Ladies, we get it. When you’re wanting to make changes to your diet and lifestyle, everything you read online can be really overpowering.
Fear not, there are plenty of amendments you can make that you won’t even realize have gone. Easy like-for-like swaps can be an efficient way of cutting sugar, salt, and fat, but without depriving yourself of the foods you love.
Well, let’s take a look at what you can swap out of your current diet and make a massive difference to your health.
Go for low-fat cheese
It may seem like an insignificant change, but by switching full-fat for reduced-fat cheese you could save up to a ⅓ of a pint of fat. Crazy, right? So, when you’re out getting your groceries, go for the reduced-fat version. It doesn’t taste any different but there is a definite gap in terms of nutrition.
Opt for low-fat spread
Another swap you can make to lower your fat consumption is by opting for low-fat butter and spreads. Whether you’re using it for cooking or making a sandwich, you won’t even notice the difference.
Swapping what you’re having or simply cutting back will make a difference to your health. This is because butter is high in fat and calories, therefore increasing the risk of developing problems like heart disease.
Leave out the sugary drinks
You’ll be really surprised to see how much sugar you can rid of from your diet, from drinks alone. By simply swapping to sugar-free sodas, low-fat milk, and water, you could potentially cut out up to 1kg of sugar per household. That’s not to say you couldn’t cut out soda completely, hell yes you can.
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Not only that, but if you’re looking to shed some weight, it can be really surprising to see how many calories you drink on a daily basis. For example, if you like your coffee sweet, 1 tsp sugar is 15 calories. If you were to have 3-4 coffees a day in the office or at home, the calories start to build.
Skimmed over whole milk
A simple change you can make is one from whole to semi-skimmed milk. Doing this can make all the difference to you and your family. Furthermore, over four weeks you could eliminate up to a ⅓ of a pint of fat from your diet. Now, that is something worth doing. Additionally, if you’re already a fan of semi-skimmed, why not go skimmed or 1% fat?
Avoid sugared cereals
Most of us know by now that breakfast is the most essential meal of the day. It sets us up for the day and gives us the energy we need to take on our daily activities. If cereal is your food of choice, try to swap from sugary to more plain cereals. Plain porridge and whole wheat cereal biscuits are great alternatives. Changing something this simple can actually reduce your intake by 83 sugar cubes a month.
Go for smaller portions
Many people struggle with this, so if you’re nodding along, believe us when we say you’re not alone. So, when it comes to a change in health and lifestyle, portion size is a huge part of it.
It is often the case that you fill your plate with the intention of eating it all. However, a much smaller portion would be more than sufficient. As nobody likes to waste food, we almost force ourselves to eat it all, even though the portion was too much to begin with.
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Try and halve the portion you give and allow yourself at meal times. If you find that you’re still hungry, you can go back for some more. However, you’ll likely find that the first portion was enough to fill you up. Something else you could do is eat from a smaller plate, as it is then easier to control your portion.
Pick healthy snacks
Now, we know it can be really tempting to raid the cabinets for all the cookies and chips when a craving strikes. Many of us consume convenience foods that we don’t realize are high in sugar, salt, and fat. To overcome this, just don’t have them in the house, easy. If your kitchen isn’t full of sugary snacks, you can’t have them.
If you do want to satisfy a craving, choose a healthier snack option, such as:
- Plain yogurt and fresh fruit
- Apple slices with a little peanut butter
- A few squares of dark chocolate
- Pitta bread and low-fat dip
- Crudites and low-fat hummus
- A handful of unsalted nuts
Cafeteria food vs packed lunch
It’s clear that you want to ensure that you and your family and getting healthy, nutritious meals, in and outside of the home. A great way to make sure of this is taking a lunch you’ve made at home, instead of getting something on the go or eating from the cafeteria.
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However, these days, for children especially, cafeterias offer healthy meal alternatives. So, if you see a hot meal that’d be suitable for them, go for it. It’ll save you time not making lunch that day, and a hot meal will likely keep them fuller for longer.
Kick salt to the curb
To reduce your salt intake, try swapping the salt you use in cooking for herbs and spices. If you like your food to have a bit of a kick, then spice it up with any of the below:
- Curry powder
However, cutting back on salt doesn’t necessarily lead to weight loss, but it can cause you to retain water. In addition, cutting down on salt will also have a positive effect on your blood pressure and cholesterol. By doing so, you’ll be lessening the risk of strokes and cardiovascular disease.
Move, move, move
Once you’re on track with a varied, healthy diet, you’re halfway there. Next, it’s important to boost your daily activity too. An easy 30 minutes of exercise each day is ample to strengthen muscles and bones and keep your heart healthy. Exercising is really important in reducing the risk of developing serious health conditions and illnesses.
We know for some, exercise can feel really overwhelming. However, it’s important to recognize that it’s not something that needs to consume your life. There are so many simple changes you can make to your daily routine, for you to get your body moving, without even noticing. Why not try?
- Activities around the home such as cleaning, vacuuming, and gardening will all get your body moving
- Walking to work instead of driving if you live close by
- If you have a desk job, get up and move around every so often
- Park further away from your destination when you’re going somewhere
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk the children to school, again if you live close by
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