SWAPPING foods high in calories, fat, salt and sugars for something healthier – but still tasty – can make a big difference to your diet and health.
Often we don’t realise that the foods we are snacking can actually be replaced with more nutritional options.
It’s no surprise that chips are a snacking go-to with their delicious saltiness and satisfying crunch – but often they can be difficult to stop mindlessly eating.
Luckily choosing healthier dinners and snacks is easier than you think – and you can still eat chips in moderation – to satisfy your cravings.
Tamara Willner, nutritionist for Second Nature, says: “Living healthily is about a number of small changes that we can do consistently that add up over time, giving us big results.
“We don’t need to heavily restrict ourselves or exclude the meals we love, but we can make small, simple changes to our favourite dinners that increase our vegetable and fibre intake, and reduce the amount of ultra-processed foods we’re eating.”
Here, Tamara suggests her top food swaps that will make your dinners healthier – and you can still eat chips…
SWAP CHIPS FOR CARROT CHIPS
A delicious alternative with a similar texture to chips is carrot chips, suggests nutritionist Tamara.
She says: “Coat some pre-cut carrot batons in a few tablespoons of cornflour, salt, pepper, and your favourite seasonings, drizzle with olive oil, and bake in the oven until crisp.”
SWAP SPAGHETTI FOR COURGETTI
Continue to enjoy your favourite pasta meals guilt free, without the heavy and glutenous carbohydrates of pasta, by swapping spaghetti for courgetti.
Tamara says: “Consider swapping the spaghetti (or any pasta) of your favourite spaghetti meal with spiralised courgette (also known as courgetti).
“If you really enjoy the spaghetti, you could even consider doing half-real, wholemeal spaghetti and half courgetti and mix it all together.”
SWAP SWEET BREAKFAST MUFFINS FOR SAVOURY ONES
She also suggested that swapping sweet breakfast muffins in favour of savoury ones is a quick and easy healthy food swap.
A savoury breakfast muffin filled with oats, almonds, spring onions and feta is better than a sugar-filled choice.
Tamara says: “It’s a great way to reduce waste, as you can use any vegetables you have in your fridge too!”
SWAP MASHED POTATO FOR BUTTER BEAN MASH
The nutritionist explained that it’s very easy for people to over consume mashed potatoes due to the texture – so it’s a good idea to swap it out at dinnertime for a healthier option.
She says: “It means we might end up eating many more potatoes than we’d eat if they were solid.
“Consider having your meal with butter bean mash instead.
“Simply simmer butter beans in some milk, butter, and seasoning, then blend!”
SWAP TAKEAWAY CURRY FOR FAKEAWAY BUTTER CHICKEN
The nutritionist at Second Nature advised swapping takeaways for fakeaways is an easy way to make dinner healthier.
She says: “Next time you fancy getting a delivery, consider making a fakeaway yourself.
“For example, swap your usual indian butter chicken for a family favourite homemade butter chicken recipe.”
SWAP HOBNOBS FOR FOBNOBS
Sometimes we want something sweet after dinner and it’s easy to reach for a biscuit, says Tamara.
She suggests swapping Hobnob biscuits for healthier ‘fobnobs’ which include bananas, oats, almonds, desiccated coconut and dark chocolate.
She says: “You can increase your fibre intake and reduce the amount of ultra-processed foods you’re eating by making your own alternatives. Try these Fobnobs.”
View the recipe here.
SWAP ALCOHOL FOR MOCKTAILS
Another easy swap for a healthier diet is to ditch an alcoholic beverage for a mocktail to accompany your meal.
Tamara says: “To make a raspberry, lime, and mint mocktail, take a jug, add 1 lime juiced and two handfuls of frozen raspberries, and muddle together.
“Add 2 handfuls of ice and around 600ml of soda or sparkling water, before smacking 2 sprigs of mint in between your hands (to release the oils) and stir in.”
SWAP ICE CREAM FOR YOGHURT BARK
Sometimes a sweet treat after dinner is just what we need and luckily Tamara suggested the perfect healthy swap for ice cream.
She says: “You can sub post-dinner ice cream for frozen yoghurt bark.
“Bear in mind that you need around 2 hours for this to freeze, so you could make in advance of the week ahead.”
The refreshing, naturally sweet alternative uses plain natural or greek yogurt, frozen berries and pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
In other food news, this mum shared her budget-friendly family recipes that can be prepared in less than 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, one mum-of-10 has revealed her HUGE weekly grocery hauls, including giant bags of vegetables and hundreds of ice lollies.
Plus, a chef has revealed how to slash your weekly food shop to £1 per meal by making these simple swaps.
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