10 Easy Food Swaps To Help You Lose Weight
Swap Ice Cream For Frozen Yogurt
If you’re partial to sweet puddings and dairy, choose frozen yogurt as a healthy alternative to ice cream. It contains significantly less fat and fewer calories and it’s also a great source of calcium, which is vital for healthy bones.
Swap Cheesy Dips For Guacamole
While both are high in fat, the fats found in guacamole are of the healthy variety – which means your body needs them to absorb certain fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins A and D. US research has also shown that avocado (the main ingredient in guacamole, in case you didn’t know) is great for helping you feel fuller, because its high oleic acid content is converted by the body into oleoylethanolamide (OEA), a fatty acid which helps to ward off hunger pangs.
Swap Fruit Yogurts For Natural Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt contains around twice as much muscle-building protein as regular yogurt with only half the carbs. Better still, it’s low in fat and free from the added sugar and sweeteners often found in fruit yogurts. It’s also low on the glycaemic index (GI), which means it will keep your blood sugar levels steady while maintaining energy levels and putting an end to sugar cravings.
Swap White Rice For Brown Rice
Brown rice contains three times more fibre than its white counterpart, keeping you feeling full for longer as well as helping to maintain general digestive health. The brown version is also a good source of magnesium, which has been found to raise energy levels, and vitamin B6, which boosts your metabolism.
Swap Chocolate Spread For Peanut Butter
While no less indulgent than chocolate spread, peanut butter is far more healthy, thanks to its high levels of monounsaturated fat, which can help you to lose weight. A study from Purdue University in the US found that eating peanut butter could boost feelings of fullness and reduce hunger levels for up to 2½ hours, while its high protein content is great for building muscle. It’s worth spending extra on the organic variety to ensure you get all the good-fat benefits without consuming any additional hydrogenated fat.
Swap Breakfast Cereal For Porridge
Although they’re often touted as being healthy, breakfast cereals often contain high levels of sugar. Porridge, on the other hand, is an excellent fuel for your daily activities, combining high levels of muscle-building protein and filling fibre with wholegrain carbohydrates that are released slowly into your bloodstream to help sustain your energy levels throughout the morning.
Swap Black Tea For Green Tea
Green tea has been shown to trigger similar levels of alertness as black tea, despite having only a third of the caffeine, which can make you jittery and affect sleep if you have too much of it. It also has significantly higher levels of polyphenols – chemicals with antioxidant properties that can help your muscles recover faster. Research from the University of Birmingham found that drinking green tea 24 hours before training could increase your fat-burning rates by up to 17%, thanks to the heat effect that its catechins produce in your body.
Swap Battered Cod Fillets For Tuna Steak
While cod isn’t unhealthy in itself, buying it pre-battered and deep-fried in vegetable oil dramatically increases the amount of saturated fat and calories you’ll be consuming. Stick to grilled tuna steaks for a healthier option: not only is tuna high in selenium, a mineral that helps to kill off harmful free radicals which interfere with muscle growth, it’s also full of protein to help you build muscle.
Swap Milk Chocolate For Dark Chocolate
Research from the University of Glasgow found that dark chocolate has far more antioxidant properties than milk chocolate, making it significantly better at protecting your heart and arteries from oxidative damage. In addition, dark chocolate offers nutrients such as tryptophan, serotonin and dopamine, which can help to suppress food cravings, as well as catechins, which can speed up the metabolism and reduce levels of triglycerides (stored fat). Just stick to the high-quality, high-cocoa variety and avoid cheap, sugar-packed confectionery.
Swap Crisps For Popcorn
Not only does popcorn contain significantly less sodium, calories and saturated fat than crisps, but as a wholegrain it’s also a good source of fibre. Research from the University of Pennsylvania has also found that the high levels of polyphenols in popcorn can protect your heart and reduce the risk of cancer. To maximise these benefits, eat it plain or add a sprinkling of cinnamon.