Snack Swaps - 10 small changes for a health transformation

Getting in shape truly is a matter of quality over quantity. Whilst portion control is widely advised by nutritionists, a healthier diet doesn’t have to mean ditching snacks and restricting your food intake to a strict 3 meals a day. Being smart with your snacks can be more beneficial for your health than skipping them altogether and so forming good snacking habits is worth the investment, in the long term. Just small improvements can make all the difference, and so here’s some useful tips to help you make the small swaps for a big change in your long term health!

1. Cappuccino >>> White Tea For many, a morning without a rich, fresh mug of coffee or three is unthinkable. Coffee itself does provide some substantial health benefits, in fact recent research suggests a coffee-a-day could even help you live longer. However, the sugar and full-fat milk in drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes is counteractive and means that your bog-standard ‘cup of joe’ becomes a 150 calorie-a-day contribution to poorer health, weight gain and all manner of associated problems. Swap it out for some antioxidant-rich tea and you’ll get your caffeine fix for almost 100% less calories! 2. Potato Crisps - Roasted Chickpeas When it comes to savoury snacks, sure crisps might satisfy your cravings, but that comes at a high cost in the form of fat, salt and calories. That’s before you even consider the other chemicals involved and their effects. Roasted chickpeas can be bought in most supermarkets in ready-to-eat form or even roasted yourself. Containing all the fiber of crisps, at only 95 calories for a 25-gram serving, and packed full of protein, they make an ideal substitute for your bag of fat masquerading as potatoes!

3. Chocolate Bar >>> Protein Bar The next time those sweet-toothed cravings kick in and you feel drawn to the nearest vending machine in search of some sugary, chocolatey goodness, consider this: The average chocolate bar contains around 200 calories and a whopping 12g of fat, and that’s without even considering ‘king-sized’ bars, or ‘deluxe’ or ‘double-size’ versions which of course all far exceed these amounts. Protein bars, on the other hand are often flavored with chocolate to satiate those deep cravings, but typically only come with a third of the fat (even less if you’re carefully selective!). The high protein content is also super helpful for all sorts of reasons, including: Filling you up, improving your muscle mass, promoting healthy brain function and stabilizing your blood sugar levels! 4. Dried Fruit >>> Fresh Fruit While it may seem more convenient, easier to store & carry, and just as healthy as fresh fruit, dried fruit is actually packed full of sugar. Just a 50 gram serving, for example, contains three times as much sugar as the same quantity of fresh fruit. The simple healthy swap here, is to always buy and eat fresh fruit ahead of the dried variety and take another step towards healthier eating habits!

5. Crackers and dip >>> Raw Vegetables and Dip They might be a quick and easy snack, but your average cracker, crammed full of salt and refined carbs, is no smart snack choice. When dunked in a fatty dip, this creates a far from healthy combination. Luckily though, the nutritional value of this staple snack can be very easily improved. Replace those crackers with chopped, raw vegetables to cut the calories and boost your fibre intake. Carrots, cucumber and celery are just a few of the ideal veg for dipping! Be sure you then choose low fat dips wherever possible to ensure you get the full benefit of this swap. 6. White Bread >>> Seeded Wholemeal One convenient, yet significant swap to make in pursuit of healthier snacks is the switch from white bread to wholemeal seeded. Wholemeal has the nutritional advantage over it’s white alternative because the process of making white bread literally involves removing some key nutrients that are maintained in wholemeal. These include vitamins B and E, magnesium, zinc and folic acid, aswell as much greater amounts of fiber. The seeds mean that the bread takes much longer to digest, leaving you fuller for longer. A seeded wholmeal can cost the same or similar, and is just as good at holding your sandwich together. In fact, it’s generally indistinguishable from white in almost every way, making this a super easy swap to make.

7. Sugar-coated cereal >>> Porridge While many added-sugar cereals do bring some benefits through being fortified with vitamins, the extra calories and sugar don’t set you up for a good day. Oats, however, contain soluble fibre which helps to improve gut health as well as lower cholesterol. All this without the sugar or calories of your box frosty flakes. Just be sure you don’t add lots of additional sugar to the bowl in the form of honey and syrup! 8. Milk chocolate >>> Dark Chocolate If you’re desperate for a chocolate fix and find yourself regularly reaching for a bar of smooth, milky goodness, you’re filling your body with mouthfuls of unnecessary sugar and carbs. Switch out your go-to bars for dark alternatives, which are lower in sugar and carbs and a great source of natural antioxidants! This switch means you can take steps in a healthier direction and still satisfy your inner chocoholic!

9. Peanuts >>> Walnuts Nuts are a super handy snack for at work or on the go, but depending on your choice of variety, you could be consuming more fat then you realise. Peanuts are perhaps the most common snackable nut, but they actually contain a very high percentage of saturated (bad) fats relative to, for example, walnuts. Swap your peanuts for walnuts and enjoy the benefits in the form of extra omega 3’s and healthy fats. Unlike peanuts, walnuts don’t tend to be sold salted so your blood pressure will also thank you for making this switch! 10. Fruit Juice >>> Fresh Fruit Next time you pour yourself a big glass of apple juice or OJ, before you take a gulp, remind yourself that you’re about to consume twice the amount of sugar than you’d get if you got your teeth into an actual apple or orange instead. So, next time, make the swap and you’ll feel healthier and just as refreshed! Not to mention the added fiber to be gained from eating a whole fruit.