Helen’s Ten top food swaps

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With Christmas approaching, there’s lots of food around to be enjoyed and savoured with family and friends. This is definitely a time of year when celebration is “forefront and centre” in our minds – and food is such an important part of that! So how can we still enjoy the celebrations, the social aspects AND the food, and still keep it healthy?
Here are some food swap ideas that can help you keep your meals over the festive season wonderfully nutritious:

  1. Fruit instead of juice: You probably wouldn’t eat four whole apples in a row – but did you know it takes around that much to make one cup of apple juice? Snack onwhole fruit for a good dose of dietary fibre, which will keep you feeling full and satisfied.
  2. Wholegrain bread instead of white: Wholegrain has double the fibre of white bread and a much lower glycaemic index, so will keep hunger pains at bay throughout the afternoon.
  3. Grilled instead of fried: It’s not just what you cook, but howyou cook that makes all the difference. Methods like grilling save on kilojoules as they don’t rely on added fats or oils.
  4. Avocado instead of butter: Unlike butter (which is predominantly saturated fat), avocado is packed with healthy fats that can boost heart health.
  5. Herbs and spices instead of salt: We know too much salt puts us at risk of high blood pressure, so add fresh or dried aromatics instead, like basil, coriander, parsley, cinnamon, cumin, and paprika.
  6. Natural yoghurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise: As well as being lower in saturated fat, natural yoghurt has more than double the protein of sour cream or mayonnaise, plus provides a source of calcium for bone health.
  7. Turkey breast instead of processed meat:The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend we limit processed meats, like salami and ham, due to their saturated fat and salt content. Lean turkey breast is a delicious and healthy alternative.
  8. Olive oil instead of coconut oil.Coconut oil is often promoted as a ‘superfood’, but it’s rich in saturated fat – which is linked with a higher risk of heart disease. So cook with unsaturated oils such as olive, sunflower and canola oil.
  9. Water instead of soft drink: Soft drinks are packed with sugars, and their acidity is linked with tooth decay.Ditch soft drinks and stick to water (you’ll save around 670kJ and 10 teaspoons of sugar by choosing water over a can of regular soft drink).
  10. Mineral water instead of wine: You might be surprised to know that alcohol is heavy on the kilojoules. Skipping that second round will save you around 500kJ – or the equivalent found in two slices of bread.

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