Whether you’re trying to shed some extra kilos, up your intake of vitamins, or want to have more energy in the day, the key to an improved lifestyle lies in healthy eating.
You already know that fruit and vegetables are good for you, and that processed foods should be limited, but the truth is that many so-called health foods might not be as good for you as you think.
Instead, try changing your usual buys for a healthier version. This way, you can still get all of the taste, plus the health benefits.
Give your favourite dishes a makeover with our simple healthy eating food swaps. From soothing risottos to indulgent chocolate desserts, you can still enjoy your favourite meals, but without the guilt.
These 8 food swaps will leave you feeling satisfied and content in the knowledge that swapping just one ingredient boosts nutrients and reduces kilojoules and fat, for a slimmer, healthier you!
Each of our 8 simple swaps is so easy you’ll barely notice the difference.
Swap tinned soup for: Home-made soup
That can of creamed tomato could be your waistline’s worst enemy.
Jam-packed with salt, and often sugar too, canned soups’ wholesome reputation can be misleading. Get your comforting fix from a home-made recipe instead, and you’ll know exactly how much of the good stuff is going in.
Swap processed meats for: Home-made sausages
Tinned meat and shop-bought sausages are often referred to as ‘mystery meats’ – and for good reason. These are usually made from leftover bits of meat churned up with fat and salt.But don’t worry if you’re partial to a hot dog or bangers ‘n’ mash – making your own is easier than you think. Swapping for home-made sausages also means you can make them extra meaty, and extra healthy.
Swap packet porridge for: Oat Bran Porridge
This food swap can make a real difference to your waistline. Unlike processed cereals, oat bran is rich in soluble fibre which absorbs water and forms a gel that fills up the stomach. This gel traps everything around it (including kilojoules) to make digestion easier, while making you feel fuller for longer. Recent studies also suggest oat bran is key to stabilising your blood sugar levels and helping lower cholesterol, too.
There’s no need to limit oat bran to breakfast – use as a base for pizza or in bread and galettes. Just make sure you buy a quality bran that hasn’t been over-milled, otherwise many of the benefits will have been lost.
Swap microwaveable rice for: Pearl barley
For a comforting, filling risotto without the carb-heavy kilojoules, try pearl barley. These puffy whole grains will help you feel full for longer. Pearl barley is also rich in vitamins and minerals as well as soluble fibre, which helps reduce cholesterol.
Substitute barley for risotto rice, or try our soothing chicken and barley broth recipe – perfect comfort food!
Swap beef for: Venison
Just like beef, venison is high in iron – brilliant for women, who tend to be more at risk of anaemia. Venison, however, has almost no fat or cholesterol.
Grill a venison steak, try a piece of venison haunch for an alternative Sunday roast, or whip up venison casserole with this Boulangere potatoes recipe.
Swap salmon for: Sardines
Although salmon is packed with Omega-3 healthy fats, you can get even more out of your lunch by choosing whole smaller fish instead, such as sardines – they’ll be fresher and have even more nutrients.
Swap hot chocolate for: Dark chocolate
It’s good to treat yourself sometimes – and if you do it the right way you can even boost your health!
Choose chocolate that’s as close to its original state as possible – from vegan raw chocolate to very dark chocolate, which is low in fat. Look for high cocoa solids on the ingredients list and avoid cocoa fats.
Swap strawberries for: Blueberries
Although berries are all super-healthy, blueberries have more antioxidants than any other berries along with heart-boosting polyphenols.