19 Food Swaps To Improve Your Diet | SLMan
Changing the way you eat can have a massive impact on your health and fitness. SLMan asked The Mindful Chef and Shoreditch-based health food restaurant Atis for some easy ways to balance your diet. Read on to discover 19 direct swaps to set you on your way…

Eleanor & Phil Of Atis…

SWAP MILK/WHITE CHOCOLATE FOR DARK CHOCOLATE

Dark chocolate has much less sugar in it and has proven health benefits through the level of antioxidants it contains and its impact on mood. Also, the more intense it is, the less you need. 

SWAP NORMAL POTATO FOR SWEET POTATO/SQUASH
Sweet potato has more fibre and a lower GI index, meaning it’s better for controlling blood sugar levels, which in turn means you are less like to snack or crave sugar.

SWAP BUTTER FOR OLIVE OIL
Although still high in calories, olive oil contains mostly monounsaturated fatty acids (rather than the saturated fats you find in butter) which have benefits such as lower cholesterol and improving vascular and brain health.

SWAP COFFEE FOR TEA
Controlling your caffeine intake is good for blood sugar, better sleep and less stress. Tea is a great replacement for coffee: it gives you a perk without the jitters. Green tea is particularly good for its antioxidants and has been shown to reduce cortisol, our stress hormone. Just go easy on the milk.

SWAP FULL ENGLISH FOR SHAKSHUKA
Shakshuka is a delicious, warming way to start the weekend – or indeed any day. It’s full of flavour and you can customise it to suit your dietary needs; you could add crumbled feta or a nice slice of sourdough toast to dip into it on the side. It’s meat-free and full of healthy fats (egg yolk), fibres and nutrients.

SWAP CRISPS FOR POPCORN
It’s got many fewer calories and much less fat, but still fulfils that need for a crunchy, satisfying snack. You can find all sorts of flavours beyond the traditional salty/sweet, like piri piri or rosemary and sea salt. It also has much less harmful vegetable oil. 

SWAP SUGAR FOR MAPLE SYRUP/HONEY
Natural, unrefined sweeteners have a reduced GI load and actual nutrients. White sugar has neither of these.

SWAP HARD CHEESE FOR SOFT CHEESE (GOAT'S/FETA/HALLOUMI)
The fats in soft cheeses such as goats’, feta and halloumi are different to the fats in hard cheese. Also, if you‘re vegetarian then you are safe from rennet (derived from animal bones) that is traditionally used to harden cheese.

SWAP BREAKFAST CEREALS FOR OATS
Oats have a lower GI, so they don't spike your blood sugar levels. They also contain far less sugar and salt. There’s a lot of porridge inspiration out there now and plenty of ways to make it tasty.

SWAP ICE CREAM FOR BANANA LASSI
This is a delicious alternative to ice cream. It’s basically just yoghurt and ripe banana, so you can even have it for breakfast. Add coconut, cardamom and cinnamon if you want to jazz it up a bit. It’s seriously tasty and has no sugar or nasty additives.

SWAP SWEETS FOR DRIED FRUIT
If you need to satisfy a sweet craving, go for dried fruit, which is nutrient rich and full of fibre, or – better still – fresh fruit. The amount of fructose in fresh fruit – especially in European fruits such as apples, pears and berries – will never be enough to do you any harm.

 

Myles & Giles Of The Mindful Chef…

SWAP CEREAL/CROISSANTS/MUFFINS FOR EGGS

Cereals and on-the-go breakfast options like croissants are often full of sugar and fat. Try replacing with a quick option you can make in the morning. The magic of eggs is that you can cook them several different ways and they can all be done very quickly.

SWAP A PROTEIN BAR FOR A HOMEMADE SMOOTHIE
Protein bars are often full of hidden ingredients, additives and preservatives. Replace with a homemade shake of healthy protein, carbs and fats. It could be as simple as a quality protein powder, oats, fruits (berries are a great addition), spinach (it doesn’t have a strong taste) and a healthy nut butter. This will leave you feeling full while providing a powerhouse of nutrients. 

SWAP RED MEAT FOR FISH
When you choose to eat red meat, make sure it is high quality. Remove any highly processed red meats from your diet and replace with sustainably sourced fish. Increasing your intake of Omega 3s reduces inflammation in the body and can improve cardiovascular and nervous system function. 

SWAP WHITE RICE FOR BLACK RICE
Not only does black rice taste delicious, it is also higher in protein, fibre and antioxidants than its starchy white counterpart.

SWAP CHIPS FOR ROAST/BAKED POTATOES
White potatoes often get a bad rep but they can be included as part of a healthy diet. They actually provide more protein, vitamins and minerals than their sweet potato counterpart. 

SWAP SWEETENED ENERGY DRINKS FOR BLACK COFFEE
Caffeine can help improve energy levels ahead of exercise. Sweetened energy drinks add more sugar to the average diet than any other food or drink. 

SWAP FRUIT JUICE FOR INFUSED WATER
Try adding berries, citrus fruits or herbs to your drink if you can’t go without your morning juice. Juice in small amounts is okay, but be aware of how much sugar is included in many juice drinks. They also have less fibre and nutrients than whole fruit. 

SWAP STARCHY CARBS I.E. WHITE RICE/BREAD/WHITE PASTA FOR MORE VEGETABLES
We've been told this for years, and it remains one of the simplest, most beneficial changes you can make to your diet. Not only will vegetables leave you feeling fuller than white rice, bread or pasta (just try eating a whole plate of veg – it’s hard to do) they are packed full of vitamins and minerals to leave you feeling your best. Find innovative ways of cooking them: for example, broccoli rice, courgetti or celeriac slaw.

For more ideas, visit AtisFood.com and MindfulChef.com.

 

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