You've heard the benefits of limiting sodium, fat and sugar in your diet, which can prevent high blood pressure, help you control your weight and stabilize your blood sugar levels so you feel more energetic. Plenty of delicious and convenient food options are available to help you dedicate yourself to a healthier diet. Whole grains, lean proteins and vegetables are versatile enough so you can follow a low-sodium, low-fat and low-sugar diet without ever getting bored.
Grains are high in carbohydrates and naturally low in sodium, fat and sugar. Whole grains, such as whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal and barley, are sources of dietary fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels. Oats have 8 grams of fiber per half-cup, while whole-grain pasta, brown rice and barley provide 1.8 to 3 grams of fiber per half-cup, according to the Linus Pauling Institute; they also contain iron and some B vitamins. Oatmeal with cinnamon is a yummy, high-fiber breakfast component. Additional delicious ways to use whole grains are to make split pea or bean soup with barley; whole-wheat pasta tossed with tomatoes, basil and chicken or shrimp; and steamed brown rice with mushrooms as a side for fish.
Eggs and most kinds of meat, poultry, fish and shellfish are free from carbohydrates and sugar. Egg whites, lean cuts of meat, skinless poultry, some kinds of fish and shellfish are also low in fat. You can enjoy egg whites in omelets with herbs, spices and vegetables, such as cilantro and tomatoes or oregano and spinach. Hard-boiled eggs are tasty snacks you can make ahead of time. Grilled chicken breast and shrimp add flavor and substance to salads. Low-sodium marinades can enhance the flavor of meats, poultry and fish before you grill or roast them.
Lettuce, spinach and other greens, zucchini, eggplants, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bell peppers, broccoli and potatoes are just a few of the many fresh vegetables that are low in sodium, fat and sugar. Greens with low-sodium, fat-free dressings can be foundations for filling, delicious salads. Raw vegetables, such as grape tomatoes and celery and cucumber sticks, are refreshing snacks that go well with low-fat dips or fat-free yogurt with dill. You can add cooked vegetables to almost any dish, such as chili with tomatoes and onions, spaghetti sauce with broccoli or curry with cauliflower and eggplant and cauliflower. Various choices from the vegetable group provide dietary fiber, potassium and vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A and folate, according to University of Michigan Health System.
The way you prepare your delicious foods can help keep them low in sodium, fat and sugar. Hard-boiled egg whites, egg white omelets with vegetables, whole-grain pasta tossed with broccoli and shrimp and stuffed red peppers with brown rice and chicken breast are ideas for keeping your meals interesting and healthy. Avoid adding salty seasonings or table salt to prevent the sodium content from increasing. Using cooking spray instead of oil or butter for frying can help keep the fat content low.
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.