No one wants to deprive themselves from anything. So what are 9 easy food swaps that improve your health without feeling like you are missing out?
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With shopping aisles packed full of tempting and delicious foods, it’s so easy to pick up our usual items without thinking about healthier alternatives. However, with all that variety, you can still find easy food swaps that improve your health. What’s more, the swaps I’ve made in my own life below are so subtle, just like me – you’ll never feel like you’re depriving yourself from anything. Win-Win!
9 Easy Food Swaps to Improve Your Health
#1 Salad dressing for ACV
I’ve ditched store bought salad dressing full of sugar and salt and now flavour my salad with a sprinkle of ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar). If I’m feeling a little fancy, I will mix it with olive oil, honey and lemon juice. If you are going to swap to ACV, ensure you buy a brand that includes the ‘mother’. I recommend Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
Many benefits of ACV include:
- help improve digestion
- support your immune system
- helps lower blood sugar levels
- improve your skin and nail health
#2 Lettuce for Spinach
This simple swap of my greens has had a huge impact on my vitamin intake. Spinach has more fibre, protein, vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron and Calcium than lettuce. In general, the darker the leaf, the more nutrients it has. I incorporate spinach in just about every meal. It’s one of the easiest ways to get a hit of vitamins and minerals on your plate.
#3 Fruit Juice for Real Fruit
Not all fruit juices are created equal! Unfortunately, many of the fruit juices we buy contain as much sugar as some fizzy drinks. Since swapping my fruit juice intake with water, I now opt for real fruit to get my 5 a day. Not only is it a convenient snack to have handy for those sweet cravings, but being packed with many beneficial vitamins and minerals, it the perfect substitution. Also, throwing a few fruits (and veg) in the blender can create a delicious DIY fruit juice – and at least you know what’s in it.
#4 Crisps for Air Popped Popcorn
There’s no way I’m claiming I never touch a bag of crisps. But I very rarely have them readily available in my kitchen cupboard. The one thing I always have is popcorn. And no, not the type I have to make myself – ain’t nobody got time for that. My go to brand is Metcalfe’s Sweet ‘n Salt Popcorn .
It is air popped so there is no oil used in the process. It’s a great snack that gives me the crunch of a pack of crisp, but most importantly it’s low in fat and high in fibre.
#5 White Pasta for Wholemeal Pasta
If you love cabs as much as I do, you know how hard it is to limit your intake! So, as I don’t believe in depriving myself, swapping from white pasta to wholemeal was a no-brainer. The most surprising thing is – it taste no different. (My family did’t even notice!) This easy swap gives me more fibre, vitamin B and iron in each delicious portion, because the wholemeal has not been stripped of these nutrients during it’s processing.
#6 Table Salt for Himalayan Pink Salt
I’ve continued to move away from processed food since my 30 Day Vitality Challenge. A small swap I made was from table salt to Himalayan Pink Salt. Obviously consuming large amounts of salt is not good for any of us, but I still use it to flavour my cooking. Table salt is highly refined, removing most of it’s trace minerals. Swapping to pink salt made sense as it is slightly lower in sodium than regular table salt and still contains small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.
#7 Coffee for Green Tea
After reading several studies about how green tea can aid weight loss and still give me a caffeine fix, I swapped my creamy cappuccino for green tea quite early in my weight loss journey. Studies have shown that both coffee and green tea are beneficial to your health. But for me, green tea out ranked coffee by a few extra measures of goodness. I have one large glass of cold, steeped green tea each morning after my workout. Not only does it give me my caffeine stimulation but it also boosts the fat-burning effects of my exercise.
Claimed benefits of green tea:
- Loaded with antioxidants
- Can boost metabolic rate
- May reduce the risk of dementia
- Reduces blood sugar levels
- May lead to increased weight loss
#8 Fried for Baked
Who doesn’t love fried food! Eggs, chicken, chips, sausages, fish. You name it – food taste good when fried! Again, I’m never going to deprive myself of anything – but swapping baking for frying has limited my consumption of refined oil and fat. Not to mention, allowing me to eat the foods I love, without adding extra calories by the frying process. On the odd occasion when I do decide to have a fry up – my oils of choice are either coconut, avocado or olive oil.
#9 Milk Chocolate for Dark Chocolate
I love chocolate as much as I love carbs! If anyone told me I would swap milk chocolate for dark, I would have laughed. However, dark chocolate has come a long way from that bitter, sharp and frankly disgusting taste I remember from my first bite as a teenager. Unlike milk chocolate which has a lot of milk and sugar to sweeten things up, dark chocolate is packed with important minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron. With the creative variety and blends available to buy right now, you will be sure to find one that can replace your favourite milk version.
My indulgent choice at the moment is Lindt Excellence Dark Sea Salt. One bar can last me a whole week. It’s so rich that I only need a chuck a day to satisfy my sweet tooth craving. (Compared to eating a whole sharing bar of Dairy Milk in one sitting!)
Whether you want to change your diet for weight or lifestyle reasons, there are so many easy food swaps that improve your health, without making you feel like you’re missing out.
All changes take time to adapt into a lifestyle. Whatever food swaps you decide, make sure you do them one habit change at a time. This way, you create more of a chance to ensure the swap sticks for the long run.