By Jasmin Lim
Contrary to popular belief, being healthy doesn’t mean cutting out the indulgent foods you love – it just means you have to get a little smarter!
When I was younger, I thought discovering I had an intolerance to gluten meant the end of all that was good – pasta, pizza and pancakes. After years of yo-yoing between bingeing on these foods (and the resulting eczema flair ups) and cutting them out completely, I decided that this was stupid, and I just had to get a little more creative (and in the process I became a lot healthier!).
The exact same thing applies to being healthy – you just need to get a little smarter and give your meals a creative twist! – And you’ll be surprised; you may even find that these food swaps taste even better than the real deal. So here are our top 5 food swaps to get you on your way to boosting your fibre, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.
1. Ditch the wrap.
Avoid that post lunch energy crash and ditch those refined carbohydrates for vitamin, mineral and fibre rich collard greens or cabbage. These cruciferous vegetables hold together incredibly well, keeping all those goodies wrapped up tight and providing some potent anti-cancer compounds all at the same time – talk about multi-tasking!
2. Choose whole grains, nuts and seeds over sugary processed cereals.
Most conventional store bought cereals are completely stripped of all natural vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre and loaded with added sugars. Swap the processed grains for nutrient rich nuts and seeds like buckwheat, almonds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. The less processed your cereal, the more fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals you will be consuming. You’ll also be consuming more healthy fats from nuts, seeds and coconut rather than processed oils – not to mention real food tastes better too! Find out more about Little Birds Grawnola here
3. Skip the skippy and go real nuts.
Many well-known commercial nut butters are highly processed and contain loads of added sugar, saturated fat and preservatives – so check your labels! High quality brands don’t deceive, they are simply what they should be, 100% pure nuts! – Packing more flavour, and a powerful punch of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Check out some of our top picks here or make your own Cacao & Macadamia Butter
4. Choose real liquid.
Conventional fruit juice is often marketed as a healthy alternative to sugary sodas, but its really just refined sugar, additives and preservatives in disguise. Always choose freshly pressed or cold pressed organic fruit juice and smoothies, which are richer in natural vitamins and minerals, and refined sugar, preservative and additive free. Find out more about our juices here or make Megans' famous Cacao Superfood Smoothie
5. Get spiralising
Whether it’s zoodles, courgetti, sweet potato noodles, or whatever you wanna call it (beetoodles?)… Ditch the refined carbohydrates and pack in more fibre, vitamins and minerals with plant-based noodles instead. Get started with Megan’s Zucchini Pasta with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes and find our top spiraliser pick here
While many healthy food swaps are lower in calories, the key to eating healthier isn’t always about reducing the calories in your diet, but instead about increasing the quality of those calories – helping your body make fuel much more efficiently. Think about it as a lifestyle change, rather than a new diet. Take it slowly, and try incorporating one healthy food swap into your diet each week. This is your best bet to making a sustainable change – and trust us, you’ll become addicted to feeling so good you’ll never go back!