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Food swaps to save your health by Gary Baverstock, Nutritional Therapist.

Rather than making impossible diet pledges there are much more simple, manageable and sustainable ways to bring about better health without compromising too much. Enter food swaps! Read our 10 cool food swaps, which could save your health.

White Wholemeal

What?

When choosing starchy carbs such as bread, pasta and rice, go for wholegrain to help you feel fuller for longer and keep blood sugar levels stable. If doing a straight swap is too much in one go, start with a handful of wholegrain varieties and then gradually increase
the quantity.

Why?

Brown rice contains more than 3 times the amount of fibre than white rice, all the essential energy producing nutrients such as magnesium and B vitamins.

Potatoes  Root Vegetables

What?

Mashed potato is the ultimate comfort food, but potatoes don’t count towards your 7 a day, whereas root vegetables do. Celeriac mash makes a velvety topping for fish pie, and beef and ale stew is great with parsnip and sweet potato mash.

Why?

Different coloured root vegetables provide different nutrients and also add to your 7 a day.

Crackers Popcorn

What?

Popcorn is a whole grain, while crackers – even made from whole wheat – are a processed food. Popcorn is filled with air and fibre, it’s very filling, delivering long-lasting crunchy satisfaction. (Use salt and fat sparingly)

Why?

Lower in calories than regular crackers.

White Rice  Brown or ‘cauliflower/broccoli-rice’

What?

There’s nothing wrong with white rice, but brown rice is better for you because it has more fibre and nutrients. Cauliflower rice is another great option if you want to reduce calorie intake and up your veg count.

Why?

Cauliflower adds to your 7 a day and helps to reduce the carbohydrate content of your diet.

Lettuce  Raw Spinach

What?

Why not mix up what you use as a salad base to give you extra variety.

Why?

Maximum nutrition. Spinach is full of vitamin A and K, calcium, fibre and veggie iron.

Fruit juices  Whole fruit

What?

Even if you drink over a 150ml serving, it only counts as one of your 7 a day. Fruit sugars are less damaging to teeth and will less disrupt blood sugar levels when they’re contained within the whole food. The lower the GI the better.

Why?

Fibre – stops the quick release of sugars – that has some incredible health benefits. Different coloured fruits provide different nutrients, so eat a rainbow.

Fruit yoghurt  Full fat Greek yoghurt with berries and nuts

What?

Make something that is not only cheaper, but that is infinitely better for you.

Why?

Greek yoghurt has more protein (9g vs 17g per 150g serving), plus the berries add antioxidants and fibre; and nuts provide healthy fats. Plus, you’ll drop nearly 12 grams of added sugar.

Meat  Beans or pulses

What?

If you want to do your bit for the planet, substitute some of the meat in dishes for beans or pulses.

Why?

These are low fat decent sources of protein that add variety and extra nutrients, such as fibre to your lunch. You can save around 5g saturated fat per portion.

Fries  Baked sweet potato wedges

What?

Just 80g of sweet potato counts as one of your 7 a day. If you’re pushed for time, shop bought sweet potato oven chips are a quick and convenient option.

Why?

Sweet potato is full of beta carotene, which converts into vitamin A in your body.

Biscuits  Healthy crunchy nut butter and Braeburn apple

What?

A taste sensation! Apple slices with some ‘no added sugar’ nut crunchy butter contains less sugar and more protein and fibre, so you’ll stay full for longer.

Why?

You’ll save 2.5g of sugar per biscuit.

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