Every year in March, the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics hosts National Nutrition Month, a month dedicated to helping people to eat nutritiously and stay healthy. This year, the theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”. The theme was developed from research that showed people more often choose food for flavor, rather than nutrition.
Salt and sugar are two of the most common flavor enhancers used in food, but they can quickly turn a healthy food into a less than healthy food. Added salt is found in most processed foods (like chips, bread, soup, crackers), lunch-meats, spaghetti sauce, and even vegetable juice. Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which can be damaging to the heart.
Added sugar is also found in many processed foods, (cereals, oatmeal), candy, cookies, cakes/pies, jams and jellies, and even dried fruit. A diet high in sugar can lead to diabetes and obesity. Food that does not have added salt or sugar does not have to be bland!
Ways to include more flavor in your food without added sugar or salt include:
As you begin to include less added salt and sugar and incorporate more natural flavor enhancers, you may find that the salty and sugar foods do not taste as good as they once did. They may taste too salty or sweet! If you are unsure if a good has added sugar or salt, be sure to check the nutrition facts and ingredients list.