The winter season is a time of year when we sometimes struggle to fulfill personal goals – remember your New Year’s resolutions?

Even though those holidays where over-eating and indulging in calorie-rich food are over, it doesn’t mean that there is suddenly a shortage of everyone’s favorite snacks and sweets. Eating healthy day after day can be challenging—we’re all constrained by busy schedules, long work days, and activities—but this essential lifestyle habit can be easier when you substitute healthy choices in your favorite go-to snacks instead of trying to cut out snacking entirely.

Healthier substitutions aren’t an exact replica for favored ingredients like sugar and salt, but they can go a long way toward provided a better source of energy as well as cutting down on calories.

If you’re craving sugar, try substituting one or more of the following ingredients in place of your usual go-to, store-bought snacks or desserts:

  • Honey
  • Applesauce
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Cinnamon
  • Raisins
  • Maple syrup

These ingredients can be added to drinks and recipes for baked goods as a healthier alternative to cane sugar, which can offer an energy high that’s followed by a low. These energy drops leave many people unsatisfied and craving more sugar to get through the day. Healthier substitutes like those listed above give slow boosts of energy that last longer.

If you’re craving salt, try adding one or more of the following salt substitutes to your usual meal:

  • Low- or zero-sodium spice mixes
  • Dill
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Old Bay seasoning mix

Salt is best when used in moderation. We have a tendency to overuse salt in order to flavor our food, but we may not realize just how much we are adding to each meal. Diets low in sodium have been known to improve blood pressure, and to lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Reducing your consumption of sugar and salt is an excellent way of improving your diet. Doctors recommend that their patients aim for a well-balanced diet, and substituting healthier alternatives for sugar and salt in your snacks and meals is a strong first step. You may even discover your new favorite recipe in the process.