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Ask The Readers {Low Sugar and Low Salt Suggestions}

I am often asked for ideas and recipes for either a low salt or a low/no sugar diet. These are both issues that my family has not had to deal with.

And because we have not dealt with them, I usually struggle to give a good answer to those asking for help and ideas.

So, today I thought I would ask you, my readers, for help on this one.

What are your tips, ideas, recipes, websites, etc. for a low salt and/or a low/no sugar diet?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. i think its easier to cook without salt than no sugar or sugar substitute. I rarely add salt to anything i make from scratch. I just use seasonings to bring out the flavor. I don’t add salt to any baking i do either.

  2. I have found that increasing the amount of herbs, especially garlic, allows you to reduce the salt in a recipe. Mrs. Dash has a great line of herb mixes too, but I am certain most people could mix up ones that work for their individual families. Also, always add salt at the end of a recipe (unless it is necessary for the recipe, such as in baking). Salt flavor diminishes with heat, but the sodium remains so you often end up using more than you would have if you ad it at the end.

  3. I have a number of different sugar sub that I use in baking and other cooking… the one that I love the best is Steel’s and a great salt sub is called No Salt.

    Here is a link to buy it online… however if you live in PA… Giant carries this item… there are a ton of places to buy this online… there is a normal sugar, brown sugar and powder sugar by them… it measures cup for cup like sugar… I have also given this to people and they never knew it was sugar free…

    Don’t use Splenda to bake… it dries out and well becomes very apparent that it is a sugar sub… it is fine for Kool Aid and such but that is about it… well and other drinks…

    I love Stevia… but you have to completely rework the recipe when baking… completely!

    • oh please be careful with the moltitol…it has some very bad side effects the least of which is tummy trouble. It also elevates blood glucose levels just like sugar. If choosing to use a sugar alcohol please try xlitol, it’s a much better trade off and doesn’t have the same side effects, plus it’s actually good for your teeth.

      • I know the side effects to all of the sweeteners… you have to when you have grastric bypass (I’m 4 years out) but if you eat just a single serving you don’t have the issue. I have about 12 different kinds of sugar free sweeteners, and I have had the best results with Moltitol.

        When people tell me they have had the runs etc from having to much of any sugar free sweetener I always ask them how many servings have you had… every one of them had more than a serving. It is a great way to learn portion control 🙂 that also works on those fat free items that if you eat too much will give you the runs… only eat the serving!!

        Again if you only have a serving of the sweet and have had a balance meal before hand it won’t elevate your blood glucose levels- I had GD when I was pregnant with my first child and had WLS after her… so I know all about that too… Another reason I don’t like to use the xlitol (I don’t mind it) is that many people around me are allergic to it oddly enough… but then again I can’t give one person in that group anything that is raw from the onion family… it all has to be cooked… you know that fume that causes you to cry when you cut open an onion… they are allergic to that chemical…

        • I’ve had experience with many different sweeteners. For me and my family moltitol was the worst of them. I have diabetes and even a little raises my levels as much as sugar. Erythitol is the best of the lot but xylitol is more readily available in many areas which is why I suggested it.
          I’m glad you’ve had good luck with the sugar alcohols, many do not. I try to avoid them for the most part. Splenda is my sweetener of choice. But white sugar is not the only issue for those of us with diabetes, flour is just as bad so I don’t do a great deal of baking, and Splenda works for most things I need.
          Good luck, have a wonderful week and thank you for your reply

  4. i rarely add salt to anything i’m baking or cooking. yeast breads are the exception- but cookies, quick bread, bars, even cakes usually do completely fine without salt. as for cooking, i’m pretty liberal with freshly ground black pepper so i feel things are flavorful enough without salt. the only canned vegetable i buy is tomatoes and i try to always buy the low sodium version. same with broth/stock. one way to be more cost-effective with this is to purchase the powdered stuff that you reconstitute. i found a natural brand that is low sodium and tastes great.

    as for low sugar… sometimes i reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe. when cooking (i.e. making pasta sauce from scratch) this is especially true, as the added sugar isn’t necessary often. i don’t do this often while baking because i think in some cases it can impact the texture of the finished product… but you can certainly reduce the amount of sugar- or even reduce quantity of the sugary add-ins (chocolate chips).

  5. btw- everything I bake is sugar free since I had WLS… been cooking that for 4 years… so if a reader ever has questions they can contact me if you would want to pass on my email address to them. I’m trying to get back into blogging (took a year off because I was working full time outside the home)… but I have a sugar free recipe for everything… I also have lots of high protein low carb recipes as well 🙂

    • Would love to know your tips/ recipes.

    • I would like to talk to you Shannon O. I recently found out that the reson why I was always tired was cause I was consuming white sugars. I’m ok when I eat complex sugars like fruits, honey, little refind sugar cane sugar. I’m looking for a ressource to help me. I love baking and it has been arch on me. Can you point me to some ressources where I could find recipes and ways to transform my favorite recipes(my red velvet cake for example).

    • I would love to see your recipes!! Do you still currently have a blog?

      • Hey Jessica… as soon as I recreated it I will post it. I had a blog that had everything on it… family stuff, recipes, work vents (hehehe) and I want to make the recipes seperate so I can just make one personal… one recipes and password protect the personal stuff…

        • Oh, please post your website! I am trying to learn how to cook for my husband who was recently diagnosed with diabetes and can’t find any good sites.

  6. Spices, spices, spices…I am not fond of salt so don’t use it often at all using spices makes food flavor full. Also just a tip I often take my dried spices like parsley, dill, chopped onion, and garlic and rehydrate it with a little bit of water which seems to bring out there flavor. Also when I do use salt I use sea salt it doesn’t take near as much. I am diabetic so eat low sugar one thing I do to curve those sugar cravings is take fresh fruit slice it like bananas, lay on a plate/tray freeze then have a “popslicle” (sp). I will also take the frozen fruit put in a blender with milk and a little vanilla and have myself a milkshake.

  7. We like cake. I stay away from boxed cake mixes because of the excessive sugar in them. Same for frostings. I make them from scratch and put far less sugar in the recipes.
    I don’t usually add salt to recipes. I let everyone add salt if they want it when they eat it. I’ve discovered a grater bottle of sea salt that you can grate salt and add to personal servings.
    I am allergic to pepper so I don’t buy spices because they are usually loaded with salt and pepper. We use our own special spices.
    We grow our spices year round.
    We have many food allergies so we don’t eat out much. Most restaurants have their own frozen foods that they heat up so can’t request special ordering without salt, pepper, no seasonings, etc.
    Most low or no salt, low fat recipes advocate using lemon and lemon juice. We have a serious allergy to lemon juice and vinegar.
    Must use tomatoes cautiously too because of the acid.
    As you can see, food preparation is very challenging for us.
    I look forward to reading your recipes every day. I just alter them as I can.

  8. Jeri Hastings says

    There are a lot of no salt seasonings on the market these days. One of my favorites is called Benoit’s Best, out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I order several cans at a time. You have to read labels too. Lots and lots of labels, and I’ve started growing my own herbs and it’s amazing the depth it gives to any recipe.

  9. We use a natural salt product called Celtic Sea Salt that does not seem to have the ill effects of processed white salt. We use Sucanat in place of white or brown sugar when baking, and even my highly-sensitive husband can enjoy a reasonable serving on occasion. The easiest way to reduce your salt and sugar is to eliminate processed foods, season fresh food with herbs, and get past the concept that sweets are an everyday food choice. We eat protein for breakfast rather than carbs which has greatly reduced our sugar cravings. We have dessert only at our Sabbath meal, birthdays, and some (not all) holidays, and they become treats – something to look forward to – rather than daily *necessities*.

  10. Being diabetic, I deal with both these issues. Here are some tips I have found helpful:

    For no SALT:
    1. drain and then rinse all canned vegetables. Even if you buy the lower salt versions, there is still more in there than you need.
    2. Use lots of herbs instead of salt. I know someone else said this, but it gives your food SO much more flavor and is much healthier for you.
    3. Buy unsalted butter
    4. Try making your own version of boxed/packed foods. Pretty much everything that is packaged adds a ton of unnecessary salt (and sugar) to make it taste better.

    For no/less SUGAR
    1. If you have a recipe or even coffee that you put sugar in, start by reducing the amount of sugar you put in something. You will be surprised at how you don’t even need the extra sweetness
    2. If you bake, try adding applesauce to muffin or cake recipes. You can replace and reduce the amount of sugar as well as oil!
    3. If you make your own tomato sauce, add in some very finely diced carrots instead of sugar to help balance out the acidity-you really don’t even notice that there is an extra veggie or no sugar in it!
    4. Try replacing a dessert with a fruit. I know there is still sugar in fruit, but it is natural sugar which your body can use better.

  11. I dont use alot of salt, but when I do its either Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt. We are also low sugar, so I either use applesauce and just increase my dry ingredients a bit, use half the amount the recipe calls for or use Erythrol which is a natural sugar sub that doesnt have the laxative effect that some of the other sugar subs like xylitol have. I also occasionally use liquid stevia (we cant use the powdered stuff), but Im still figuring out how to adust my recipes.

  12. Your body needs the minerals in REAL salt, so make sure it is a grey or pink in color. Stay away from processed foods. We love stevia! The liquid comes in so many flavors. You do have to do some experimenting because some recipes do need the bulk of the sugar, but I have found that a dropperful will replace about 3/4 cup of sugar. Coconut palm sugar is unrefined and low on the glycemic index, and 3/4 cup will replace 1 cup of refined sugar. So let’s say for example that a cookie recipe calls for 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar…I would replace with a dropperful of stevia, (depending on what I’m making, chocolate, vanilla creme, or cinnamon usually work), and 3/4 cup of palm sugar. You can always taste the batter for sweetness! lol. Always add stevia in small increments as it can taste bitter if you add too much. If the recipe calls for a small amount of sugar, 3/4 cup or less, I usually replace it all with stevia. Just keep in mind that if you’ve never used stevia it will take a couple of weeks for your taste buds to adjust. You can even add it to seltzer water if you are craving soda pop (root beer and orange flavors are yummy this way).

  13. My husband has Type 1 diabetes and I am at risk for Type 2 and need to control (OK, lose) weight. I limit artificial sugar use to beverages for the most part. I don’t like the lack of research on the long-term effects of sucralose or aspartame, so they are not a regular part of our diet except as occasional soft-drink purchases. The sugar alcohols (xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol) have varying side-effects depending on the individual, but I keep xylitol in the pantry because it also known properties to improve dental health (I make a homemade toothpowder sweetened with it) and to sweeten some flavored coffees or sprinkle on berries.
    For the most part, to bake and cook low-sugar, I just use less. In baking I start off reducing the amount of sugar called for by 1/4 and see how it works in terms of taste and texture. Sometimes I have been able to use as much as half the amount called for (generally I am also reducing the fat in the recipe too and I am too frugal to do only one change in the recipe at a time, unlike a good chemist should and the interplay of fat and sugar may be part of the reason for some of my successes with that much of a sugar reduction other than those muffins were super-sweet to start with.)
    Other thoughts that are not exactly about cooking low-sugar, but about controlling appetite and blood-sugar.
    First: Corn syrup and fructose (juice concentrates too) — I am not going to go into the debate about the evils of corn syrup, but just share what my husband has observed over his lifetime of Juvenile Diabetes. Corn syrup and fructose sweetened things cause his blood sugar to rise more rapidly and stay high more than regular table sugar. More processed foods (like tomato sauce many commenters mention) are sweetened with corn syrup and fructose. By simply making things at home from scratch, using smaller amounts of sugar, you should be able to get a better handle on controlling swings in blood sugar (and therefore appetite). My husband notices a difference when I use jarred tomato sauce with the corn syrup versus homemade; not only in his numbers, but how he feels after a meal.
    Second: Investigate the glycemic index that rates how quickly your body turns a food into glucose. Choosing foods with low index numbers (whole foods, less processed, higher in fiber) digest slowly, converting to sugar and can also help you feel fuller longer and help control blood sugar issues.
    Three: Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates and sugar. They are the fuel that give our bodies energy to move, to repair our cells,to think and form thoughts, to live. We just need to have a balanced approach to consuming it. So I guess my point is rather than eating two or three crappy sugar-free cookies every day, just have an apple and savor a real butter cookie or tiny slice of cheesecake only once in while.

  14. To those commenters who write of baking with stevia liquids and powders:

    There are many different brands and each one dilutes the extract to a different degree and the liquids versus powders seem to act differently. So I ask those referring to stevia to please refer to specific product names.

  15. Karin Goodman says

    I have not used it very much, but agave is a liquid sweetener that has a low glycymic index. It lookes like honey, but is thinner. I have a few recipes that use it and do not notice an after taste that many sugar substitutes have. One cookbook is Gluten Free Cupcakes.

  16. I have been on a Candida diet (almost NO sugar of any kind) for about 6 weeks. It was the hardest thing to start, but since I started, and have reintroduced lower sugar/carb foods, I’m amazed at how much I can enjoy food without so much sugar. Fruit and even some veggies and grains can be high in sugar/carbs. Whether you have symptoms that may lead you to consider a Candida diet or just want some sugar free recipes, google “Candida diet” or “Candida diet recipes” for lots of good options.

  17. My best friend from college told me that if I reduce the amount of salt a little bit over time, my taste buds will slowly adjust. I tried it and she was right. I’ve never tried this with sugar, but it might work the same way.

  18. I participated in the Cooking Light 12 Healthy Habits October feature, East Less Salt: (That’s me in the Reader Profile in the orange shirt.) The site has lots of tips and recipes for reducing sodium in your diet. The best advice I can give is to read labels because many products contain more than an entire day’s allotment of sodium. Also, homemade is almost always lower in sodium than store-bought.

  19. Kimberly Zoutendijk says

    I have been subsituting Sugar with Splenda in my fruit leather OMGosh amazing. You add in slowly so you get the sweet flavor of the fruit, too much and all you get is sweet. Whenever we have fruit at the local fruit stand or market on sale I blend it up in the blender and dry it for the recommended time, Kids new favorite treat.

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