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Smart Swaps To Improve Your Diet

Smart Swaps To Improve Your Diet

We all know the old adage “you are what you eat” but sometimes a hectic lifestyle means you grab whatever food comes to hand without thinking about its nutritional content. Eating well is as important as exercising regularly to stay healthy, so here are ten easy food swaps you might like to try to change fatty, high calorie and sugary foods for something that’s a bit better for your body but equally delicious.
  • When your energy’s flagging and you feel like something sweet, don’t reach for a chocolate bar. Instead choose a banana. They’re high in fibre, so they help with your digestion; they contain three natural sugars – fructose, sucrose and glucose – and give you a fat and cholesterol free source of fuel; they’re rich in potassium for heart health; they’re packed with antioxidants and minerals to keep your eyes healthy; finally, at only about 100 calories, they contain resistant starch, which makes you feel fuller for longer.

  • Try mashed avocado mixed with lemon juice and spread it on toast or in a sandwich, instead of butter. At only 80 calories, an avocado is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and it contains even more potassium than a banana. This delicious, creamy fruit can lower your cholesterol and contains a good helping of vitamins and minerals, whilst being low in carbs and high in fibre.
  • Instead of a sweet biscuit, top an oatcake with “no added sugar” nut butter. With more protein and fibre, this will stave hunger pangs for longer.

  • Swap a sugar-laden dessert or low-fat yoghurt for a portion of plain or Greek yoghurt with some fresh berries and a teaspoon of honey or a sprinkling of nuts and seeds. Yoghurt is a good source of protein, iodine, calcium and vitamin B12, which, among other things, helps your red blood cells carry oxygen around the body.

  • Instead of a bowl of cornflakes, make your own porridge. As well as being extremely cheap, oats are full of healthy soluble fibre and have a natural sweetness, so you really don’t need to add sugar - try a little dried or fresh fruit instead.

  • Swap your jacket potato for a baked sweet potato, which counts as one of your 5 a day, has lower fat and calories than regular starchy potatoes and is a good source of vitamins and the antioxidant, beta-carotene.
  • Swap white rice and pasta for the brown or wholemeal versions, which contain more fibre and are better for your heart and digestive system. Or try serving “cauliflower rice” with your pasta sauce or in stir-fries. You can either grate it or blitz it in a food processor and then sauté it gently for a few minutes in a little olive oil in a pan covered with a lid to keep the steam in.
  • Swap that glass of orange juice for a piece of fresh fruit, which is higher in fibre. It’s all too easy to consume too much natural sugar when you glug down a big glass of fruit juice too. Keep hydrated with plain water.

  • Swap white bread for wholemeal, seeded, rye or granary bread, especially if it’s made with sourdough. It takes longer to digest, helps regulate your blood sugars and is more nutritious and satisfying than sliced white. As a fermented food, sourdough bread is believed to promote beneficial bacteria in your gut and aid digestion.
  • Rather than frying them in fat, dry fry your eggs in a good non-stick pan or serve them poached or boiled. With some lean gilled bacon and tomatoes, even the great British breakfast can be a bit healthier!

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