Weight loss is a difficult task any time of year, but it can feel especially difficult on the short and cold days of January. But as a new year starts, people across the UK are trying to revise their diet and fitness. A great way to help you lose weight is to swap out healthy foods instead of just cutting out foods entirely.
Here are six alternative healthy food suggestions that Darren Kirby, fitness expert and founder of Fitter Healthier Dad, used on his weight loss journey of 28 kg.
And remember, always drink plenty of water – you should try to consume about two to three liters a day.
Switch to oatmeal (add maple syrup and / or cinnamon for cinnamon)
Microwave-safe oatmeal sachets are high in refined sugar. You can easily swap this out for oatmeal.
If you still want that sweet hit, add maple syrup or cinnamon for the sweetness. This has a low glycemic index (GI) which is good for sustained energy and lower blood sugar
Just measure 35g of porridge into a bowl, cover with water or milk / milk substitute and microwave for one and a half to two minutes.
35 g of porridge and a tablespoon of white sugar – 196 calories
35 g of oatmeal and a tablespoon of maple syrup – 188 calories
Margarine / spreads
Switch to real butter
While margarine spreads are easier to spread and may appear healthier, they contain many manufactured fats that cause inflammation that affects our overall weight and health.
Real grass butter is a better alternative because it contains good, healthier fats that are better for our gut and brain function.
One tablespoon of margarine spread – 102 calories
One tablespoon of unsalted butter – 102 calories (plus benefits of healthy fats)
DO NOT MISS
Switch to quinoa
Pasta has become a staple in the Western diet, but it is a fast-releasing carbohydrate. This means that when we exercise less, we are not using the fuel that the rapidly metabolizing carbohydrates provide. So try swapping pasta for quinoa.
Quinoa is cooked like pasta, but it’s also a low GI carbohydrate and also contains protein, which is great for feeling full longer.
A cup of pasta – 221 calories
A cup of quinoa – 170 calories
Switch to sweet potatoes
White potatoes have also become an important part of our diet. Yes, it is a carbohydrate that our body needs, but it has a high glycemic index so it is converted to sugar very quickly to be used as energy and our bodies cannot process everything. This means that the excess is stored as fat.
A really good alternative is sweet potato, which has far fewer calories. It is a low GI carbohydrate that enters the bloodstream more slowly over a long period of time.
Top tip – sweet potatoes are excellently roasted in the oven with a little olive oil or mashed with real butter.
One serving of white potatoes – 280 calories
One serving of sweet potatoes – 114 calories
Switch to dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa)
With its high cocoa content, dark chocolate has been linked to many health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and lowering blood pressure.
Dark chocolate contains 50 to 90 percent cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar, while milk chocolate contains 10 to 50 percent cocoa solids.
Cocoa is rich in plant chemicals called flavonoids, which can help protect the heart. Dark chocolate contains up to two to three times more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate. Always choose brands with a cocoa content of more than 70 percent.
Top tip – instead of buying a large bar, buy smaller bars and limit yourself to small amounts each day instead of consuming a whole 100g bar.
A serving of milk chocolate (28 g) – 150 calories
One serving of dark chocolate (28 g) – 136 calories