If you are wanting to lose weight, it can be a rather daunting experience. Most articles call for complete diet makeovers, which can be very overwhelming to say the least! If you have decided to lose weight, or just want to be healthier in general, here are some easy meal swaps that you can make that can make a huge difference in your weight loss! The best part is they are all sustainable, and don’t make you feel like you are depriving yourself or missing out on anything.
White Bread and Jam VS Wholemeal Bread and Peanut Butter
A popular breakfast staple in any household is toast - easy to make and eat whilst you are rushing out of the front door! Then come the toppings - jams, chocolate spreads and butter are some of the biggest staples. The problem with eating white bread is that it is full of refined grains that have been heavily processed leaving them void of many beneficial nutrients. Eating white carbs may cause your blood sugar levels to spike, resulting in a crash and may make you feel tired and hungry again. I would swap all white bread with wholemeal/wholegrain bread, which generally contain more vitamins and fibre to keep you feeling fuller for longer. In terms of toppings, opt for ones that are protein-rich and full of healthy fats to help sustain you throughout the day. It’s a good idea to stay away from things such as jam spreads, butter and chocolate spreads because they are filled with empty calories and refined sugar. I would choose things like avocado, eggs and natural nut butters in their place.
Can of Soda VS Sparkling Water With Fruit
Sorry to burst your bubble, girls, but you need to ditch the sodas! Unfortunately, there are virtually no nutritional benefits that come with drinking sodas, so you’re practically drinking empty calories. If you are wanting to lose weight, this is the first thing you should try to replace. You will be surprised at how many calories one soft drink contains! On top of this, they are filled with refined sugars, which also cause your blood sugar levels to spike. If you like the taste of bubbly drinks, try to swap them out for sparkling water. It can be a little different at first, but you will get used to it! If you need some more flavour, add chopped up fruits to infuse your water, such as strawberries, raspberries and citrus. Mint is also a great addition!
Pea & Ham Soup VS Minestrone
Soups are one of those sneaky things that seem to get a good rep because most are vegetable-based. However, you still need to be careful! Try to stay away from soups that are cream-based, such as tomato, pea and ham, leek and potato. Instead opt for broth-based soups, such as minestrone. Pack these with a variety of vegetables and proteins like chicken, and away from starchy carbs like white pasta and potatoes.
Ice Cream VS Nice Cream
If your favourite Friday night past time is indulging in that tub of double chocolate ice cream, don’t despair! I have a tasty alternative for you! Instead, try and make some ‘nice cream’, which is basically a frozen banana blended until it reaches the consistency of a soft serve. You can add cacao powder to make it chocolatey or try different variations with peanut butter and other fruits. Whilst I believe you shouldn’t deprive yourself and allow yourself to eat treats when you really feel like them, nice cream is a great alternative for all you girls who like having something sweet after dinner or during the day!
Sour Cream VS Greek Yoghurt
If you are one of those people that LOVE using sour cream in everything from nachos, to dressings and soups, then you really need to get on the greek yoghurt bandwagon! Greek yoghurt has approximately half the calories of sour cream and basically tastes the same. It also has probiotics (one thing that sour cream doesn't), which help to support the healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Make sure to check your yoghurt has live, active cultures to reap the full benefits of this.
White Pasta VS Zucchini Pasta
White pasta is the same as white bread, full of refined carbs that are contain few beneficial nutrients. You can choose to swap your white pasta for wholemeal pasta, or to change it up altogether with zucchini pasta! Zucchini pasta can be achieved by shaving zucchini into paper thin slices or using a spiralizer to create ‘noodles’. Zucchini pasta tastes delicious served with roasted tomatoes, grilled chicken and pesto as well as bolognaise sauce.
Cheese Chives Dip VS Hummus
If you love a good dip platter, switch the cheese and chives and other cream-based ones with hummus! Dips seem like a healthy option until you read how many additives they contain! Opt for veggie-based dips like roasted beetroot, carrot and hummus and serve them with fresh veggie sticks. Serving them with veggie sticks rather than white crackers will also fill you up a lot quicker!
Cheese and Crackers VS Cheese and Apple Slices
Another popular snack is cheese and crackers, which most people make healthier using wholegrain crackers. Sometimes the problem isn’t what you are eating, but how much of it you are eating. It can be very easy to get carried away with the cracker to cheese ratio and before you know it, you are half a packet down. Instead, I recommend eating apple slices with the cheese instead. Apples will fill you up a lot more than crackers and your body will thank you for it! Full of fibre and low in calories, apples are a great snack to have any time of the day.
Pre-Packaged Bars VS Nut Mix
Another sneaky food that many people believe is healthy are pre-packaged ‘health’ bars. These are generally marketed as being “good for you”, however many of these are also full of refined sugars (such as high fructose corn syrup) amongst other things. If you can’t pronounce most of the ingredients on the bar, then it’s a sign it may not be as healthy for you as you think. Instead, I recommend to make your own nut mix, based on your favourites. I love mixing dried goji berries, pistachios, almonds and sunflower seeds. You can mix up a batch at the start of the week and portion in little bags, so you have a snack ready to go whenever you need.
I hope these simple swaps have shown you that is it SUPER easy to eat healthier, you just need to use your imagination! My tips are to stay away from anything heavily processed and full of sugars. Making a few small changes in your diet can make a BIG difference to your overall health and weight loss efforts!