6 healthy food swaps you won’t notice
Hands up if you think healthy eating is no fun? Research shows that the average diet lasts just three weeks, with many of us unable to give up our favourite treats. However, it’s possible to cut out some of the bad stuff without compromising on taste. Try these healthy food swaps that still taste great …
Swap crisps for popcorn
Crisps may taste great and be an easy snack to eat on the go, but they are also generally high in saturated fat, calories and salt and have next-to-no nutritional value. If you’re craving a tasty snack between meals, try swapping your crisps for a packet of lightly seasoned popcorn, which is low in fat and calories, packed with fibre and will keep you feeling full for longer. Research has also found that popcorn contains almost double the amount of antioxidant polyphenols (which can help protect against chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease) per serving as fruits and vegetables.
Swap sugar for maple syrup
While all sugars should be consumed in moderation, pure maple syrup is a healthier option than refined sugars if you are craving something sweet. Refined sugars are stripped of nutrients, whereas maple syrup is a source of antioxidants and minerals, including manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and zinc. Maple syrup also has a lower GI rating, meaning it won’t raise blood sugar levels as much as sugar. Maple syrup can be added to recipes or drizzled over porridge, natural yoghurt or buckwheat pancakes for a healthy sweet treat.
Swap couscous or pasta for quinoa
Refined grains such as couscous and white pasta are basically empty calories, meaning they contain little-to-no nutritional value. In contrast, super-healthy quinoa – which can be easily prepared in the same amount of time and served in place of most grains – is unprocessed, gluten-free and packed with fibre and nutrients, including iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Quinoa is also one of the best plant sources of protein, which will help to build muscle, slow down the release of energy and keep you feeling full for longer.
Swap potatoes for sweet potatoes
While potatoes are fairly high on the glycemic index, so can lead to energy slumps and cravings, sweet potatoes have a much lower GI rating and are rich in fibre. The vibrantly coloured vegetable is also extremely high in beta-carote (vitamin A), which is good for skin and eye health and the immune system. Sweet potatoes can be baked, mashed or made into wedges, and can even be used in dessert recipes to add sweetness.
Swap ice cream for a frozen dessert
Cool down while staying healthy and trim this summer by swapping ice cream – which is high in sugar, fat and calories – for a healthier frozen dessert, which is less refined, lower in saturated fat and sugars, and easier to digest. Try a natural frozen yoghurt, such as Lick Fat-Free Straight Up Creamy Frozen Yoghurt (lickyogurt.com), a sorbet with a high fruit content, or a healthy luxury ice cream by Oppo (oppoicecream.co.uk), which is all natural, low in calories, free from refined sugar, and contains superfoods such as baobab and spirulina. Alternatively, simply freeze a banana then blend for an easy dairy-free ‘ice cream’ – add cocoa powder or peanut butter to vary the flavour.
Swap fizzy drinks for infused water
While many of us pay attention to what we eat, it is easy to ignore liquid calories that pile on the pounds. Do your health and waistline a flavour by swapping sugary fizzy drinks for infused still or sparkling water. You can infuse water with a variety of herbs, spices, fruits or vegetables according to your tastes – simply wash and chop up your ingredients then add to a bottle of water for a few hours to allow the flavours to infuse.