Jenny Brownlees | Contributing Writer | Saturday, 26 September 2015

Actually Healthy Foods You Can Swap For Other Food That\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Aren\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t Totally Rubbish

Actually Healthy Foods You Can Swap For Other Food That's Aren't Totally Rubbish

The Debrief: Swapping goji berries for Big Macs doesn't count...

#Cleaneating #musclefood #leaneating #eatforabs.... If my Instagram is anything to go by then every last one of you has ditched the Big Macs for goji berries. I, on the other hand, am struggling. It’s September and I’m still waiting for my ‘New Year, New Me’ January promise to kick in.

In general I think a lot of us want to be healthier, but it’s difficult. Although some seem to manage it just fine, changing your entire diet/lifestyle in a week is such a dramatic change that you'll break on day 4, then declare you’re ‘starting on Monday’ only to repeat the cycle again (can you tell I’m speaking from experience?)

If you can totally overhaul your life and diet and are a general #cleaneating goddess, then great. That’s amazing and you obviously have better will power than I do. I myself prefer slow baby steps. I’m a realist, and I although I’m trying to be healthier, it’d be a lie to say I’m never going to eat a carb again.

I’ve found, by slowly swapping items in my diet for similar, healthier alternatives, eating well has become much easier. I don’t feel like I’ve forced myself into a huge change, or deprived myself so much that I eff it up on day three.

Here's a few food swaps you can do (that don't suck).

Swap: Sugary cereals for Tesco free from special flakes

Mmmm lovely cereal, so nutritious and healthy. Yeah, not so much. I really think they need to teach this stuff in school because seriously, I had no idea how much sugar my fave cereals had in. The best replacement we’ve found is Tesco’s Free From Special Flakes, 115 calories per 30g, with only 3g of sugar, which, cereal wise, is good. And it’s Gluten Free, so if, like me you suffer the Gluten bloat…rejoice!

Swap: Honey/Maple Syrup for Light and Mild Agave Nectar

You may have heard of the hip sugar replacement everyone’s banging on about (it was even used in the GBBO alternative ingredient week don’t you know) Agave Nectar is great for sweetening hot or cold food and drinks. With a low natural GI, (that’s Glycemic index, a lower GI means it won’t cause a blood sugar spike) it’s also 100% organic and naturally fat-free. It contains Fructose, a slow-release carbohydrate, which means the body absorbs it slowly and doesn't need vast amounts of insulin (the chemical that triggers sugar highs and lows) to break it down. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The great thing about this stuff, is that you only need a few drops, so the squeezy bottle will last you a good while.

Swap: Toast and Nutella for Brown toast and Peanut butter (with a drizzle of protein choc spread if needed)

I have a theory that Toast and Nutella was personally invented by the devil to stop all good diets in their track. Swapping white bread for brown is a good start, but swapping Nutella for peanut butter will help keep you fuller for longer, and it such a better source of protein. If you must, must must have something sweeter, P28 are doing a great range of protein rich spreads albeit a tad expensive, but if you mix it with the peanut butter on toast, you should get that sweetness kick without using too much of the stuff.

Swap: Breakfast bars for Oatcakes and Almond Butter

We’ve all been in a rush and grabbed a breakfast bar on the go, but the reality is, they’re so sugary we may as well have eaten a Mars bar. Swap these for Oatcakes, which are full of complex carbohydrates and high in fibre. Lather them in Almond Butter (which is actually so yum that you’ll get addicted, trust us) for healthier snack-age.

Swap: Biscuits for Bounce Protein Balls

Protein is the key to keeping you fuller for longer, these protein balls, which come in a variety of flavours (all delicious) have a whopping 14g of high quality whey protein, as well as heart-healthy mono and unsaturated fats. A super snack, if you will.

These are a tad expensive, so better yet have a go at making The Debrief’s own, cheaper version.

Swap: White Rice for Black Rice or Quinoa

Step away from the white rice! Black rice offers all of the same health benefits of brown rice but it also packs some serious antioxidants. Because of its dark color, black rice contains the same anthocyanin antioxidants found in blueberries or blackberries. Rice with antioxidants? Sounds good to us.

Quinoa is also a fab alternative; naturally gluten-free, this super grain packs a punch with iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, vitamin E and calcium. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein and has of all pernine essential amino acids. Who knew?

Swap: Baked beans for Aduki Beans

Named by You Are What You Eat’s Gillian McKeith (remember her?) as the super bean of choice, swapping your baked beans for Aduki’s means you get a source of potassium, folate magnesium, and fiber. These trusty little beans help to balance cholesterol levels, and are great for heart health. Worth the swap we think!

Swap: Flour for coconut or almond flour

If, like me you love baking, but it ruins all your healthy eating as you end up just eating your delicious creations, don’t fear. In the last couple of years, supermarkets have really got on board with alternatives to wheat and other common allergies, meaning there’s so much more choice on the shelves for healthier cooking alternatives.

Use Almond or Coconut flour to try out the new craze of ‘healthy baking’ all the fun, none of the diet guilt. Desserts with Benefits blog has some great ideas to put your healthy ingredients to use.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

Make Some Healthy And Warming Chicken Noodle Soup Tonight In Four Minutes

Poor Diet Is Worse For Our Health Than Smoking

How To Eat Out And Not To Look Like A Knob When You've Got *Actual* Allergies

Follow Jenny on Twitter @JennyBrownlees