If you have been trying to create healthier meal plans but without much success, how about trying a different strategy? Focusing on making smart swaps for individual foods. It’s not hard to make healthy swaps if you know the foods that you are better off avoiding.
Replace less-healthy foods in your meal plans with healthier choices, for example, swapping white grains for whole – just one smart swap can pave the way to a healthier and happier life. It won’t take long to create an eating pattern that supports optimum health.
We have put together a list of how you can improve your diet with these five smart food swaps to get you started. Now there are no excuses when it comes to making healthier food choices!
- Fried foods
It’s been known that deep fried food is unhealthy. Besides the fact that frying not only boosts the calorie content of foods, there are also some reports that frying produces the cancer-causing compound acrylamide in some starchy foods, such as potatoes. Healthier cooking methods include baking, poaching, roasting, and sautéing. If you can’t resist the temptation of having that crisp in your mouth when eating, try pan frying in the skillet with some cooking oil. We promise that it will just be as tasty and crispy!
- Sugary foods
Sugar, like saturated fat, is very unhealthy when consumed in excess. Based on Singapore’s dietary guidelines in Singapore, added sugar refers to sugar that is added to food or drinks during manufacturing, cooking or at the table, and added sugar should contribute to no more than 10% of dietary energy. This translates to approximately 40 to 55 grams (8 to 11 teaspoonfuls) daily. This limit includes sugar added to beverages as well as food such as cakes and candies. Excessive consumption of beverages and food high in added sugar can contribute considerably to energy intake and may lead to weight gain if the excess calories are not expended. In addition, these items may displace other more nutritious components of the diet. We have a suggestion for coffee drinkers who love to add sugar to their coffee: Use cinnamon instead of sugar to heighten the flavour without adding extra calories. Try this in oatmeal too!
- Red meat
Regularly including red meat in your diet may produce inflammation in your body, which may contribute to hormone-dependent cancers and obesity. High saturated fat intake directly correlates to high LDL cholesterol, which contributes to heart disease. Red meat has a higher saturated fat content than white meat, as well as all varieties of seafood. If you are willing to go meatless, try replacing meat with other good sources of protein, including beans, peas, lentils, and nuts, which contain little or no saturated fat. If meat is something you love and you need a boost of protein without the fat, you should choose lean meats like turkey and chicken over pork and beef.
- Dairy products
Milk and foods made with milk are also high in saturated fat, so when you’re buying milk, cheese, and yogurt, choose reduced-fat, low-fat, or non-fat options. And save butter for special occasions; one tablespoon of butter contains a whopping 7 grams of saturated fat. Vegetable oils and butter substitutes made with vegetable oils are healthier options that you should go for.
- Refined carbohydrates
Avoid foods high in carbs that are made with refined grains; they are lower in fibre and nutrients than their whole grain counterparts. A significant source of refined carbohydrates is white flour, a primary ingredient in bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, and baked goods. Instead, you should start choosing foods made with whole grains. Whole grains also can contribute to better blood glucose control, since they are digested more slowly than refined grains.
Make changes gradually. Start with a few swaps the first week, and then continue to add swaps in the following weeks. If you stick with it, your meal planning will become easier and you’ll soon find yourself eating more healthily in a few months’ time. Thanks to these healthy swaps, feel free to indulge on better-for-you versions of your favourite unhealthy foods. Combine your efforts with our treatments to achieve the maximum result! Check out the full treatment menu here.