Sugar, Salt, and Saturated Fats – How to Cut the “S-word” From Your Diet

Sugar, Salt, and Saturated Fat (2)

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting the amount of added sugar, sodium, and saturated fats that you eat. The guidelines state that most Americans follow a diet that is too high in these three components. Here are some tips to cut out the “s-word” from your daily diet.

Sugar

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming less than ten percent of your daily caloric intake from added sugars.  Whenever possible choose foods and beverages that don’t have added sugar. Here are a few ways to help you with that:

  • Read food labels, and avoid buying and eating foods with added sugars like high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, evaporated cane juice, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, honey, agave, or maple syrup.
  • Drink water, low-fat or fat-free milk, or 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice instead of sweetened beverages. Jazz up your water by adding fruit or vegetable slices.
  • Choose snacks with no added sugar. Swap out your flavored yogurt for plain yogurt with fresh fruit.
  • Grill fruits like peaches or pineapple for a naturally sweet, healthier, and scrumptious dessert.
  • Eat smaller deserts. Our sweet tooth can often be satisfied with just a bite or two.

Salt

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends fewer than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (salt) per day. Most of the sodium we get comes from salts added to help preserve food. Here are some tips to help you cut back on salt:

  • Read the nutritional information on foods. Shop smart and buy products with less sodium.
  • Buy frozen or canned products without added salt.
  • Buy fresh poultry, seafood, pork, and other meat rather than the processed alternatives.
  • Cook meals from scratch to control the sodium content of your meals.
  • Flavor foods with citrus, herbs, and spices instead of salt.

Saturated Fats

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends reducing saturated fat intake to less than ten percent of your daily caloric intake. Get to know the different types of fats, and reduce your intake of saturated fats by replacing them with unsaturated fats.

  • Saturated fat is found in foods such as meats, whole milk, cream, butter, and cheese.
  • Unsaturated fat, which includes polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, is found in foods like oils, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
  • Drink fat-free or low-fat milk instead of two percent or whole milk.
  • Eat low-fat cheese instead of regular cheese.
  • Use oils instead of butter and eat lean cuts of meat instead of fatty cuts of meat.

All of these tips will help you clean up your diet so you can cut these “s-words” from your daily diet.

What We Eat: Flax Crackers

It has been said that flax seed is one of the world’s healthiest foods since it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, anti-oxidants, and fiber.  The only “problem” with this super food is that some find it challenging to add flax seed into their daily eating patterns.

These tasty crackers are a great way to add flax into your diet.  Dip these diet friendly crackers into hummus, load them up with salsa, or even dunk them in your favorite soup.

Flax CrackersFacebook Link Image_Flax_Crackers

Makes about six 150 calorie crackers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flaxseed meal
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°.
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Spoon onto a sheet pan that is covered with lightly greased parchment paper.
  4. Roll mixture out to 1/8 inch thick.
  5. Bake until the center is no longer soft, about 15-18 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely and then cut into pieces with a cookie cutter.

Flax Crackers

What We Eat: Fiery Beef Satay Skewers

Marinades are great as they add tons of flavor without a bunch of unwanted calories typically included with cream sauces, butter, or oil. Also, there are many different marinades out there to keep your dinners different through the weeks.

The below marinade we included in the recipe for fiery beef satay skewers is one we really enjoy. The sweet heat and fresh lime make this a perfect summer day meal, but good enough to enjoy any time of the year. I made the dish  with peppers and turnips. The green peppers really complemented the beef nicely. I’m still working out the kinks with the turnips! And please use any veggie you prefer, or have left over in the fridge.

Fiery Beef Satay Skewers

Serves 4

Ingredients
Facebook Link Image - Fiery Beef Satay Skewers-01.jpg

  • 1-1/2 lbs top sirloin steak
  • 5-6 green onions, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1/2 cup Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbs fresh lime juice
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs ground Cayenne

Instructions

  • In large bowl, combine mustard, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, garlic and cayenne.
  • Remove and reserve 1/2-cup of this marinade mixture for basting.
  • Trim fat from beef steak. Cut into 1-1/2” cubes.
  • Add beef to remaining marinade in bowl. Toss to coat.
  • Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Remove beef from marinade. Discard marinade.
  • Alternately thread an equal amount of beef and green onion onto each of four 12” metal or bamboo skewers.
  • Place skewers on grill over medium ash-covered coals.
  • Grill, uncovered, 10-12 minutes for medium-rare to medium, basting frequently with reserved 1/2-cup marinade and turning occasionally.
  • Let sit for 3-5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Calories: 264
% Calories from fat: 27
Fat (gm): 8
Saturated fat (gm): 3
Cholesterol (mg): 85
Sodium (mg): 1011
Protein (gm): 30
Carbohydrate (gm): 16