6 Super Easy Swaps for Healthy Eating

6 Super Easy Swap for Healthy Eating

Healthy eating can be hard. It’s confusing, time-consuming and some healthy foods are really expensive ($6 for an avocado Australia?) God knows, the times I have been too tired after work to even bother thinking about making a healthy dinner (thank God beans on toast is somewhat nutritious), or tried to choose between ten different types of dips to find the healthiest one. With this in mind, I tried to find some healthy swaps online that I could use and add to my life. But often they would be things like ‘Swap a slice of pizza with a slice of apple!’  which is like saying instead of getting backstage access to your favourite band’s show you can listen to their music on YouTube instead!

So I created this list for me, I wanted swaps that are genuinely easy and healthier, and actually comparable to their counterpart. I wanted something I’d actually use and things I could tell my time-poor clients. My internal list has grown to about 50 food swaps over the years but these are some of the most common I use and mention when talking to clients.

Swap 1: Potato chips for Chic-nuts.

Why?

Potato chips don’t offer much in the way of nutrition; they are high in fat, low in fibre and high in salt. Swap to a bag of Chic-nuts (found in the health food aisle at Coles and Woolworths) for a healthier savoury snack. Chic-nuts are roasted chickpeas flavoured with herbs and spices.  They have the same crunch and texture as potato chips but they are incredibly nutritious, scoring a 5-star health rating. Nutritionally, Chic-nuts offer more fibre and protein than potato chips and are lower in fat.  If the health benefits can’t persuade you to spend more on these compared to potato chips, try making your own (I promise it’s super quick and easy!).

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Swap 2: Packaged sauces for salsa.

Why?

Keep the ketchup on the shelf, and try a tub of salsa to add flavour to food instead. Both sauces feature tomatoes as the base, but ketchup then adds sugar or other sweeteners, salt and flavours to make it a less healthy option. Salsa, however, is simply made of tomatoes, onion, red peppers and some vinegar. It’s incredibly low in calories, making it a perfect food for those looking to lose weight, and since it’s made up of mostly vegetables, it counts towards one of your 5 a day.  Make healthy eating easy when you are socialising and just grab any of the tubs in the supermarket, such as Old El Paso, Mission etc. If you want a fresher salsa look in the chilled/refrigerated section.

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Swap 3: Granola or toasted muesli for oats.

Why?

Granola and toasted muesli are marketed very well so they seem like a healthy option. But they are made by tossing oats with sweeteners such as honey or sugar with oil, salt for flavour before being toasted. So while they might taste good, they can be loaded with more sugar, salt and fat that you realised. Make it healthy eating easy and swap granola for a bag of rolled oats. Oats are far cheaper than any toasted muesli or granola and it trumps both nutritionally.  If you miss the crunch and sweetness from granola/toasted muesli just sprinkle a handful of nuts and dried fruit over your oats. This way you can see exactly what extras are going into your cereal rather than being hidden on the ingredients panel.

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Swap 4: Soft drink for sparkling water

Why?

A can of the fizz be refreshing but with nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar in a can of soft drink – it is definitely not a healthy option! Save yourself ten teaspoons of sugar (and some cash) by having a cold glass of mineral water. If you find that boring, load it up with sliced fruit and a few sprigs of mint for a refreshing alternative. Keep a jug made up in the fridge so it is readily available.

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Swap 5: Cheesecake for homemade frozen yoghurt

Why?

When the occasion calls for a sweet treat, skip the cheesecake for some homemade frozen yoghurt. And don’t worry – this doesn’t mean spending hours in the kitchen following a recipe. Just grab your favourite Greek yoghurt (Chobani Lemon flavoured Greek yoghurt works best) and stick it in the freezer for 1-2 hours. It needs to be firm but not completely frozen. When ready to eat, scoop it over some crushed walnuts to mimic a crunchy cheesecake base. An easy, delicious way to meet the sweet cravings. Plus the yoghurt has more protein and is less than half the sugar, fat and calories. The infographic below includes the walnuts in the nutritional comparison.

Swap 6: White rice for Freekeh.

Why?

Free-what? Freekeh is an ancient grain seeing a rise in its popularity thanks to its versatile nature and nutrition profile. Freekeh is roasted wholegrain wheat. 

The roasting imparts a nutty flavour and the freekeh is more chewy to eat compared to the rice. It can be substituted for rice in almost any recipe and it is easy to prepare just by microwaving it. Nutritionally, freekeh has more fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals than white rice, making it a healthy eating swap. If you can’t stomach the price tag, brown rice is a good alternative.

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