I have lost over 3.5 stone but have never been on a “diet”. For me, losing weight was part of a whole lifestyle change which included substituting certain foods, portion control and running. Making healthier choices is an essential part of the weight loss journey, however these choices shouldn’t feel restrictive or make you crave a “cheat meal”. Eating a balanced and nutritional diet should be enjoyable and make you look forward to meal times.
Losing weight shouldn’t feel like a constant battle. Take a look at the list below at some simple food swaps which can help accelerate your weight loss progress:
As a vegetarian, my regular diet is very high in carbohydrates, however switching from white potatoes to sweet potato has made a big difference. Sweet potato is a complex carbohydrate, which allows you to feel fuller for longer as it is slower to be digested. Feeling fuller for longer reduces the amount that you are likely to snack after eating; this leads to a higher rate of weight loss as you are in a greater calorie deficit. Unlike regular potato, it also doesn’t cause your blood sugar levels to rise and then crash, leaving you craving more carbs. I had never tried sweet jacket potato before, but now it’s a regular on my menu.
Wholemeal Bread / Wraps
Since switching to wholemeal bread, I struggle to even eat white bread and it really is a last resort. Wholemeal bread is another complex carbohydrate and a really easy food swap. Wraps are also available in wholemeal, as well as spinach variants to help you reduce your calorie intake.
Regular pasta is a simple carbohydrate which is easily digested by the body. Wholemeal pasta is a complex carbohydrate and contains twice the amount of fibre than regular pasta.
Cauliflower / Brown Rice
Swap out the white rice for cauliflower or brown rice. Cauliflower rice is lower in calories, as well as containing more vitamin C and potassium. Brown rice contains fibre which is harder for the digestive system to break down, meaning that you feel fuller for longer.
Supplementing fruit into your diet helps to ensure you get the correct amount of vitamins and nutrients. If you are prone to snacking, put together your own snack tub of raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc. When on the go I often have a banana between meals or before my run.
If you drink full fat milk then making the switch to semi-skimmed can net you a 100 calorie deficit per 300ml. This all adds up, especially if you eat a lot of cereal or make smoothies.
Flavoured yogurt contains more calories and less protein than Greek or Greek style yogurts. You can add your favourite fruit to Greek yogurt as a healthier alternative. This is also a great option if you make smoothies, or to even have with muesli instead of using milk or regular yogurt.
Swap crisps for popcorn as it is lower in calories and contains less saturated fat. You can also eat a larger portion to help keep you feeling satiated for longer.
If you still crave chocolate and don’t want to give it up entirely, switch to dark chocolate or cocoa. Dark chocolate has less calories and sugar. It is also richer so you won’t crave as much as regular chocolate.
When dieting it can be easy to track food calories, but a lot of people underestimate the amount of calories they intake from drinks, especially soda. Switching to water or cordial is an easy way to cut back on calories and sugar. If you don’t want to ditch the fizz entirely then look at the zero calorie versions of your favourite carbonated drinks.
I drink less regular tea now as I have a range of different flavoured green tea that I enjoy. This is only a slight calorie reduction on regular tea, however green tea also helps to boost your metabolism.
As you can see above, a lot of these swaps are straight forward, and almost like for like in some cases. This post isn’t to say that you should never eat white rice or drink soda, but that moderation is important. The key is to make healthier choices and understand what you are putting into your body.
Feel free to comment some of your favourite food swaps below!