Easy food swaps to kickstart your weight loss

You know you need to improve your diet, but where exactly do you start? Here are some easy swaps to get you started.

It can be difficult to know where to begin when making healthy changes to your diet. It’s easy to be swayed by Instagram-perfect low-fat, low-sugar, low-calorie, low-taste meals, but in reality, it’s the small changes that add up to big changes. Here are a few simple diet changes you can make.

Male hand holding a glass with cola, close up

Replace fizzy drinks with zero-sugar alternatives.

If you enjoy a can of soda, try switching to the zero-sugar, zero-calorie varieties. They may taste unfamiliar at first, but you’ll get used to it and save calories. For example, if you enjoy a can of Coke, switching to Coke Zero will save you 139 calories per 330ml can!

Cut down on sugar in hot drinks

Similarly, if you have sugar in your cuppa, try reducing it to save calories. A teaspoon of sugar contains only 16 calories, but this quickly adds up over multiple cups consumed per day. Let’s say you put 2 teaspoons of sugar in your tea and drink 4 cups a day – that’s 8 teaspoons of sugar and 128 extra calories.

If your drink contains more than one sugar, start by reducing the number of teaspoons until you can drink it without sugar, or aim to replace the sugar with sweetener. It’s easier than it sounds, and coffee or tea without sugar isn’t as bad as you might think.

Swap oil for spray oil

You shouldn’t be afraid to fry your food; just be mindful of how much oil you use. Most oils (sunflower, olive, vegetable) have about 120 calories per tablespoon and are all too easy to pour from the bottle. Instead, replace your regular oil with a spray oil, such as Frylight, which has one calorie per spray.

Alternatively, buy a cheap oil sprayer online and decant your oil into it to significantly reduce the amount of oil you use.

Why not experiment with other cooking methods to reduce the amount of oil you use.? Meat comes out particularly well when grilled, and steaming is a great way of cooking fish and vegetables.

Bagels with cream cheese avocado, fish, arugula and radish on old wooden table. Healthy breakfast food.

Swap butter for spreads

Sometimes nothing beats real butter on toast or a crumpet, but for everyday use, you could save calories by switching to a spread for your samwiches. Real butter is high in calcium, but it is also high in saturated fat, which you should try to limit.

Depending on the type of spread, you could save up to 30 calories per 2 teaspoons (10g).

Oatmeal porridge with berry and yogurt in red bowl in the heart shape, top view. Oat flakes healthy breakfast meal. Clean eating, dieting, healthy food.

Breakfast swaps

Cereal is a breakfast favourite because it’s quick and delicious, but it can leave you hungry quickly. Popular options such as sugar-frosted cornflakes are high in sugar, low in fibre, and usually contain added salt.

Try swapping your usual cereal or cereal bars with a bowl of porridge. Oats are high in fibre, which helps you feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to snack before lunch. Other healthy swaps include wheat biscuit cereal, wholemeal toast or plain yogurt topped with fruit.

For some quick and easy breakfast recipes for the whole family, visit NHS Better Health!

Homemade Fresh Wheat Bread Loaf with Whole Grain

Swap white for wholemeal

Most of us need to eat more fibre and have fewer added sugars in our diet. Eating plenty of fibre has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer.

Try switching everyday foods such as bread, pasta or rice to their wholegrain or brown alternative. Wholegrain foods also release energy slowly, allowing you to feel fuller for longer.

Top tip – Don’t get caught out when buying your weekly loaf. Most multi-seed and brown breads aren’t wholegrain. Look for words like ‘whole wheat’ or ‘wholemeal’ on the label.

If you would like support to make small, sustainable changes to improve your health, get in touch below.