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Nine simple food swaps that will have you dropping weight

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SO YOU want to drop a few kilos, but the thought of dieting is simply too much to bear? It may be a relief to hear that a few simple food swaps could be the difference between losing weight or not. And best of all, some of the swaps may actually be a pleasant surprise.

Regular bread to a lower carb bread
While large slices of grain and wholemeal bread may appear exceptionally ‘healthy’, the truth is they can contain almost double the calories and carbohydrates as thin wraps or lower carb slices of bread. For example, two slices of a large, thick loaf can equate to as much as 70g of total carbohydrate per two slices compared to just 20g for two lower carb slices, or 13g for some thin wraps. Check your food labels and compare the total amounts of carbohydrates per serve to identify breads and wraps with lower carb levels.

Rice crackers to corn cakes
White rice unlike brown rice is a highly refined grain and as such has had much of the positive nutritional properties removed, leaving little other than rapidly digested carbohydrates. With just 10 rice crackers offering as much carbohydrate as two small slices of grain bread, wholegrain, low GI corn cakes and crackers are a much better option nutritionally for snacks and light carbohydrate options at lunch and offer just 10g of total carbs per serve compared to 25-30g in 10 rice crackers.

Potato chips for popcorn
Crunchy, salty potato chips are a favourite food of many but unfortunately when it comes to both fat and calories, chips really pack a punch. With a small 50g pack of potato chips offering 200-250 calories and up to 20g of total fat, even if the chips are cooked in ‘good fats’, potato chips are still an energy dense food. Popcorn on the other hand is a diet superstar — with just 8g of total carbohydrates, almost no fat and only 55 calories, plain popcorn is a snacking winner.

Flake breakfast cereal to oats
It is often assumed that every product in the cereal aisle is healthy but unfortunately breakfast cereals can often be masquerading as ‘healthy’, but when you take a closer look they are packed with excessive sugars, refined grains and even salt. Generally speaking, once any grain is processed, whether it is wheat, corn, rye or rice, it not only loses some of the positive nutritional properties, but it also is digested relatively rapidly once consumed. The more quickly a carbohydrate based food is digested, the more rapid the rise in blood glucose levels, which is not ideal for our energy regulation, insulin levels or weight long term. To ensure that you are not going wrong when it comes to your choice of breakfast cereal, look for wholegrain options — options in which you can actually see the grain and of these, the strongest is oats. Low GI, high in soluble fibre and a filling, tasty brekkie option, teamed with natural yoghurt or low fat milk and a little vanilla essence or cinnamon and you cannot go wrong.

Fruit yoghurt for Greek yoghurt
Another popular choice of ‘health’ food, many are surprised to hear that a single 200g tub of fruit based yoghurt can contain up to six teaspoons of sugar! Without a doubt, the best choice of yoghurt nutritionally is natural or Greek style yoghurt which contains higher quantities of protein, significantly less sugar and calories without losing the positive nutritional properties of being a rich source of calcium, magnesium and low GI energy in the diet. If you prefer your yoghurt sweet, try adding a little fresh fruit, some vanilla essence or cinnamon to keep your added sugar intake low.

Ice cream for gelato
Everyone wants to enjoy dessert occasionally and dessert lover will be pleased to hear that swapping from full fat ice cream which contains roughly 10 per cent fat for gelato which can contain as little as 1 per cent fat and a third fewer calories than ice cream. Even better to know is that fruit based sorbets and gelato can have fewer calories again with as little as 60 calories per serve.

Cheddar cheese for cottage cheese
Regular hard cheese is a nutrient dense food choice but it is also relatively high in fat with a 30g serve of full fat cheese giving as much as 10-12g of fat. To reduce your fat intake but not lose the taste and nutritional benefits that cheese offers, try swapping to cottage cheese occasionally. Cottage cheese is high in protein, packed with key nutrients including calcium but a 30g serve gives less than 1g of fat.

Lollies for dark chocolate
When it comes to treats you can still make healthier options. Lollies of any type are simply just sugar that is easily over consumed and sends blood glucose levels through the roof without any positive nutritional properties. Dark chocolate on the other hand is a nutrient dense food offering antioxidants and more slowly digested energy. Portion control is naturally the key when it comes to any high fat food but a small 20-30g serve of dark chocolate is a million times better than lollies when it comes to enjoying a treat.

Wine for vodka
Clear spirits contain just 60 calories per serve compared to 100-150 calories for a large glass of wine, while also containing fewer calories from alcohol. Since spirits are ideally consumed at a slower pace than wine, and can be teamed with low calorie mixers such as soda water or diet soft drink, drinking less volume wise and calorie wise makes vodka a much better choice than numerous glasses of wine when you are enjoying a few drinks with friends. Always drink responsibly.

Read 407501 times Last modified on Tuesday, 02 February 2016 23:21
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