It's an endless cycle: satiating your salt and sugar cravings can end up with you just wanting more. Once our taste buds get used to sugary or salty foods, it's hard to cut back. Since most of us are eating way more than the recommended daily values for sugar (six teaspoons of added sugar a day) and salt (1500 to 2300 mg a day) — not to mention the sugar and salt levels hiding in processed foods — cutting back on these addictive ingredients is important.
You can put me in the over-salter group. Whether it's a stir-fry or chips and salsa, I find myself craving salty foods all the time. Lately, however, I've been trying to cut back on my sodium intake, and I've been realizing just how hard it can be.
Are you also a big fan of salt or sugar? Read on for some tips that have helped me cut my cravings.
- Don't eat out as much. Cooking at home means you know exactly what's going into a meal, and that includes how many extra spoonfuls of sugar and salt. Restaurants, on the other hand, are notorious for loading up dishes with salt or sugar-laden sauces, so try to limit the amount of times you eat out if you're worried about your salt and sugar intake.
- Replace foods with less sugary or salty options. If you're weaning your salty or sugary diet down to acceptable levels, replacing your normal diet with a lower-sodium or less-sweet one can be a shock to your taste buds. Try switching out a daily dessert with a small piece of chocolate or fruit, or use spices instead of salt to flavor your foods.
- Dig deeper. Extreme cravings can mean a larger issue is at play, like a mineral imbalance or other condition, so if you feel like your cravings can't be explained by your diet, you may want to talk to your doctor. Keep track of whether you're getting the right nutrients as well; it may turn out that you are dehydrated or aren't eating as many nutrients as you need to.
Any more suggestions for weaning yourself off a diet overloaded with salt or sugar?