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10 smart food swaps to start this week

If you’re someone that is wanting to make a change to your diet and lifestyle, the chances are you’ve already scrolled through a fair few pages on the internet. This has led to you discovering that some things you read online can be really overwhelming. Believe me, ladies, we completely understand.

However, there is no longer a need for you to search, we’ve got plenty of swaps you can make that you won’t even miss at all. Simple like-for-like substitutes can be an efficient way of cutting sugar, salt, and fat out of your diet, without depriving yourself of the foods you love.

So, we’ll stop blabbing on now, and let’s find out what you can swap out of your current diet to make a huge difference to you and your health.

Show salt the door

In order to reduce the amount of salt in your diet, try exchanging the salt you use in cooking for herbs and spices. Not only will your food be more flavorsome, but if you like your food spicy, then up the heat with any of the below:

  • Curry powder
  • Coriander
  • Ginger
  • Basil

Although it’s best we point out that cutting back on salt doesn’t lead to fat loss, sodium can cause you to retain water. Additionally, lessening your salt will also have a positive effect on your blood pressure and cholesterol. By doing so, you’ll be decreasing the risk of strokes and cardiovascular disease.

Packed lunches vs cafeteria food

In and out of the home, you want to make sure that you and your family are eating healthy and nutritious meals. A great way to ensure this is by taking a lunch you’ve made at home, instead of getting something on the go or eating from the cafeteria. You could batch make lunches for the week or take leftovers of a dinner you’ve made. This is much more controlled as unlike cafeteria or convenience foods, you know exactly what has gone into it.

Also Read: How to safely lose two pound a week

Although, nowadays, for children particularly, cafeterias offer many healthy meal alternatives. So, if you do see a hot meal suitable for them, then go for it. It’ll save you time not making lunch that day, and a hot meal will likely keep them fuller for longer.

Choose snacks wisely

Sorry ladies, but you’re going to have to put that bag of chips down. We know that when a craving strikes, it is so easy to raid the kitchen cabinets for your favorite snacks. However, many of us snack on junk foods that we don’t realize are high in sugar, salt, and fat. As difficult as this may seem at first, the best way around this is to just not have them in the house. If your kitchen isn’t full of sugary snacks, you can’t have them.

If you do want to satisfy a craving, choose a healthier snack option, such as:

  • A handful of unsalted nuts
  • Apple slices with a little peanut butter
  • Plain yogurt and fresh fruit
  • A few squares of dark chocolate
  • Crudites and low-fat hummus
  • Pitta bread and low-fat dip

Watch your portions

If you find that you’re already nodding along with this one, you’re not alone. When it comes to controlling portions at meal times, this is something many people struggle with or don’t control at all. So, when it comes to a change in health and lifestyle, portion size is a huge part of it.

Typically, you’ll fill your plate with the intention of eating it all. When in actual fact, a much smaller portion would be more than sufficient. We almost force ourselves to eat it all, even though the portion was too much, to begin with, because no one likes to waste food. However, overeating like this can be really damaging to your health and cause an array of problems from weight gain to diabetes.

To overcome this, try and halve the portion you give yourself at meal times. Then, if you find that you’re still hungry, you can have some more. However, you’ll likely find that the first portion was enough to fill you up. Another great tip is to eat from a smaller plate, as it is then easier to control your portion.

Swap to plain cereal

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that’s not breaking news. It gets us ready for the day and gives us the energy we need to take on our daily activities. If cereal is your breakfast of choice, try to swap from sugary to more plain cereals. Plain porridge and whole wheat cereal biscuits are great alternatives. By making this small change, you can actually reduce your sugar intake by as much as 83 sugar cubes a month.

Also Read: 15 ways to cut calories from your diet

Moooove away from whole milk

Another simple change you can make is one from whole to semi-skimmed milk. Doing this can make all the difference to you and your family. In addition, over four weeks you could wipe a ⅓ of a pint of fat from your diet. Now, that’s gotta be something worth doing. Additionally, if you’re already a fan of semi-skimmed, why not go skimmed or 1% fat? Calorie-wise there are around 150 calories in a 200ml glass of whole milk vs 90 calories in semi-skimmed, that’s quite a difference.

Kick soda to the curb

By simply swapping to sugar-free sodas, low-fat milk, and water, you could potentially cut out up to 1kg of sugar per household. That’s not to say you couldn’t cut out soda completely, hell yes you can. Drinks like sodas and fruit juices all contain insanely high amounts of sugar. For example, a 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola contains over 50 grams of sugar vs 0 grams in Diet Coke.

Furthermore, if you’re looking to lose weight, it can be really surprising to see how many calories you drink on a daily basis. For example, if you like sweet or iced coffee, 1 teaspoon of sugar is 15 calories. If you were to have 2 to 3 coffees a day in the office or at home, the calories start to stack up.

Make the change to low-fat spread

Another swap you can make to lower your fat consumption is by changing to low-fat butter and spreads. Whether you’re using it for cooking, baking, or just making a sandwich, you won’t notice the difference.

Swapping what you’re having or simply cutting back will make a difference to your health. This is due to the fact that butter is high in fat and calories, therefore increasing the risk of developing problems like heart disease.

Swap to reduced-fat cheese

It may seem like a fairly pointless change, but by switching full-fat for reduced-fat cheese you could save up to a ⅓ of a pint of fat. Doesn’t seem so insignificant now, does it? So, when you’re next grocery shopping, go for the reduced-fat version. It doesn’t taste any different but there is a definite gap in terms of nutrition.

Get that body moving

Once you’ve worked out the changes you’re going to make to your diet, you’re already halfway there. Next on the agenda, upping your daily activity. An easy 30 minutes of exercise every day is enough to strengthen muscles and bones and keep your heart healthy. Exercising and getting your body moving is vital in reducing the risk of developing serious health conditions and illnesses.

Also Read: Have you got hip dips?

For some, exercise can feel really overwhelming. However, it’s important to recognize that it doesn’t need to take over your life. There are so many simple changes and additions you can make to your daily routine, without even noticing. Here are just a few you could try:

  • Chores at the home such as cleaning, vacuuming, and gardening will get your body moving
  • Go for the stairs instead of taking the elevator
  • If you work a desk job, get up and walk around every hour or so
  • Walking to work instead of driving if you live close by
  • Park further away from your destination when you’re going somewhere
  • Walk the children to school, again if you live close by

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