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10 Healthy Food Swap Ideas To Try Over The Summer

In Melbourne we’re a couple of months out of lock down and for some of us we’re struggling to get our eating back on track.

Summer is a great time to enjoy plenty of fresh, healthy food choices. But if you’re looking to rein in some not so great food choices you picked up in lock down, or you want a kickstart for your 2021 health journey, these easy food swaps will get you started.

Switch breakfast cereals for homemade muesli

Cereal for breakfast is convenient, but most options these days are full of added sugars. Even the options that seem healthy like muesli and granola mixes can sneak in 2, 3 or more forms of sugar!

The best way to avoid the sugar-trap? Make your own at home.

This is easier than it sounds. Take some rolled oats, quinoa flakes or even puffed rice and mix with your favourite nuts and seeds. Add some cinnamon or cocoa for some flavour. Pop it in an air-tight container, then serve with your milk or yoghurt of choice.

Swap flavoured yoghurt for plain yoghurt with berries

Flavoured yoghurts are another popular quick breakfast, or even a snack and dessert option. But unfortunately, most are packed full of added sugars and preservatives.  Some flavoured yoghurts have up to 4 teaspoons of added sugar in them!

The alternative? Grab some plain or Greek yoghurt and mix in some fresh berries. Poached cherries are my favourite at the moment.

Swap soft drink for sparkling water

With the Melbourne heat, it can be tempting to reach for the soft drinks. But soft drinks contain what is known as empty calories – a lot of calories without any real nutrient value or health benefits.

You can still enjoy a fizzy drink though. Grab yourself some sparkling or plain mineral water and serve over ice and a slice of lime.

When choosing a flavoured option, look for a water that contains water and natural flavours. Skip any that contain sugar – they are soft drinks in disguise!

Swap milkshakes for smoothies

Milkshakes are a delicious sweet treat. But what if you could have that sweet and indulgent flavour without using ice cream and syrups and other sugar-laden ingredients?

Enter the humble smoothie. You can make a smoothie taste as good as anything – even a chocolate milkshake. Combine some cocoa with your milk of choice, some frozen banana slices and blend.

You can even sneak in a handful of spinach or a slice or two of avocado – the taste is covered by the chocolate.

smoothie

Swap sausages for seafood

Over the summer, almost every household will fire up the barbie at some point. But rather than eating highly processed sausages and burgers, why not throw some seafood on instead?

Seafood is packed full of satiating protein that keeps you fuller for longer. Most forms of seafood are also good sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Swap chips for popcorn

Sometimes you just want that satisfying and salty crunch. But most chips on the market are full of additives and flavours that aren’t so healthy.

Switch over to popcorn. Popcorn is a good source of fibre, and can help fill you up for relatively few calories. If you want to mix it up, add some spice blends to your popcorn before serving.

If not popping it yourself, make sure you grab a salt or plain flavour.  I’m seeing more and more sweet, cheesy and even salted caramel flavours appearing on the shelves.

Swap biscuits and dip for veggie sticks and dip

There’s nothing wrong with having the occasional cracker. There’s always a Savoy v’s Ritz debate in my house BUT when it comes to biscuits and dip, it’s easy to lose track of portion control.

Instead, switch the biscuits for cucumber, capsicum, celery and carrot sticks. You still get to enjoy your favourite dip, but you’re also including a serve or two of veggies.

Switch salad dressings for homemade dressings

Salad dressings can be a great way to jazz up your salads over summer. But many of the store-bought options are packed full of added sugars and poor-quality fats.

Instead, make your own at home with a few simple ingredients. Combine olive oil with some lemon juice or vinegar and your favourite herbs. For a more convenient option, drizzle salads with balsamic vinegar.

Swap store-bought icy poles for homemade

Icy poles from the supermarket are pretty much frozen sugar water. It’s easy to make your own at home that are not only healthier, but also more flavoursome.

Blend up some of your favourite fruits with some water, and pour into icy-pole moulds. Freeze and serve whenever you need to cool off.

Swap ice cream for nice cream

Over the summer months, it’s tempting to have ice cream for dessert every night. Unfortunately, many ice cream options are filled with sugar and additives. Even the popular ‘low calorie’ options are packed with additives, gums and sweeteners.

Instead, make your own nice cream from scratch.

Take some frozen bananas and blend with your flavours of choice. You can add some natural peanut butter, some berries, or a teaspoon of cocoa to make it chocolatey.

nice cream

If you are looking for more tailored dietary support in 2021, I would love to help you out.  January bookings are almost full, so grab your spot now.

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© 2020 Chantelle Bell Naturopath.