Swap: Dairy Milk for Coconut Milk:
Coconut milk tastes very similar to cow’s milk when in tea or coffee and is a great alternative to dairy for those who suffer from bloating and digestion problems after consuming dairy. Coconut milk is nutrient rich, offering antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as C & E vitamins (immune system), B vitamins (energy & digestion) and magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Should you not like coconut milk, Almond Milk is another suitable alternative to dairy for similar reasons.
Swap: Cooking Oils (such as rapeseed oil, canola oil, soy oil, sunflower oil) for Coconut Oil or Butter:
Coconut Oil offers the best alternative as it contains a high content of saturated fat which, when cooking, is much less susceptible to damage from heat. When heated during the cooking process, the quality of the fats remains intact, unlike most vegetable cooking oils. The other alternative is butter which is rich in lauric acid and vitamins such as A, E, K and D – all of which are fundamental to health, and often lacking in our bodies (especially vitamin D). It is rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a valuable fat which is known to have anti-cancer properties, and contains helps improve body composition.
Swap: Pasta for Courgette Spaghetti/Ribbons:
This is a great way to have ‘paleo pasta’. A great pasta alternative, especially if fat/weight loss is your aim. First things first – courgettes are not a “powerhouse” in terms of nutritional value – but this simple food swap is a great way of lowering your carbohydrate intake should you have issues with insulin management. Courgette has a very high water content meaning its low in calories but is still rich in fibre. Use a Julienne Peeler to create spaghetti type strands and serve up with Bolognese as a healthier alternative to this classic meal.
Swap: White Potatoes for Sweet Potato:
Sweet Potato is one of the oldest vegetables known to man. This starchy carbohydrate is high in fibre, a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin A, potassium and even some calcium. A recent article in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found an extract from a baked sweet potato contained cancer-fighting properties, in addition to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties in the form of chorogenic acid. One thing to be aware of is that if you DO have blood sugar problems that sweet potato’s should be avoided.
Swap: Cous Cous for Quinoa:
Often thought of as a grain, Quinoa is actually from the seed family and is great to be used like a ‘grain’ with meals to add bulk to the meal. Even though Quinoa has a good amount of protein per serving, what’s more impressive is the fact that quinoa has the perfect balance of all amino acids essential for human nutrition. This type of complete protein is rarely found in plant foods and is more commonly found in meats. Quinoa also has a lower sodium content, and is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese and zinc than wheat, barley or corn, making this a great food swap.
Swap: Milk Chocolate for Dark Chocolate:
First things first, when we endorse chocolate we are not talking about a commercial chocolate bar like a ‘Boost’ bar (which contains a whole host of ingredients that you won’t recognise). The key benefit of dark chocolate is its powerhouse ingredient of cocoa. Cocoa is loaded with compounds called flavonoids, which are also found in cranberries, apples, strawberries, onions, tea and red wine – placing chocolate in very good company. The particular class of flavonoids are called flavanols, which when found in coca prevent fat-like substances in the blood steam clogging the arteries. This is key, as this helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Key tip – you want a dark chocolate with as high % of cocoa as you can get, ideally 70% or more.
Swap: Peanut Butter for Pure Nut Butter (Almond, Cashew):
With its only ingredients being 100% cashew nuts or almond nuts, these purer nut butters offer a great alternative to peanut butter. Packed with a higher nutritional value and no added sugar or stabilisers (compared to the traditional high street peanut butter), they also offer an easy way to up your intake of nuts. Research shows that those who eat nuts several times p/week have a 30-50 percent lower risk of heart attack, so next time you want a healthy snack, reach for an apple and add a little Almond or Cashew Nut Butter.
Swap: White Rice for Cauliflower Rice:
Whilst this might not sound like the most appealing food swaps, it is a good way for those wanting to lower their intake of carbohydrates but still feel like they are eating similar meals such as Chilli con Carne or Curry. By pulsing cauliflower in the blender until it’s of a ‘rice’ consistency and then pan frying for 5 minutes, this “superfood” provides a similar base for your meals in place of rice. Cauliflower is a member of the brassica or cabbage family and contains many of the compounds like indoles that have given this vegetable family it’s rightly deserved reputation of a potent cancer fighter. Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, which once in the bloodstream helps to turbocharge the body’s antioxidant defence system.
Swap: Supermarket bought Guacamole for Avocado:
Still with all the evidence that this fruit should be classed as a superfood, there are still many people who avoid avocados due a “fat” phobia. Yes avocados are high in fat, but the fat is largely monosaturated, and more specifically oleic acid and omega 9, commonly found in many nuts. These kind of fats fall into ‘the good fats’ category as they actually work to lower cholesterol. More importantly research has shown that those who ate avocados for a week experienced a ratio change in their cholesterol. LDL (bad) and triglycerides went down, whilst their HDL (good) went up. Still need more proof? Research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrated that people following a modified low carb diet higher in monosaturated fat lost more weight than a matched group following the standard National Cholesterol Education Program Diet. If that wasn’t enough, avocados also contain lutein, a natural antioxidant which helps your eyes stay healthy while maintaining the health of your skin. Use avocado in place of butter for toast and sandwiches, as well as eating with smoked salmon and eggs for a breakfast of champions!