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Top 10 healthy food swaps

Last Updated: 18 January 2019








Top 10 healthy food swaps

To cut down on sugar, salt and saturated fat, there are some simple changes you can make to your diet that will make a difference to your health and have a lasting effect.

10) Sugary cereal for porridge

Forget cereals. Even if they look healthy, they are almost guaranteed to contain hidden sugar and other nasties that your body doesn’t need or want.  In addition, a bowl of cereal in the morning won’t keep you satiated until lunch time, meaning you’re more likely to break out the elevenses. Instead, have a bowl of porridge. Oats lower cholesterol, blood pressure and keep you full until lunch time. A bowl of porridge is also a perfect opportunity to get some fruit into your diet. So add half a banana and a handful of blueberries to top it off.


9) Salt for herbs and spices

If you are in the habit of adding salt to every meal, don’t! Add flavour with herbs and spices instead to help lower your blood pressure. A sprinkle of parsley and coriander or a pinch of garlic can make the world of difference when it comes to taste, without hurting your health.


8) Fruit juice for whole fruit

Fruit juice contains too much sugar. It might take three oranges to fill one glass of orange juice, so you might as well just eat an orange instead and save yourself the unnecessary sugar. Eating a whole piece of fruit also means the sugar is digested slower, as your body breaks down the solid food. Drinking a glass of juice means the sugar will hit you faster and cause your blood sugar to spike. Too many sugar spikes can lead to type 2 diabetes.


7) Crisps for nuts

Crisps contain a lot of salt and saturated fat. Nuts contain saturated fat too, but the difference is that crisps are empty calories, offering no nutritional value, whereas nuts contain ‘good fats’ and protein. So instead of a bag of crisps, have a handful of nuts instead and enjoy the same crunchy sensations. Try to avoid salted peanuts but go for pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and unsalted cashews.


6) Fizzy drinks for water

Some fizzy drinks or sodas contain 50% of your recommended daily sugar allowance. Almost all contain at least 30g of sugar per serving and enough caffeine to not only keep you awake at night, but to dehydrate you as well. Go for a sugar-free/caffeine-free option instead or better yet, just drink water and hydrate yourself.


5) White potatoes for Sweet potatoes

Swap everything white – white potatoes, white rice, white pasta, white bread, for wholemeal alternatives. These white foods are stripped of nutrients, and contain refined sugars which can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and energy levels. Sweet potatoes are a delicious alternative to white potatoes and are packed full of vitamins. They also require less oven time.


4) Tortilla wraps for lettuce wraps

Instead of using a flour tortilla, grab big pieces of lettuce and use it to keep your sandwich filling together. It’s simple, has a lot less calories and cheaper too.


3) Beer for red wine

All alcohol is essentially just empty calories, giving no nutritional value whatsoever, but red wine contains antioxidants and studies have shown that it helps to protect your heart against disease. It’s better to avoid alcohol altogether, but if you do drink it, choose a glass of red instead.


2) Minced beef for quorn mince

While red meat has some benefits (iron and protein for example), it’s also high in saturated fat and other animal fats that aren’t very good for our health. Quorn on the other hand is very low in saturated fat, but full of protein. It can be used as a substitute for red meat practically anywhere from chilli to Bolognese. It doesn’t cost as much and tastes good too.


1) Rice for quinoa

Instead of white rice or cous cous, try quinoa. It is a complete protein containing all the amino acids. It’s packed with fibre and other goodness, it’s easy to digest, gluten-free, easy to cook and is a good, healthy addition to any meal. It’s firmly at the top of the ‘super-food’ list.



Written by Ruth Tongue
(MSc Nutrition)


Weight loss
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