: Reduce Sodium & Sugar intake!

Mindful Nutrition Choices Reducing Sodium and Sugar Consumption  On the blog

The typical American diet has become reliant on salt and sugar for flavor.

Why? Because both are cheap and don’t amount to significant calories.

But they have MAJOR health impacts on the body.

Sodium hides in many (or most) packaged items, and it’s important to be aware of how much we consume.

  • Food is measured under the big umbrella of calories.
    • Breaking that down, we have the main “macronutrients” carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.
      • Beyond that, we have vitamins and minerals. **I’m not saying let’s start tracking our manganese and gingko biloba consumption (who has time for that?!) but I definitely stay aware of how much sodium and sugar are in processed foods before buying them.

Reducing sodium and sugar with mindful nutrition choices (

Sodium doesn’t just come from the salt in the Morton’s container with the girl and yellow umbrella or in the shaker on the dining room table. The obvious offenders like ketchup and soy sauce are loaded with NaCl. But did you ever think about HOW much salt is on your popcorn, peanuts, and chips? Hint: TOO MUCH.

Mindful Eating: Nutrition on sodium and sugar (

If you don’t already, be sure to check nutrition labels for sodium and sugar content. Sodium will have a “percentage of daily value” whereas sugar will not.

The government regulations provide a daily recommended value of no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. I wish there was a recommended guideline for grams of sugar per day, but I suppose that would be hard to measure with fruits, veggies and other natural sources.

For this month, I will be monitoring my sodium and staying within the 2,300mg/day limit. For sugar, I am trying not to exceed 35 grams per day from packaged items.

I will never NEVER limit fruit intake for calorie/sugar purposes, and veggies are basically the best thing ever to put into your body. So no need to worry about those :) Natural sugar is A-OK and we are more concerned with processed chemicals like good ole’ High Fructose Corn Syrup, corn syrup solids, fructose, glucose, etc.

Reading packaging labels for salt and sugar nutrition (

Salt is virtually calorie-less. So no, flavoring your veggies and pasta with salt won’t add any huge calorie impact. However sodium content DOES play a huge role in our body functions and weight.

Internally: according to, consuming excess sodium increases blood pressure which puts you at risk for a whole slew of heart problems.

Externally: Salt makes you BLOAT. The NaCl wants to hold onto water. More salt = more water. Water weight is not “fat” and won’t appear as cellulite, but it does show up on the scale and when you try to button your jeans.

Sugar has ALL KINDS of nasty effects.

Sugar contributes to cavities, blood sugar spikes and drops, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.

Learning to reduce salt & sugar:

Spring roll veggies

First step: put the salt shaker down! We literally only have a pepper shaker in my family’s kitchen. Adding salt to foods really packs on the sodium micrograms and overpowers the flavors of fruits, veggies, proteins, and grains. When it comes to cutting table salt, I say go cold turkey. Let yourself taste all of the food’s natural flavors with herbs and spices. Then when salt is reintroduced to your recipes, you will be able to notice the difference. You might not even like the saltiness anymore.

As far as sugar is concerned, it starts in the grocery store. Reading nutrition labels before throwing products in the basket is the best thing you can do to keep from sabotaging your own healthy efforts. Finding low-sugar alternatives to items like salad dressing, pasta sauce, cereal, peanut butter and yogurt will all depend on the choices you make when shopping!

I also think it is better to just eliminate excess sugar completely instead of substituting with a sugar-free aspartame-based sweetener (though I will on occasion, like with skinny lattes). Also try trading sugar and sweeteners with stevia. It’s a plant extract, and has been minimally processed in the raw form. I use it baking! Experiment with recipes and find healthy alternatives that use applesauce, bananas, squash and cinnamon as sweeteners.

Kabob collage*The anti-salt: cucumbers and lemon. That would make a pretty infused water! I’ll be sipping on tea with lemon slices and munching on afternoon cucumber slices :)


What’s in your coffee cup?

I’ve fulfilled my intern duties with a coffee run. Iced Americanos for everyyyyyyybody!

Iced Americanos with nonfat milk // healthy coffee options (

Now that we have the office on an espresso high, let’s get to talking about WHAT WE’RE PUTTING IN OUR COFFEE CUPS.

I tend to assume everyone is as obsessed with coffee as me. Tea drinkers are in denial….I will convert you! ;) just kidding, steep on my herb-loving friends.

Today I’m looking at the fun, fancy and fattening ingredients that invade our coffee cups and sabotage our indulgence.

If coffee is a daily (or, you know, hourly) occurrence, then the sugary and fatty additions will add up quickly. ***If a caramel frappuccino is a twice-a-year treat, then girrrl you get that whip cream!***

Healthy coffee alternatives (

The cup of coffee itself, the heavenly-scented and dark-roasted liquid crack, begins with an innocent 5 calories plus metabolism-boosting properties. Drinking your coffee BLACK is probably the “healthiest” way to go. (I recommend sipping through a straw though to save your teeth!)

Let’s be honest though… coffee is no fun.

Not when there are 168534 possible combinations of flavors and styles for the caffeinated concoction.

My personal FAVE of the moment: Iced Americano with non-fat or almond milk plus a packet of stevia. Yummmm. This particular combo is fat-free/sugar-free. Primarily espresso, water and ice. The milk will add 10-50 calories depending on how dark you like it.

Creating a healthier coffee cup ( Toppers:

Whip Cream: topping off hot chocolate or fraps with whip cream adds 120 calories and 13 grams of fat.

**Alternative: ask for extra foam. Frothy and delicious :)

Caramel or Chocolate drizzle: sugar sugar sugar = empty calories. Just skip it.

Flavored Syrups: A grande latte is fun, but a vanilla latte is better…..flavored syrup adds 25 grams of sugar and 140 calories to a grande latte. That more than DOUBLES the sugar and calorie content of the drink.

**Alternative: ask for 2 pumps (a grande usually contains 4 pumps) of a sugar-free vanilla/hazelnut/cinnamon flavor.

….CUE the anti-artifical sweetener frenzy…..

I know, I KNOW. How can I condone “sugar-free” syrup with all of its chemicals and artifical sweeteners? Isn’t it basic Health 101 that “sugar-free” does not mean healthy?! Well, I abandoned 100% clean-eating last month so I am not a strict stickler for absolute commitment to unprocessed ingredients.

I look at it like this: for me personally, a coffee shop latte is a treat. Twice a month, maybe. So like most indulgences, the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is indulging in moderation and making healthy swaps when available. Two pumps of sugar-free syrup will not turn my healthy diet upside down, nor will it cause immediate digestive consequences.

However other alternatives include sweetening your brew with some stevia or a drizzle of honey.

Is soy milk a better choice than skim?

I had to do a little research on this. For lightening my at-home brew, I opt for almond milk because it is creamy and adds very few calories. It’s rarely an option at coffee shops though. Soy is typically available, so how healthy is the non-dairy alternative?

When it comes down to it, skim milk is lower in fat and higher in protein than soy milk. So unless you have an aversion to lactose, soy milk is not superior to skim milk.

Missy loves her coffee (

Okay your turn. How do you pump up your coffee?

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