Healthy Food Swaps to improve your diet
Page last updated: 30th August 2022
We are often told the more we move and the less we eat the more weight we will shift. However allowing ourselves to get too hungry throughout the day or reducing our calorie intake drastically in hopes of losing weight is not the best idea. Not only does restricting your calorie intake affect your brain performance, it will also affect your attempts to make healthier food choices and lose weight in the long run. The key is to choose our food wisely and opt for alternatives that will leave you feeling fuller for longer.
Here are some food swaps to keep your stomach full, your muscles fueled, and your mind satisfied.
Healthy Breakfast Alternatives
Do you usually have a bowl of cereal or a slice of toast with fresh orange in the morning? Try swapping it for a bowl of porridge with fresh fruit or wholemeal toast with poached eggs instead. Boxed cereal can often be made of refined carbs and can be high in sugar. Porridge can be a great alternative as it’s a complex carbohydrate which provides added vitamins, minerals and fibre, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Need inspiration? We have plenty of oat and porridge recipes to try here.
jam on toast with orange juice
Poached Egg on toast
Filling And Healthy Lunch Swaps
If your lunch is usually a sandwich, a packet of crisps, and some fruit juice or a fizzy drink, you probably find yourself hungry by mid afternoon. Making some simple swaps can boost the fibre, protein, and volume of your lunch, which will keep you fuller for longer. Switch white bread for wholemeal bread and add more salad and lean protein to your sandwich, and swap a sugary drink for a bowl of fruit.
Crisps are one of the nation's favourite snacks, but they're high in carbs and fats which can leave you feeling tired and lethargic. Swapping crisps for some healthier alternatives will help stabilise your blood sugar levels and keep your hunger at bay. Good alternatives include unsalted nuts, hummus and vegetable sticks, or a hard boiled egg, some low fat cheese, or Greek yoghurt. Snacks that contain protein will help to keep you feeling full for longer!
Meal prepping is a great way to ensure you're eating a healthy lunch that will keep you energised throughout the afternoon. We've shared lots of healthy lunch recipes here.
White bread Sandwhich
Wholemeal Bread Sandwich
Bowl of Fruit
Alternative, Healthy Dinner Ideas
Love a hearty bowl of pasta? If you normally go for something like spaghetti bolognese try adding some extra vegetables for some added nutrients and fibre which will help keep you fuller for longer. Adding more veggies is a great way to control your portions without adding loads of calories. You can even swap some carbs for veggie versions, like cauliflower rice or courgetti noodles. This is a great way to reduce the calories in a meal while increasing your vegetable intake and making your dinner more nutrition. For exampl,e courgette, also known as zucchini, has many vitamins required for good overall health, including vitamin B, vitamin C and potassium.
Healthy Dessert Swaps
If you're someone who craves something sweet to enjoy after every meal, opt for a bowl of fruit instead. While desserts are never off the table (in fact we have plenty of dessert recipes here), eating dessert multiple times a day is not the best idea. Fruits are naturally sweet so will satisfy your sweet tooth without adding lots of calories. They're also packed with water and nutrients to keep you hydrated and healthy.
try swapping your usual dessert with a bowl of fruit instead. Fruits are packed with water, which will help to keep you hydrated and hit that sweet spot with the natural sugars.
Other Healthy Food Swaps You Can Try
Try swapping your bag of rice with…
Carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced diet and we wouldn't recommend cutting carbs completely, but they can be easy to over consume. If you struggle feeling full on a smaller amount of carbs like rice, why not swap half out for grated veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, or mushrooms. This can help you to manage your calorie intake and boosting your veggie count for the day, without feeling like you're eating less - and you'll actually be boosting your fibre intake which can help fullness. A lot of shops now sell pre-made vegetable rice to make it easier to swap out.
Try swapping your pork sausage with…
Instead of having pork sausages, how about trying chicken sausages? While it might not look like much of a change, choosing a leaner choice of meat can help save calories - as much as 200 calories with a straight sausage swap. You can also choose turkey bacon instead of pork bacon!
Try swapping your minced beef with...
An easy way to save calories is swapping your beef mince with a leaner mince, for example 20% beef mince for 5% beef mince. A lot of supermarkets also do turkey mince which can be as lean as 2% fat, and much lower calories.
Try swapping store-bought pizza with…
Pizza is a great treat, and fine to have in moderation, but a store-bought pizza can quickly clock up the calories. If you're looking for a lighter alternative but want to satisfy that pizza craving, why not try creating your own using a tortilla wrap as your pizza base? It's super easy to make and only takes about less than 10 minutes in the oven - perfect for a movie night in! All you need is some tomato passata, tomato paste, pizza toppings and some cheese and you're good to go - you can check out our pepperoni and peppers tortilla pizza recipe here for inspiration. Pair with a side salad and some homemade wedges for a dinner that's well balanced, nutritious, and good for the soul.
Eating healthier doesn't have to involve changing your whole diet. Making healthy swaps can reduce calories and increase the nutrition of your meals, and it's much easier to stick to. Easy ways to change your meals include:
- Swapping refined breads, cereal and pasta for whole grain varieties
- Replacing some of your carbs with vegetables
- Swapping crisps and chocolates with fresh fruit or snacks high in protein
- Swapping fruit juice for whole fruit
Swaps don't have to be all or nothing, either. You could do half brown pasta, half white pasta if you prefer the taste of white, and go for a smaller bag of crisps with some fruit rather than replacing them completely. Any swaps will help you eat healthier and allow for good amount of food in without adding too many extra calories.
For more recipes and healthy meal ideas, check out our Nutrition and Diet Advice section, it’s packed full of fantastic inspiration for your breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can also check out our guides to energy-boosting foods to help fuel your next workout or these simple nutritionist tips for helping you eat healthier.