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10 Healthy Food Swaps for Better Health

10 Healthy Food Swaps for Better Health

9 December 2016 by Alpha Pharm Howick

We're smack-bang in the middle of National Nutrition Week AND National Obesity Week! It`s true that exercise is imperative to good health, but bad eating habits are at the centre of the global obesity epidemic. Eating healthily is a lot easier, and even more affordable than most people think.

1. Oats instead of cereals

Most porridges like good ol' traditional Jungle Oats are minimally processed, have zero sugar added, keep you fuller for longer, and offer a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Leave the sugary cereals alone! They're bad for your health and will have you battling a sugar slump before 10am.

2. Honey instead of sugar

Sugar does nothing but provide you with empty calories and a short-lived energy burst. Raw honey is not only sweet but also rich in nutrients. Plus it`s sweeter than sugar so you'll use less of it! Just be sure to limit your use of it.

3. Natural spreads instead of jam

There are so many great natural nut spreads available at supermarkets nowadays. Even popular brands such as Black Cat have a "no sugar or salt added" offering. Jams and other artificial spreads are packed with harmful additives. If you feel like topping your toast with something sweet, opt for honey, or banana.

4. Biltong and nuts instead of chips

Chips are an ever present braai side snack, but they're deep fried in unhealthy fats and incredibly bad for your heart. Not to mention that they're drenched in sodium and chemical flavourings. Biltong, nuts, and even popcorn are far healthier options. Just be sure to opt for variants that are plain or lightly salted.

5. Whole fruit instead of "health bars"

Those "health bars" are probably some of the most unhealthy products in the store! The reality is that most health bars are packed with corn syrup, flavourings, and saturated fat. Not to mention the other things you can't pronounce! Whole fruit such as an apple, banana, or handful of berries make a far better midday snack.

6. Sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes

If you're trying to lose weight, sweet potatoes are a good choice. They're a complex carb which means they're high in fibre and low GI. Plus they're packed with beta carotene and other beneficial nutrients.

7. Extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oils

Many vegetable oils are unrefined and full of inflammatory Omega-6s. Pure olive oil offers heart healthy good fats and is great for use in dressings and low-medium cooking. For cooking at high temperatures opt for coconut oil.

8. Brown rice or quinoa instead of couscous

There's a huge misconception that couscous is a health food. Couscous is made of wheat, and could therefore be likened to a pasta! Quinoa is a protein rich grain similar in texture to couscous, however it can be pricey. Brown rice is an excellent staple since it's high in fibre and low GI.

9. Frozen yoghurt instead of ice cream

Frozen yoghurt is lower in sugar and offers gut health boosting probiotics. What's more, it's easy to make your own! Simply blend your favourite frozen fruit with some plain full cream yoghurt.

10. Homemade instead of store bought

Sure, sometimes you get busy and grab a takeaway on the way home, but that should always be a rarity! Even store bought "home cooked" meals are packed with sodium and preservatives. Similarly a jarred pasta sauce contains far more salt and sugar than necessary. Canned tomatoes, fresh herbs, garlic and seasoning can get you a long way.

As far as is possible, always opt for whole natural foods, and avoid processed and packaged items like the plague! Remember that portion control is also an important aspect of weight management.


17/06/2016, 10 Healthy Alternatives to the "bad" foods we love, Health 24, viewed 12.10.2016 at


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