Want to be healthier without completely changing your diet? Here are some simple breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack swaps that can add to your 7 a day portions, save you calories and add extra fibre, vitamins, omega 3 fats and protein to your diet.
If you love a full fry up type breakfast just swap the fried egg, sausage and bacon for a poached egg, grilled lean bacon and tomatoes. This will save on calories and saturated fat.
Try swapping your usual fruit juice for a piece of fruit, the fruit sugars contained in the whole fruit are less damaging to your teeth and no matter how much fruit juice your drink after 150ml it still only counts as one of your 7 a day.
Instead of sprinkling sugar on your cereal or porridge try adding a handful of fresh or frozen berries, which add not only sweetness but fibre, vitamins and phytonutrients.
Try swapping your sugary cereal for no-added sugar muesli, getting a nutrient boost from the wholegrains, nuts and seeds or a bowl of porridge topped with some fresh fruit, both these options will keep you going until lunch without the need for snacking.
Next time you make a sandwich try leaving out the mayo and spreading with avocado instead – mash the avocado with some lemon juice and you will be adding good fats and vitamin E plus another one towards your daily 7.
Try adding some chopped toasted omega 3 packed nuts and seeds as a topping for your bowl of soup instead of croutons and a handful of these will add 4-5g of extra protein to your meal.
When going for starchy carbs – rice, bread, pasta – goes for wholegrain varieties they will leave you feeling fuller longer and blood sugar levels stable and brown rice contains 3 times more fibre than white rice.
Try replacing some of the meat in your meal with beans or pulses, they are low fat source of protein that adds variety and nutrients to your meal and you will be saving on the saturated fat content.
By swapping your canned tuna for canned salmon for your lunch you will be gaining heart healthy omega 3 fats – the canning process removes the omega 3 in the tuna canning process but not the salmon. A simple way to get one of your recommended oily fish portions.
Replace mashed potatoes with other mashed root vegetables. Potatoes don’t count towards your 7 a day, but mashed celeriac, sweet potato, parsnip all make a delicious substitute and do count. Likewise sweet potato fries rich in betacarotene which converts to vitamin A in your body are a good substitute for potato fries.
If your recipe calls for breadcrumbs try replacing with zinc, fibre and iron rich almonds. Ground almonds are perfect for coating chicken, binding meatballs and burgers, and chopped almonds can be used to sprinkle over gratins.
Switch your creamy sauces for more vegetable based ones, saving on calories and saturated fats and if you grate a carrot or a courgette into the sauce this could be one of your 7 a day.
By blitzing frozen bananas you will have some creamy, low fat, potassium rich ice cream.
Do get rid of those sugary drinks – try infused water, try halved strawberries and mint, slices orange and cucumber or any other fragrant fruit or veg and herb combination, put into jug and cover with cold water, chill and leave to infuse for 3-4 hours, enjoy the fruity flavour without the calories or the sugar.