Smart Diet Swaps

Ok you are on the diet and following it to the letter – but there are simple swaps that you can make that will accelerate your weight loss.

Or you are quite happy with your weight and want to maintain it and stay healthy? After all you don’t want to get complacent.

We have listed below those subtle differences to your diet that can mean going over the optimum calorie intake or blowing it unnecessarily.

First things, first – who drops into the coffee shop and picks up a full fat latte and muffin on the way to work? We all do! - But this is where you can save 100s of calories by just doing a little substitution. You are just in a habit and you need to break it – remember we are creatures of habit and so after a while you won’t even notice it missing from your day…but you will notice more cash in your purse.

Breakfast on the hoof
Ditch the caffe latte and go for a cappuccino with skinny milk.

CoffeeOr even better just have a coffee with skimmed milk or no milk!. You will save hundreds of calories.

Plus instead of that calorie laden muffin (and if you really need the stodge) go for a piece of banana bread.

Don’t forget that a few hundred calories is OK on a one off basis but multiply that by 5 days and then by 48 weeks and you have the reason why you are steadily putting on weight or can’t seem to shift it.

Better still, iIf your local coffee shop has porridge on the menu go for it. This is your best bet.   It is filling, sustaining and you will definitely not be reaching for a biscuit (or 2) mid-morning (saving even more calories).

Breakfast at home – make the time
Better still before you leave home, cook good old fashioned porridge yourself stick in the microwave, it only takes a couple of minutes and you are set up for whatever the world throws at you. To make up, use water instead of milk – swap sugar for raisins.

But if you think porridge is like eating wallpaper paste? Then look to something you like. Maybe toast, muesli, fruit yoghurt  because the most important thing is that you eat before you leave your house.     This will  avoid being lured into the bakers on the way or having to have the only chocolate biscuits that’s on offer when you nearly faint with hunger mid morning.

If you like toast and marmalade then try and leave out the butter – it doesn’t taste that different. Make the weekends your special treat time and add the butter – after while you won’t bother.

If you must have  bread in your diet swap white bread for wholemeal brown, the calories are the same but you will be satisfied quicker and it is much better for your digestion.

White-Bread Brown-Bread

After a long week maybe you deserve an egg and bacon treat. If so, grill the bacon, blotting off the fat and instead of frying or scrambling eggs with fats, go for poached eggs or scrambled eggs cooked in the microwave – less messy and quicker!

Forget the biscuits and cupcakes.

If you need to, go for an oatcake or ricecake or 2, but for a really healthy alternative swap to celery, carrots and peppers cut up. Or a piece of fruit.

This is a filling snack but also ticks all the boxes on nutrients, fibre and fullness until lunch time.

The most obvious way to smart swap calories is to downsize on portions at lunch and dinner.

You could just pick up a sandwich as usual but have you ever looked at the calories and fat content?
You will be shocked – you could eat half your daily calorie intake in your choice of sandwich and this is just your lunch.

Be smart - check the calories and choose a lower content or if you are set on your choice – take off the top slice and eat an open sandwich adding more protein rich and salad foods. And of course the bread will be wholemeal  because you will have swapped it from white.

Be very careful with prepared soups – the calorie content can be staggering. Make your own if you can, at least you can control fats etc and also put in ingredients that actually sound like food.

But the best bet, is to make a raw veggie salad at home (just chop up whatever is in your fridge), top with your lean protein choice. Don’t spoil it with heavy mayonnaise or shop bought salad dressings.  A really healthy dressing is to mix lemon juice with flaxseed oil ratio - 3 to 1. This is great way to include the super flaxseed oil into your diet, your skin will love you for it. Add herbs for extra flavour and extra health benefits.

Mid-afternoon snack
Vitamin-C-ApricotsIf you must or are following a grazing diet – repeat the advice for mid-morning fruit picnics.

You may want to add some peanut butter to cut up celery sticks (not many of course) for a more fulfilling snack.

This is where you should try to substitute fatty meats for lean meats and fried fish/fish in batter for steamed or stir fried fish.

Fill up the plate with vegetables or salads and you have the perfect choice for a low calorie dinner.

But now you want something sweet to finish off!! There are several choices that won’t tip the balance too much, the first being jelly, especially reduced sugar jelly, keep some made up in the fridge and just dip in. Swap ice cream for fruit sorbet and milk chocolate for dark chocolate (dark chocolate is great because you can only eat a couple of pieces – yes really and it’s Anti Ageing too!).

Milk-Chocolate Black-Chocolate

What to do when being entertained
Observe the rules.

Ignore the offer of bread – this will just fill you up anyway.

Most restaurants are quite clear on the method of cooking and a good establishment will always try and cater for your taste. Try for no more than 2 courses only every time!

At parties – avoid anything in a pastry case or fillings on bread. In fact the safest bet is to go for the crudités and the salad bits.

Substitute crisps for plain popcorn (a great alternative because it will give you lots of good fibre.)

Steer clear of beer and lager ladies – you have only to look at the average male to see where this all ends up. Swap for wine or even better - wine spritzer.

Non alcohol
Not always safe as most fruit juices are packed full of sugar and calories. Swap for a sparkling water with fruit flavouring - where’s the fun we hear you say? But this is just for a short period until you get down to your desired weight and shape.

Family Weekend Roast
This is a killer to anyone’s diet and worse it could upset your mum or the in-laws.

If you are hosting the dinner yourself try out the recipe that a TV chef showed recently on how to cut the calories in a roast dinner (and they said the average was 900+) to half. Check out the website of My Big Fat Diet Show for the recipe.

Not in your hands?
Choose lean meat or cut off fat and choose between the Yorkshire or the Roasties to cut down the damage.

Keep gravy to the minimum.

Forget the trifle or cheesecake, invent an allergy to cream and custard.

Other tips
Instead of pouring a tablespoon of oil as the recipe states use a 1 cal spray and keep the fats to a minimum

Dry fry if possible – some meats have enough fat anyway so no need to add more.

Seal meats quickly by searing before adding to recipes.

Stir Fry
Instead of using oil at  the beginning use water. Most stir fries are a mixture of stir fry and steam anyway. Again once you add your flavourings you will not notice the difference.

Go green for tea
Swap the good old British brew for anti ageing and anti oxidant green tea with a slice of lemon – even if it’s only by one cup a day. Drinking green tea is a great all round do good for your body.


Go halves on something with a friend – two spoons is better than one!

And you probably have your own favourite food swap – share it with us on our blog and we'll let everyone else know too.