National Nutrition Month: How to Cut the Sugar, Sodium and Fat

National Nutrition Month
National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition MonthIn honor of National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is suggesting that Americans cut down on their overall intake of  sugar, sodium and fat.

According to the 2015- 2020 Dietary Guidelines, Americans should get less than 10% of their daily calories from added sugars.  This can be a feat in itself, considered added sugars can be hidden in plain sight. For example, when checking a nutrition label, in addition to looking for sugar, watch out for ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, agave, honey, dried cane syrup or sucrose.

When it comes to sodium, the Guidelines suggest that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium on a daily basis. Keep in mind that sodium is already found in many foods, so it’s best to purchase products without added salt, avoid jar sauce and eat fresh poultry rather than processed.  In place of salt, flavor foods with herbs and lemon juice.

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Finally, the Dietary Guidelines suggest that  Americans reduce their saturated fat intake to less than 10 % of calories per day.  And when possible, replace saturated fats (i.e. found in whole milk, butter, cheese, cream, meat, etc.)  with unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat (i.e. found in fish, seeds and nuts).

National Nutrition Month: Healthy (Yet Delicious) Nutrition Tips!

To celebrate National Nutrition Month (and your overall health), here are a few more tips to help you follow a  healthy eating pattern:  

  • Beverages: In place of sugary beverages, drink lots of water,100% fruit juice and low-fat milk.
  • Snacks: Munch on healthy snacks throughout the day in place of processed foods that are filled with added sugar. Opt for seeds, fruits, chickpeas and nuts instead of chips and chocolate bars.
  • Dessert:  If you have a sweet tooth, opt for healthy sweets that you don’t have to feel guilty about, such as bean brownies,  chocolate-covered strawberries or decadent dried plum hot cocoa.

Always try to cook meals from scratch so you can control the sugar, fat, and sodium levels in each dish.

Sources for Today’s Article:

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“Reducing Sugar, Sodium and Saturated Fats to ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’,” Montgomery College web site, March 7, 2016; http://insidemc.montgomerycollege.edu/details.php?id=70587.

“March Food Calendar,” University of Nebraska–Lincoln web site; http://food.unl.edu/march-food-calendar#national_nutrition_month, last accessed March 7, 2016.