I’ve met and spoken with quite a few people in recent weeks and although each and every person has different issues when it comes to food, be it their relationship with it, or their actual food intake being devoid of nutrients, some more extreme than others, the one thing in consistent across the board bar one case was a keen interest to make some healthy changes…
And the key dominator…that they’re simple! Not everyone is madly in love with food and loves cooking and experimenting to the same extent as I do! When you’re so passionate and enthusiastic about something it’s hard to comprehend others not feeling the same!
It’s clear that not everyone wants a complete over haul of their diet. Not everyone has the resources, the time or the interest. I personally feel that with simple healthy swaps you can dramatically improve someone’s diet without too much hassle and then once you feel the benefits you’re sure to want to invest a bit more time and energy in making it even better
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It’s easy to make less than ideal food choices when you’re constantly being bombarded with disruptive conflicting messages from food producers. High in fibre, low fat, fat free, added this and that… Here are my top tips for making healthy swaps and food choices which will hopefully make you’re life a little easier!
Healthy Swaps for Common Foods
- Instead of low fat or fat free yoghurt choose full fat plain yoghurt with no added sugar or fruit! Mix in fresh fruit, seeds and nut butter for a much more satisfying snack!
- Swap breakfast cereal, even the kinds that are labelled high fibre for either Weetabix, Shredded Wheat or Oats! You’ll feel fuller for longer and reduce the impact of your morning meal on your blood sugar.
- Sprinkle dried fruit, prunes, apricots or goji berries on your oats to replace your sprinkling of sugar; a sweet with added wholefood benefits.
- Purchase fresh soups instead of canned or packet. Opt for tomato based soups if your seeking to reduce your calorie intake.
- Drop the crisps and pick up some popcorn – air popped! Sprinkle on some cinnamon for a hit of sweetness.
- Choose wholegrain – rice, pasta crackers and bread. When it comes to bread check the fibre and sugar content and seek out a denser loaf for a lower GI option – lessening the impact on your blood sugar and leaving you fuller for longer.
- Try quinoa instead of couscous! You’ll get 8 grams of protein per cup cooked and it cooks up in just in 15 minutes!
- Think Popeye when it comes to greens! Opt for spinach instead of iceberg for a tastier more nutrient rich salad!
- Choose fresh juice over concentrate; most of the health benefits of the juice are boiled away during processing so fresh is always best.
- Pick up a bag of sweet potatoes in favour of the white variety. They’re lower GI and a more plentiful supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
- Ditch the soda in favour of sparkling water with a splash of fresh juice or frozen fruit; frozen berries or slices of slices of lemon and lime double up as chillers!
- Spread the nut butter love; replace your spread of butter or jam with nut butter for a lower GI, hunger satiating breakfast, snack or sandwich option. Nut butters are wholefoods and as opposed to merely being a source of fat they offer a vitamin and mineral nutrient boost!
- Roast or fry with coconut oil; it’s much more stable than other oils being saturated. It’s also more readily broken down for use as energy by the body being medium chain, potentially help to boost your metabolism!
- Smash an avocado and spread it on your bread as a much healthier alternative to mayonnaise. If you’re not an avocado fan try spreading on the mustard for a lower calorie option.
- You don’t have to ditch the salt just swap it for sea salt; or if you want something even better try Herbamere. Sea Salt is far less processed and is a rich supply of minerals as opposed to refined table salt.
- If you love your ice cream try opting for sorbet or freeze chopped bananas and process until creamy for instant soft serve.
- Step away from the sweets and pick up some unsulphured dried apricots (the brown ones!) or prunes to nibble on. Keep an eye on the portion size if you’re trying to reduce calorie intake.
- Go dark if you need a chocolate fix, ideally 70% cocoa solids and upwards. It’s richer in flavour so you’re likely to eat less and it’s got a whole lot more antioxidant potential.
The main things to remember when filling your trolley or fixing yourself a plate of food…
- Eat a rainbow of colours (natural ones!) every day to ensure your getting a variety of nutrients.
- The less ingredients on the label the better; and you should be able to understand what they all are!
- Fresh is usually best; the less packet foods the better! The exceptions being nut butter, frozen peas and items like yoghurt which might get a little messy otherwise! Frozen berries are a good option if you can’t afford to purchase fresh all the time.
- Low fat or fat free usually means chemically laden, potentially nutrient devoid and is likely to just leave you craving more….namely sugar!
- Don’t believe the hype …if a food that isn’t meant to be healthy is making a load of health claims it’s probably too good to be true.
- Try to become more aware of what and when you’re eating. Keeping a food journal is a great way to snap you right back to reality and encourage you to develop more mindful eating patterns.
Hope you found something new and helpful amongst the tips!