Weight-busting (& health boosting) food swaps

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Old 02-Nov-2010
Weight-busting (& health boosting) food swaps

  • Swap Orange juice for a whole orange
Health benefit: More fibre, less sugar.
Why? As tasty and refreshing as it can be, fruit juice, even 100 per cent pure and unsweetened juice, isn't as healthy as a whole piece of fruit. A whole piece of fruit offers benefits that fruit juice can't. When fruit is juiced, the nutrient dense skin and pulp are removed which means fewer nutrients and fibre end up in your glass. Fruit juice is also a concentrated source of sugar and not nearly as filling as a piece of fruit. For example, an orange provides 4g of fibre, less than 70 calories and 14g of sugar. A glass of orange juice has 120 calories, less than 1g of fibre and 22g of sugar. Not only does the orange have less sugar and more fibre than orange juice, it's more filling and is more effective at keeping hunger at bay so you eat less.

  • Swap Butter for non-hydrogenated margarine

Health benefit: Less saturated fat.
Why? A tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of margarine offer the same amount of calories and grams of fat, but it's the type of fat that sets them apart. Butter is made from animal sources and is packed with artery-clogging saturated fat, while margarine is made from vegetable sources and contains heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Butter actually contains five times as much saturated fat as margarine. Make the switch to margarine by choosing a product that is non-hydrogenated and trans fat free for the most health benefits.

  • Chicken breast for skinless chicken breast

Health benefit: Less calories and saturated fat.
Why? Chicken may seem like a healthier alternative to red meat, including beef, but unless it's skinless chicken you may want to think again. Chicken that contains the skin actually has more calories than some cuts of beef. Though it doesn't look like much, the skin on poultry is where most of the fat is stored. A 90-gram piece of chicken breast with the skin on contains a whopping 20 per cent more calories and four times as much saturated fat as the same amount of skinless chicken breast.

  • Swap White rice for brown rice

Health benefit: More fibre, niacin and iron.
Why? Making the switch to brown rice from white rice is a no-brainer. Not only does it have a lovely, nutty flavour, it's packed with nutrients. White rice is essentially brown rice that's been stripped of its nutrient-dense shell, which means less fibre, vitamins and minerals. A half cup (125ml/90g) serving of brown rice has roughly the same amount of calories, but five times as much fibre, four times as much niacin and three times as much iron as white rice.

  • Swap Energy drink for green tea

Health benefit: Less sugar, more antioxidants.
Why? While they both contain caffeine, energy drinks also contain huge amounts of sugar. In fact, the average energy drink contains a whopping seven teaspoons of sugar per can. So while you may experience a boost from the caffeine, you're likely to experience a crash shortly after thanks to all the added sugar. Green tea on the other hand, is natural, calorie free and full of disease-fighting antioxidants. It's been shown to protect against cancer and help with weight loss.

  • Swap ice cream for frozen yoghurt

Health benefit: Less calories and saturated fat.
Why? Though they're both made from dairy products, frozen yoghurt contains less fat than ice cream. Compare labels to make sure you are getting the healthiest product available and aim to choose a frozen yoghurt that contains somewhere in the range of 90 to 110 calories and less than 2g of fat per half cup (125ml) serving. For the lowest calories and grams of fat, skip the added extras like caramel and chocolate chips and opt for vanilla or fruit flavoured frozen yoghurt.

  • Swap thick crust pizza for thin crust pizza

Health benefit: Less calories and saturated fat.
Why? Compared to a regular crust, a thin crust has slightly fewer calories. But the real difference comes when compared to a stuffed crust pizza filled with extra cheese. Per slice, thin crust pizza can have as few as half the calories and grams of fat than the same type of pizza with a stuffed crust. Save even more calories by ordering a vegetarian pizza instead of one loaded with meat and cheese.

  • Swap Milk chocolate for dark chocolate

Health benefit:
More antioxidants.
Why? Dark chocolate contains powerful antioxidants that can help boost heart health by lowering cholesterol and protect against heart attacks. Compared to milk chocolate and white chocolate, it also tends to have less saturated fat and added sugar. Skip chocolate with added ingredients that bump up the calorie content, such as nougat, coconut or caramel and go for dark chocolate that contains at least 70 per cent cocoa.

  • Swap Potatoes for sweet potatoes

Health benefit: More fibre and beta-carotene.
Why? Gram for gram, sweet potatoes beat regular potatoes by a landslide. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that helps protect against chronic diseases. It is also a source of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes contain 13,000 times more beta-carotene than regular potatoes! They also contain significantly more fibre.

  • Swap Potato crisps for popcorn

Health benefit: Less fat, more fibre.
Why? Air popped and even seasoned microwave popcorn contains significantly fewer calories, fat and sodium than potato crisps. What's more, popcorn is actually a wholegrain and is a good source of fibre, unlike potato crisps. It goes without saying that if your popcorn is swimming in butter and salt, many of its health benefits will be undermined, so keep things light by opting for air-popped, lightly seasoned popcorn. Better yet skip the butter; instead season popcorn with olive oil spray, lime zest and a touch of sea salt.

Old 12-Mar-2011
Re: Weight-busting (& health boosting) food swaps


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