10 Easy and Healthy Food Swaps
When it comes to eating a healthy diet, you may find that it's difficult to quit some things. Junk food, snacks, and foods to satisfy a sweet tooth tend to be high in calories, sugar and carbs which can be bad for your body if consumed too much and too often.
Finding easy swaps for your favourite foods is a great way to slowly build healthier habits. By finding a healthy swap for something you regularly eat, you can reduce your calorie intake and, hopefully, boost your nutrient intake.
Below, we've taken a look at some of the easiest healthy food swaps you can make to ensure that you're eating a balanced and healthy diet. Check it out now to find out more.
What are healthy food swaps and why should I try them out?
Healthy food swaps tend to mean healthier alternatives to commonly eaten foods. The healthier foods usually offer more nutrients for less or the same amount of calories and can make a big difference to your health.
There are many swaps you can make with changes like swapping cheeses for reduced-fat cheese and lower fat cream cheese or choosing to swap butter for lower fat spreads - but it's not all about the lower-fat options. You can also make swaps for foods with more nutrients, like swapping refined carbs for wholegrain alternatives to boost your whole grain intake and swapping sugary chocolate like milk chocolate for dark chocolate.
10 healthy food and drink swaps
There is a tonne of healthy swaps you can make in your life to boost your overall health and to ensure you're eating a better diet. Below, we have listed a few of the easiest swaps you can make in your life to ensure you're eating healthier foods.
1. White bread for wholemeal bread
White bread, while delicious, has very little nutritional value and could be described as empty calories. Brown bread, wholemeal bread, and bread made with grains like spelt and rye, all contain more fibre and more nutrients than white bread.
Fibre is essential for a healthy digestive system and so boosting your intake is essential for good health. Try making the swap from white bread to wholemeal or wholegrain bread to boost your fibre intake each day.
2. Sugary drinks and fruite juice for infused water
Sugary drinks, like fizzy drinks and fruit juice, are one way that people consume too many calories without realising it. Fruit juice, though it comes from fruit, is actually packed full of sugar. While fruit contains this sugar too, you're unlikely to be able to consume as much fruit as you are juice. This means you won't consume as much sugar when eating fruit.
While water may be a bit boring, it is obviously a healthy option. If you find it difficult to remember to drink water or simply don't like the taste, try water infused with fruit, vegetables, and herbs for a more flavourful drink.
3. Sugar-coated breakfast cereal for wholegrain breakfast cereal
Though breakfast is the most important meal of the day, many cereal products are actually packed full of sugar and contain very little nutrition. Try swapping your sugar-coated breakfast cereal for a shredded wholegrain wheat cereal, nutritious granola, or healthy muesli.
4. White pasta for wholewheat pasta
Like with bread, refined white pasta is delicious but lacking in nutritional value. There are many kinds of wholewheat pasta, with options like spelt pasta, wholewheat pasta, and chia pasta, which means you have tonnes to choose from.
To make your pasta dish healthier, try making your cooking sauce from scratch using vegetables and fresh herbs to reduce the amount of sugar you consume in pre-made sauces.
5. Milk chocolate for dark chocolate
Milk chocolate is packed to the brim with sugar but dark chocolate, a purer form of chocolate, has a lower amount of sugar and can offer nutritional benefits, indeed, dark chocolate is even thought to help with mental illnesses like anxiety.
6. White rice for brown rice
White rice is a refined form of the grain, with both the bran and the germ removed, it loses most of its nutritional value when it is processed. This means that it is effectively empty calories for you to consume. A switch to brown rice means choosing the rice with more nutritional value that will leave you leaving fuller for long and will actually nourish your body.
7. Potato chips for vegetable chips
Regular potato chips tend to be high in saturated fats and salt. A switch to vegetable chips could be a step towards healthier snacking. When choosing any kind of chip snack you should always check the fat and salt content to ensure you're not consuming too much.
8. Sweets for fresh or dried fruit
Though fruit and dried fruit might not have the same sweet taste as actual sweets, choosing fruit and dried fruit over sweets can give you the hit of sugar you crave without spiking your blood sugar as much. Fruit and dried fruit both offer lots of vitamins and minerals too, so choosing these over sweets and candy is better for you.
9. Sugary yogurts for natural low-fat yoghurt
Yogurts are healthy and good for your digestive system because they contain probiotics, but when choosing yoghurt, you should look out for natural and low-fat options over the flavoured kind. Flavoured yoghurts will have a lot more sugar than natural options.
Try out Greek yoghurt and add your own fruit and honey for sweetness.
10. Butter for extra virgin olive oil
For cooking and for dipping, opt for healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil, rather than the saturated fats found in butter. For spread, choose lower-fat spreads to keep your calorie intake down.
Getting extra virgin olive oil into your diet is essential because it is high in healthy fats. Healthy fats are very good for your heart and so eating them can help to support better heart health and help to prevent some cardiovascular diseases.
Final thoughts on making swaps for healthy eating
Choosing healthier options for your favourite foods can help to boost your overall health and reduce your calorie intake. You should try to make as many of these swaps as possible when choosing a healthier diet so that you get all of the nutrients you can.
The swaps we have mentioned here are easy to do and can be incorporated very quickly into your diet. There are many other swaps out there for you to try and a quick google search can help you to find them!
To find more healthy snacks, check out our snacks category.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some healthy food swaps?
There is a tonne of healthy swaps you can make to eat a healthier diet. One of the biggest changes you can make that will make a big difference to your health is to swap refined carbs for wholewheat options. This means swapping white pasta, white bread, and white rice for the brown, whole grain, and wholemeal versions. The whole-grain versions contain more fibre, more nutrients, and will help you feel fuller for longer, combatting overeating.
What is a healthy swap?
A healthy swap in terms of diet means choosing the healthier, more nutritious option. Some great healthy swaps you can make include switching to lower fat versions of things like cheese and milk and choosing whole-grain cereal over sugary cereal. You could also replace fruit juice with fruit infused water and opt for fruit over sweets. A healthier swap, while maybe not lower in calories, should have more nutritious value so that you're not consuming empty calories.
What are substitutes to lose weight?
Substitutes for weight loss basically mean choosing the lower fat, more nutritious options for your meals. Choosing brown bread over white bread will offer you more fibre and more nutrients that can keep you fuller for longer and nourish your body better. Similarly, choosing to consume fruit infused water over fruit juice will give you the same flavour of fruit without all of the added sugar. There is a tonne of swaps you can make to make your diet healthier.
What can I replace dinner with?
Replacing dinner won't necessarily help you to lose weight. It is better to reduce the calories you consume at dinner if you want to lose weight. You could try opting for brown pasta or rice at dinner, or eat more vegetables to help you feel fuller for longer. If you want to replace dinner completely, you could try having a protein smoothie that has lots of macro and micronutrients and will fill you up.