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10 ways to cut out salt and sugar

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Learn how to decrease salt and sugar in your diet without sacrificing taste.

It's no secret that too much salt and sugar in your diet can do damage to your health. Reducing your salt and sugar intake can be a difficult task but it is possible to cut back without feeling that you're missing out. 

Here are 10 simple ways to keep salt and sugar out, while keeping big flavor in.

1. Wash away salt

Rinsing canned vegetables under cool running water reduces their sodium content by about 40 percent, according to The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. The same holds true for other canned foods, including beans, tuna and chicken.

2. Add seasoning while you cook

Roast veggies by tossing them with a few teaspoons of olive oil, some lemon juice, a small pinch of salt and a few dashes of pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400°F, or until lightly browned, stirring every 5 minutes.

3. Try a fresh twist on eggs

If you sprinkle a little dried thyme into your scrambled eggs, you won't be tempted to pass the salt shaker over them.

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4. Cut back on taco seasoning

Use only half the packet that comes with a kit. Then punch up the dish with chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder or your favorite spice mix.

5. Mix and match for the perfect sauce

Along with your regular spaghetti sauce, buy a low-salt variety. Mix them together, then gradually phase out the saltier one.

6. Sweeten up breakfast

Add cinnamon and dried berries or apricots to your breakfast cereal.

7. A fruity alternative to syrup

Instead of using syrup on pancakes and waffles, make a raspberry sauce by mixing 1 cup berries with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and cooking until thickened.

8. Add a hint of flavor to rice

To add a new dimension to this plain starch, throw a cinnamon stick or a pinch of cardamom or ginger into the pot before the water begins to boil.

9. Substitute fruit in recipes

If a dessert recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, swap in ½ cup fruit puree (make your own using apples, prunes or pears, or use jarred baby food).

10. Give veggies a new twist

Add a touch of sweetness to cooked veggies. Carrots pair well with ginger; mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon; spinach with a touch of nutmeg.

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