Ready to make a healthy change in your life? Taking the first step is always the hardest, be it trying out a new exercise class or sport, starting a new job or school, or starting a healthy diet.
When it comes to food, there is no shortage of #healthyliving inspiration around us to kickstart our #health. Some might say it’s relatively easy to start. Salad bars and healthy snacks available everywhere and mountains of #fitspo #nutrition topics to keep you reading for days. For some this inspires, but for others this tsunami of information leaves them lost and confused, not knowing where to start.
I find that the biggest challenge to maintaining a healthy body would be continuously making healthier choices over readily available comfort foods. For instance, choosing fish soup over curry rice in a hawker center during lunch time or packing your own lunch box over the cheap $2 chicken rice. Living healthy can be tiring. Especially with all these delicious foods surrounding us! Not everyone is able to have salad for lunch or find the time to pack and prepare home-cooked lunches everyday. Diet changes are never easy to follow and little steps can be all it takes to make big changes to your health. Baby steps like swapping high fat or highly processed foods with healthier alternatives can help ease yourself into it.
Here are 4 food swaps to ease yourself into healthy eating!
1) Mayo = Avocado
If you’re a big fan of the smooth, creamy texture and slightly tangy taste of mayonnaise, give avocados a try! Avocados taste buttery and rich, with some floral notes. Some might be turned off by its somewhat squishy texture and high price tags but these little fruits are nutritional powerhouses! Mayonnaise contains high amounts of saturated fat and some cholesterol, and is rather calorie dense without other nutrients. There are around 90 calories per tablespoon and although avocados are as calorie dense, mayonnaise has a lower satiety factor. Avocados give you something to chew on, and for those factoring in calorie counts, it is definitely more noticeable. Mayonnaise is very easily overspread, and can add up to an extra 180 calories in a simple sandwich. Avocados are heart healthy, cholesterol and sodium free, they also have healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. They also help to control blood sugar levels for those with diabetes as well as portion control with their high fibre and fat content which can help you to stay fuller for longer.
This may seem bizarre, replacing pasta with a vegetable. Raw spaghetti squash looks like any other type squash, but after cooking, it’s flesh tears into strands resembling pasta. It can be microwaved, boiled, steamed or baked. They provide a low carbohydrate alternative to pasta, but with the added benefits of high fibre, vitamin A, potassium and folic acid!
Now they don’t taste anything like regular pasta, but these pseudo-noodles can be equally satisfying. Here’s a healthy recipe you can try!
3) Fruit juice/pop = sparkling water/coconut water
Fruit juices and sodas are loaded with sugars -- cold pressed or carton. Although they contain some vitamins and nutrients, they are large contributors to weight gain and can wreck havoc on blood sugar levels. Usually one glass of orange juice or coke can add up to 250 calories. Try switching to flavoured carbonated water if you are a big fan of soda, or coconut water! Coconut water has been the hype lately, but with good reason. Although it contains relatively high sugar levels, it still has fewer calories than other sweet drinks. Not to mention natural electrolytes like potassium, which lowers blood pressure, and less sodium.
4) Ice cream = Banana ice cream
Ditch those tubs of heavy cream. Even frozen yoghurt or low fat can beat this! Simply slice and dice up a couple of bananas and freeze them until solid. Next, blend until smooth. You can add any toppings you would like into the mix. Bananas have no
fat, high soluble fiber and are high in potassium, a real sidekick in keeping your waistline in check. Not to mention, who doesn’t like ice cream?
Certified nutritionist with sports and fitness in my blood. Basketball is my passion and I live by Ali’s saying “don’t count the days, make the days count” View all articles by Sara.