Of the most important things about eating healthily is consistency. If you restrict yourself too much, you'll end up craving certain foods which very often results in binging. On the other hand, if you eat chocolate/sweets every day then you won't get the results you are after. So there's a fine line that we have to try and work with.
Most 'diets' tend to cut out certain foods e.g. low carb, no sugar, no gluten, no dairy and so on. But in reality, we can't live by strict rules like this all the time - it's just not sustainable long term. It is much better to have rough guidelines which you can adapt when appropriate. So, instead of telling you which foods to avoid and not giving you any clues about which foods you can actually eat, I'm going to run through 5 quick and easy food swaps you can make which will make your diet much healthier.
1) Flavoured yogurt - greek/natural yogurt
Flavoured yogurts are normally loaded with sugar so you are much better off opting for a Greek yogurt and adding a handful of berries to give it a bit of sweetness. Make sure you watch out for 'Greek-style yogurt' though as these are not the same as actual Greek yogurt (and often still have added sugar/sweetener in!).
2) Fries - roasted sweet potato
Instead of choosing the deep-fried option at dinner, try some roasted sweet potato instead. Drizzle small cubes of sweet potato with coconut oil (I love the brand Pure Naturally) and some cinnamon. Not only will they taste sweet and delicious but cinnamon is also great for lowering blood sugar levels.
3) Vegetable oil - olive oil/coconut oil
I've spoken lots about the harm of vegetable oil in the diet (which you can read about here) so this is a pretty easy swap to make. If cooking at a high eat e.g. frying then use some good quality coconut oil as it can be cooked to high temperatures without becoming unstable. I use extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings or roasting veggies - yum!
4) Fruit juice - smoothie
By now you probably know what I think about juices (see blog post here). Having a smoothie instead of a fruit juice will give you a lot more fibre which slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream (therefore reducing your insulin spike). The fibre also makes the drink a lot more filling and you can add yummy fats too... nut butter anyone?
5) Milk chocolate - dark chocolate
It's pretty obvious that chocolate bars aren't on the top of the list of foods to eat when you are trying to be healthy. They are what we call 'empty calories' e.g. calories with no nutritional value. However, a simple swap from milk chocolate to dark chocolate (70% cocoa or above) makes a huge difference! Dark chocolate has antioxidant properties and also contains magnesium which is essential for our health! I love melting a couple of squares of dark chocolate for dipping strawberries in... perfect post-dinner snack!
As you can see from this, eating healthily doesn't mean you have to only eat meat and veggies or make any dramatic changes to your diet. It's just about making healthy food choices when you have the chance - just a few simple changes can hugely increase the health of your diet. By all means enjoy fries or milk chocolate every now and again, but the majority of the time you would be better off swapping them for the healthier option :)
Can you think of any simple food swaps I've missed out? Let me know in the comments below!