If you’ve decided that it’s time your diet had a bit of a health shake up then here’s some perfect ideas to get started with! I’ve always loved the idea of food swaps. Replacing one food with another is much easier to do than changing your whole diet. Don’t underestimate the power of food swaps though - collectively these can add up to a huge difference!
Courgetti - Top of the list has to be courgette spaghetti or courgetti as it’s now been famously named! Brought to public attention by the super healthy Helmsley sisters; this is a swap that can make a huge difference to your health. The swap is simple. Invest in a spiraliser (these can range from a few pounds to much more so do a bit of research and find the one that suits your lifestyle and budget) and wherever you would use wheat-based pasta, you can use ribbons of courgette spaghetti instead. This is a particularly beneficial swap if you’re trying to lose weight, since cutting down on starchy carbohydrates such as pasta can really help to shift extra pounds. It’s also a good one if you’re trying to avoid gluten / wheat or simply want to add a bit more variety to your diet.
Kale Crisps – For most people, the thought of kale crisps is enough to put them off even trying them! However, I urge you to give them a go because they really are much, much better than you might expect! Roughly chop some fresh kale, massage in some olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in the oven on a low heat until the kale is dry and crispy. Enjoy straight out of the oven for a crunchy moreish snack. A perfect swap for potato crisps and so much better for you too!
Cauliflower Mash – Many people rely too heavily on a limited number of foods – for example, white potatoes are a staple of the UK diet yet can contribute to a diet that lacks variety and to weight gain too. Cauliflower mash is a great substitute for potato mash and can be particularly helpful for supporting a healthy weight. Simply steam the cauliflower as normal, mash with milk and olive oil / butter and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper as normal. You can even add some freshly grated nutmeg for a bit of extra spice.
Chickpeas / Lentils – This is a great swap if you’re making a traditional cottage pie or shepherd’s pie. Simply reduce the amount of minced meat you would normally use and add a tin of chickpeas or a mug of washed red lentils instead. If you’re adding cooked chickpeas these can be added towards the end – if you’re adding red lentils these will need to be added earlier to allow time for them to cook. This is a great way to add more vegetable protein in the form of legumes into your diet and reduce your intake of red meat too.
Sweet Potato Wedges – Another easy way to get a bit more variety into your diet is to swap white potato wedges for sweet potato ones instead. Simply slice the sweet potato, place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a pre-heated oven. The bright orange flesh of the sweet potato hints at the high amount of beta-carotene contained within – a crucial nutrient for a well-functioning immune system. Sweet potato is also a lower glycaemic choice than white potato, so will help to keep blood sugar levels nicely balanced. Maintaining blood sugar balance helps to reduce risks of health problems such as Type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome and can help to support a healthy weight too.