Want to look better in that bikini? If you’re not into dieting then it might be time to make some healthy swaps instead.
Losing weight and eating well doesn’t have to be about depriving yourself of a good meal. If you love food but would like to tone up your diet (and your body) then it’s time to start making some healthy food choices.
Dieting often doesn’t work for the simple reason that you’re giving up food that tastes good. But you don’t have to eat like a monk to get a good body — making a few food swaps can be enough to keep you healthy and looking good all year round. Here are eight summer foods you can swap today for a healthier, happier body.
Couscous for quinoa
That couscous salad you’re enjoying with your barbecue may taste great but did you know you can swap out the couscous for quinoa for a protein-packed alternative?
“Quinoa is gluten free, high in protein, high in fibre and has a low GI,” says Kate Freeman, registered nutritionist at Kate Freeman Nutrition. “It has a similar texture to couscous, with a slightly nutty flavour and is a definite necessity for the super food pantry,” she says.
Get healthy with this super seared salmon and quinoa recipe >>
Chips for nuts
Chips are a party staple come summertime so if you’re asked to bring a bag of snacks try bringing trail mix instead. “Snack on nuts instead of chips and crackers,” suggests Kate. “Nuts are high in good, essential fats and are also a great source of fibre, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, vitamin E, folate and B group vitamins,” she explains.
Ice cream for frozen yoghurt
As the weather warms up you can’t be blamed for reaching into the freezer for some ice cream to cool you down. But swapping that ice cream for low fat frozen yoghurt will not only save you calories it will be better for your gut as well. “The live bacteria in yoghurt can provide many health benefits from improved digestion and absorption of nutrients to improvements in the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome,” says Kate.
Crackers for crudités
This one is a no-brainer but often overlooked, so next time you’re putting out a plate of crackers and dip, swap out the crackers for vegetable crudités instead. “You can use any kind of raw vegetable you like, from celery and carrots to broccoli and beans,” says Kate. “Vegetables are low in energy and high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants so eat as many as you like,” she says.
White for wholemeal
Switching to wholemeal breads and pastas is a great swap to make. “Wholemeal pasta will give you twice as much fibre and will fill you up quicker, meaning you’ll feel fuller on a smaller serving size,” says Kate. Choose wholemeal and wholegrain products wherever you can and try to avoid over-processed foods that you can easily overindulge in.
Sausages for skewers
There’s nothing quite like a sausage on a barbie but when you want to look your best you’re better to swap the snag for a marinated chicken breast skewer. “Barbecuing marinated chicken breasts instead of sausages will decrease your intake of salt, saturated fat and calories while still tasting great,” explains Kate.
Try these tasty BBQ dipping sauces >>
Butter for avocado
Fresh bread lathered with creamy butter might be one of life’s simple pleasures but if you’d like to indulge more than occasionally it would be a good idea to swap that butter for an avocado spread instead. “Everyone loves the ‘mouth feel’ of fat on their tongue. Avocado will give you the same mouth feel but it contains more good fats than butter and is also a great source of folate, potassium and vitamin A,” says Kate.
Soft drink for flavoured water
Consuming one can of soft drink is like eating nine teaspoons of sugar. Sure, it tastes good but when you have the visual do you really want to drink it? Sugar is a habit and once you break it (it’ll take about two weeks, suggests Kate), you won’t crave it anymore. But if you really want something sweet to drink, why not try a flavoured water instead? Just crush some berries, a lime or two and some fresh mint in a jug of iced water for a fruity treat that will quench your thirst and cut your calories.