Food is life, let’s face it. I’m not sure about you, but for me, life without food would be quite miserable (not to mention being very difficult to stay alive)! If you follow me on Instagram or are in my Facebook Tribe you would know my approach to food as encompassing 80% whole foods most of the time, and 20% fun foods. Restriction and labelling food as good or bad can become destructive as I found out myself throughout my health journey. I finally came to realise is that food is simply just food and some kinds are more nourishing and others are less nutritious but taste delicious.
Food is very much an individual experience, some preferring sweet over savoury or crunchy over soft. I think the key is recognising the foods you enjoy eating and exploring the more nourishing version of that food. Here are a range of different healthy swaps that we hope will resonate with all kinds of taste buds! If you have any other options feel free to leave them in the comments below - we would love to hear them!
When it comes to the end of the working day, thinking about dinner let alone preparing, cooking and cleaning up is the last thing we want to consider. Out of anyone, I am not about preparing a lavish in-depth meal at the end of a busy day, but I equally understand how important it is to fuel my body with a nourishing meal. I still always believe in making my own meal as that way I know the ingredients are fresh and know exactly what has been included, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be a hard task. I always like to buy my food fresh and prepare it myself so perhaps for you that means swapping out pre-made options such as pre-made chicken schnitzel and using panko or breadcrumbs to prepare the chicken yourself. Baking your own potato chips in the oven is always a better option than buying the pre-packaged version and you can add your favourite herbs or spices for some flavouring. Investing in an air-fryer can be another great healthier option that can also be a time saver.
Other dinner tips:
- Including high protein pasta (I like to use Vetta here in Australia) and adding greens into pasta dishes (while I still use store bought pasta sauce as I don’t have the time to prepare this myself a good tip is to consider the salt and sugar content as a guide to choosing a better option)
- Adding soba noodles to stir fry’s instead of having white rice (brown rice is also a good option)
- A simple sauce option to add to stir-fry’s to avoid high sugar store bought asian options includes Tamari or soy sauce with sesame oil and honey
If you are a snacker and prefer lots of little snacks over just three big meals - I hear you! Banana bread used to be my go-to 3pm snack that I would religiously buy from the local supermarket. After realising the amount of calories that was in the store bought option I started implementing my own version of mashed banana on a piece of toast with a small drizzle of honey. This was just as delicious and dramatically cut the calories down! If you have the time, making your own banana bread is another great way to monitor exactly what ingredients you are putting into it, and even filling it out to make it more wholesome.
Other great snack options:
- Protein balls instead of dairy milk chocolate
- Home-made granola with greek yoghurt and fruit
- Tomato and cottage cheese on Ryvita or Rice Cakes
- Sliced apple with peanut butter
Weekends can often be our downfall as the work week closes we often let our guard down, relax and eat all the foods especially if we have been too restrictive during the week. Now I’m not saying that relaxing and enjoying some fun foods is a bad thing - absolutely not! What I do suggest is reinventing some of the foods you love having in a way that will better nourish you and also taste delicious. Things like making your own pizza with a wholewheat wrap as the base or a cauliflower pizza base and a whole bunch of your favourite veggies and protein source. Homemade burgers are another great weekend option where you can choose to use a wholewheat bun and know that you can include quality meat and fresh vegetables of your choice.
Other great weekend options:
- Protein pancakes (recipe here)
- Making your own protein Blueberry/Banana muffins
- Toasted pita bread with hummus
- Popcorn instead of chips
Some other general healthy swaps that are helpful to keep in the back of your mind:
- Whole grains are always a better option than the white versions as they contain all original nutrients
- Swapping Soft drink (Soda) with soda water/sparkling water with some lemon or even Kombucha
- Using high quality oils such as olive oil
- Olive oil with red wine vinegar or lemon juice is another good sauce option for salads instead of creamy store bought options
Sometimes it is just about breaking that habit and finding something that is equally delicious but a lot more wholesome. Often the swaps you make will be much more satiating and just as delicious so it’s a win-win!
Want more tips like this? Check out my Zero to Thrive nutrition challenges here where I teach you the tools to make healthy food choices that you can use for LIFE!