If you are looking for a hassle free way to eat healthier while still maintaining your current diet, look no further than the food swap, It doesn’t have to be a drastic change, all you need to do is swap some foods that are high in calories, fat, salt and sugars with more fruit and vegetable alternatives.
In Australia today, most diets contain too much sodium. The Australian Dietary Guidelines – Eat for Health.gov states that “too many people eat too much saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol. Even reducing these by small amounts can make us healthier.” By reducing some of these poor eating habits, you’ll have a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
So in order to reduce a sodium and sugar intake, all you need to do is replace them with foods that are high in fibre and nutrients like vitamins and minerals – such as fruit and vegetables.
Try out these five easy food swap ideas that will boost your fibre and nutrient intake without giving you the feeling that you’re missing out on the good stuff.
- Mix and Mash
Consider halving your mash potato intake by mixing in another vegetable into your mash. This will give you more fibre and less carbs. There is nothing wrong with carbohydrates; they are great for you, as long as you don’t overdo it. The best veggies to mix in with mash are pumpkin, carrot, cauliflower, peas and sweet potato (although having a mash made entirely of sweet potato is delicious as well).
- Spaghetti and Zucchini
There are a lot of recipes out there claiming ribboned zucchini as a form of pasta… well at least made to look like pasta as a healthy alternative. Can I just say that zucchini in is not pasta in the slightest…! However keeping this in mind, you could half that spaghetti intake by having half the recommended serving size of spaghetti and then replacing the other half with zucchini noodles to get your hearty fill of a pasta and tomato sauce dish.
- Healthy “Ice-cream”
What the… healthy ice cream? I hear you ask, yes that’s right! And it contains only one main ingredient… banana. Frozen banana to be exact. To all the dessert lovers out there, here is a revolutionary way of having ice cream that is 100 percent healthy and packed full of potassium. Step one: freeze some bananas. Step two: peel and place frozen bananas in a blender. Step three: Blend banana until smooth and creamy. Wolah! You have a creamy banana sorbet. To make it a choc-banana flavour, add some Nutella into the blend, or some caramel sauce, or nuts or mango! The flavour options are endless – experiment to your desire for that healthy alternative to ice cream.
- Keeping it Light
When we’re talking meals that are heavy in cream like spaghetti carbonara for example, most recipes ask for about 250ml of full cream. While you can use light cream, there is also another alternative which includes halving the amount of cream used and replacing the rest with water and if need be, half a chicken stock cube. It contains just as much flavor and is less heavy in rich cream.
- Swap Salted Nuts with Unsalted Nuts
Nuts are a great healthy snack and source of energy, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. However you can increase your sodium levels by eating too many salted nuts. Try swapping salted nuts with a nut and dried fruit mix, the sweetness of dried fruit such as raisins will complement a bland unsalted nut. You can get mixed bags of nuts, dried fruit and seeds that go great together and are a wholesome snack.
If you have any other food swap ideas, comment below: