What will you swap today?
With the chills of winter well and truly upon us, it’s often difficult to stick to that diet.
Most of us know that having a hearty burger loaded with bacon, cheese and lashings of mayo isn’t the healthiest option.
But tweaking some of the ingredients could slash the calories and mean you’re able to still enjoy those splurges while keeping slim.
UK dietitian Helen Bond suggests ditching the potato wedges and vanilla ice cream for some low fat healthier equivalents.
We reveal her top 15 swaps that could shave more than 1500 calories off your diet — and there’s even a fruity cocktail and a delicious dessert thrown in for good measure.
1. Swap: Potato wedges for butternut squash wedges
Butternut squash is a great low-carb alternative to potatoes.
Dr Bond says: “Just three heaped tablespoons of butternut squash counts as one of your five a day.
“They’re high in vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C and E as well as fibre.”
125g Potato wedges contain: 173kcals, 4g fat, 0.4g sat fat, 0.5g sugars and 0.5g salt.
125g Butternut squash wedges contain: 49 kcal, 0.1g fat, 0g sat fat, 4.8g sugars, 4g fibre and 0.01g salt.
2. Swap: Spaghetti for zucchini spirals
This simple swap from spaghetti to a spiralised zucchini substitute could save you a whopping 211 calories.
The vegetable version is also virtually fat free at 0.6g per 150g serving.
To make zucchini spaghetti simply put it through a spiraliser, or you could even use a peeler for a similar ribbon effect.
Most of the leading supermarkets also now stock pre-made zucchini pasta for around $3.
Dr Bond says this version is “a great source of potassium, folate and carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin — two antioxidants that help keep eyes healthy.”
150g Spaghetti contains: 239 kcals, 2.3g fat, 0.4g sat fat, 0.9g sugars and 2.9g fibre.
150g zucchini pasta contains: 37.5 kcals, 0.6g fat, 0.2g sat fat, 2.8g sugars and 4.1g fibre.
3. Swap: A slice of chocolate cheesecake for strawberries dipped in chocolate
Changing this decadent dessert for an equally delicious fruit option could cut the calories in half.
A slice of chocolate cheesecake is 362 calories and 24.6g of fat while strawberries dipped in chocolate is 170 calories and 8.8g of fat.
A slice chocolate cheesecake (90g): 362 kcals, 24.6g fat, 13.5g sat fat, 20.8g sugars, 1.7g fibre and 0.3g salt.
100g of strawberries plus four square of chocolate contains: 170 kcals, 8.8g fat, 4.74g sat fat, 15.6g sugars, 4.1g fibre and 0.1g salt.
4. Swap: Cous cous salad for quinoa salad
Dr Bond says: “Quinoa isn’t a true grain like wheat or rye, so it’s suitable for those with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity.“It has more iron than other grains and it’s a source of energy giving magnesium, folic acid and copper.
“Quinoa is a complete protein that will keep you fuller for longer.
“Another plus, is the gut healthy fibre it brings — adding a respectable 3.6g towards your daily 30g total.”
Cous Cous Salad (150g): 268 kcals, 1.5g fat, 0.3g sat fat, 1.4g sugars, 3.3g fibre and 0.02g salt.
Quinoa Salad (150g): 163 kcals, 2.6g fat, 0.3g sat fat, 3g sugars, 3.6g fibre and 0.1g salt.
5. Swap: Pork sausages for salmon steak (flesh only)
Sausages provide nearly half of the daily maximum recommended amount for saturated fat — plus 33 per cent maximum recommended amount for salt.
Meanwhile salmon contains a huge 36.9g of protein per serving.
Dr Bond says: “Salmon is high in vitamin D (11.7mcg per serving) and E (5.9mg per serving), phosphorus (393g per serving) and heart health omega-3 fats (5g).”
Three sausages (120g) contains: 357 kcals, 26.5g fat, 9.6g sat fat, 1.7g sugars, 2.8g fibre and 2g salt.
Salmon steak (150g) contains: 358 kcals, 23.4g fat, 4.4g sat fat, 0g sugars, 0g fibre and 0.2g salt.
6. Swap: Cheddar cheese for feta cheese
Cheese is considered a good source of fat, which is essential for a balanced diet.
But don’t go overboard on the cheddar — because it contains more calories than some of the milder cheeses like brie and feta.
30g (matchbox size) cheddar cheese: 125 kcals, 10.5g fat, 6.5g sat fat, 0.03g sugars, 0g fibre and 0.6g salt.
30g brie: 103 kcals, 8.7g fat, 5.5g sat fat, 0g sugars, 0g fibre and 0.4g salt.
30g Feta: 75 kcals, 6.1g fat, 4.1g sat fat, 0.4g sugars, 0g fibre and 0.8g salt.
7. Swap: Mayonnaise for mashed avocado
Half an avocado is one of your five-a-day and is rich in cholesterol lowering mono-unsaturated fat and packed with antioxidant vitamin E.
1 tbsp mayonnaise (15ml) contains: 108 kcals, 11.9g fat, 0.9g sat fat and 0.2g sugars.
A quarter of an avocado (35g) contains: 68 kcal, 6.9g fat, 1.6g sat fat, 0.2g sugars and 1.6g fibre.
8. Swap: Piña colada cocktails for spiced pineapple mule
They’re a delicious fruity summery drink — perfect for sipping while hanging by the pool.
But if you’ve got the option to make it at home, swap the creamy original for a lower calorie option.
Piña coladas made with Bacardi, coconut cream, and pineapple juice, contain: 245 kcals, 18.6g sugars, 6.3g fat, 5.1g saturated fat.
Spiced pineapple mule, made with Captain Morgan’s spiced rum, pineapple juice, diet ginger beer, 2 dashes angostura bitter, contains 143 calories.
9. Swap: White long grain rice for cauliflower rice
This easy swap is a bit like zucchini spaghetti. The cauliflower rice gives the same texture as the white long grain rice but with a lot less calories.
Cauliflower is also a lower GI food and a great source of fibre, potassium, folate and vitamin C, Dr Bond says.
150g (size of a tennis ball) serving cooked white rice contains: 215 kcals, 0.6g fat, 0.1g sat fat and 0g sugars.
150g serving cauliflower rice contains: 51 kcals, 1.4g fat, 0.3g sat fat and 3.8g sugars.
10. Swap: Ham and cheese sandwiches for poached salmon sandwiches
As the easy go-to finger food, sandwiches are almost unavoidable at parties and around lunchtime.
But if you’ve got the option of bringing your own, ditch the ham and cheese for a poached salmon and watercress filling instead.
And despite a recent study suggesting white bread is just as healthy as brown, Dr Bond says stick to the wholemeal.
She added: “Cut down on fat, sat fat, salt and boost gut health fibre, plus packing a omega-3 punch for heart and brain health with the salmon sandwiches.”
Two ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread contains: 466kcals, 21.6g fat, 10.7g sat fat, 3.4g sugars, 2.13g salt and 2.2g fibre.
Poached salmon and watercress on brown bread contains: 353kcals, 12g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 3.6g sugars, 0.8g salt and 3.8g fibre.
11. Swap: Mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower
It’s perhaps one of the best sides when you go to the pub. But a serving (one cup) of mashed potato clocks up 116 calories alone.
Sub out the spuds of a cauliflower alternative — which offer almost a day’s worth of vitamin C and just 27 calories per cup.
12. Swap: Brioche buns for sourdough bread
Sourdough contains over 60 per cent less fat and 80 per cent less saturated fat than brioche bread.
Dr Bond adds: “It’s a low GI compared to white brioche bread, so will help you feel fuller for longer, meaning you will eat less — a good choice if you are trying to lose weight.
“The acid in the sourdough breaks down some of the starches making it easier to digest.
“Watch out though, it is still bread of course, so control your portions and pay attention to what you serve it with.
“To keep calories down further, choose a medium — rather than a thick — sliced loaf.”
White brioche bun (68g) contains: 186kcals, 3.9g fat, 1.8g sat fat, 4.4g sugars and 0.4g salt.
Sourdough (80g/ 1/5 loaf) contains: 190kcals, 1.4g fat, 0.2g sat fat, 1.9g sugars, 0.7g salt.
13. Swap: Granola for porridge
The wintry morning call for a filling breakfast.
A 40g serving of cooked oats contains just 143 calories, 3 grams of fat and 3.7g sugar. Sprinkling 10 fresh blueberries onto your porridge adds natural sweetness for just 8 calories.
Meanwhile, a 45g serving of Jordans Crunchy Oat Granola with berries is 192 calories, contains 6.1g of fat and 7.7g of sugar.
14. Swap: Taramasalata for tomato salsa
Dips can be a bit of a minefield when it comes to knowing where to dunk your snacks.
Why not swap a creamy Greek taramasalata for a fresh, healthy tomato salsa for a snip of the calories and fat content.
And think about what you’re dipping in there too — switching tortilla chips for carrot batons make it a super healthy snack.
A quarter pot (50g) of taramasalata contains: 258 kcals, 26.3g fat, 1.8g sat fat, 0.8g sugars and 0.6g salt.
Tortilla chips (40g): 199 kcals, 10.4g fat, 1.0g sat fat, 1.0g sugars, 0.56g salt, fibre 2.7g.
Total = 457 kcals, 36.7g fat, 2.8g saturated fat.
A quarter pot (50g) of tomato salsa contains: 22 kcals, 0.8g fat, 0.1g sat fat, 2.3g sugars, 0.3g salt and 0.6g fibre.
Carrot batons (2 med carrots /134g) contains: 57 kcals, 0.5g fat, 0.1g sat fat, 9.3g sugars, 5.2g fibre and 0.1g salt.
Total = 79 kcals, 1.3g fat, 0.2g sat fat, 5.8g fibre..
15. Swap: Chips for a handful of walnuts
This one might be slightly controversial as the chips are both lower in calories and fat than the walnuts.
But 83 per cent of the fats they contain is the heart-healthy polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fat, that help benefit in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.
Dr Bond says: “Walnuts contain a powerhouse of nutrients essential for good health.
“Walnuts have a low GI and provide fibre and protein, three ingredients that help us feel fuller for longer.
“And studies are showing that not all of the fat and in turn calories in nuts is absorbed.
“Even the texture may help to boost satiety: they’re crunchy, so take some effort to eat.
“Unlike crisps, walnuts — like most nuts, walnuts provide a wide range of nutrients, but they contain a good source of plant omega-3 fatty acids.
“Walnuts are a low GI food, which means they provide a slow, steady, release of energy, and are rich in manganese and copper that are needed for energy production and can help prevent tiredness and fatigue by transporting iron in the body.”
Crisps 25g packet contains: 132 kcals, 8g fat, 0.7g sat fat, 0.1g sugars.
Handful of walnuts (30g) contains: 206 kcals, 20.6g fat, 2.3g sat fat, 0.8g sugars.