Easy food swaps to make your meals healthier

If your guilty pleasure is indulging in foods you know aren’t good for you we’ve got some good news.

Let’s face it, when Friday night finally swings around, there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch with a glass of wine and indulging in some comfort food. And why not? You deserve it for making it through another busy week, right?

Well, you have worked hard, and you should reward yourself, but depending on what you eat, your body won’t be thanking you for the indulgence in the followings days. While that big bowl of creamy pasta followed by chocolate slathered ice-cream may have seemed like a good idea at the time, the following morning, you may be living with a bit of regret.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! With a few small tweaks to the ingredients list of your favourite Friday night meals, you can still indulge in something delicious! The secret is to replace less healthy ingredients with healthier plant-based foods without compromising on flavour. Trust us, your body will thank you for it!

Here we present some genius ways to health-up your favourite comfort foods.


Swap refined pasta for zucchini noodles

If you haven’t yet discovered the amazing world of spiralised vegetables, this is going to totally rock your world. This is a great way to get more vegetables in your diet without compromising on taste.  From zucchini to carrots, butternut squash to sweet potato, beetroot to parsnips, vegetable noodles are the easiest and tastiest pasta alternative on the planet.

To swap standard pasta with ‘vegetable pasta’, get your hands on a spiraliser, grab a peeler or just use a knife to cut your vegetables into pasta-like strips. They’re quick to cook, too! You can either boil them for a few minutes to soften or fry them in a little oil until tender.


Swap ice-cream desserts with a delicious smoothie

Whether it’s ice-cream, chocolate pudding, rice custard or a Crème Brule, there’s nothing more decadent than devouring a delicious dessert after dinner. But unfortunately, they’re mostly laden with excess calories and fat and there’s certainly healthier ways to indulge your excess calories, sugar and fat.

You want a dessert that packs a nutritional punch, has no artificial preservatives or flavourings and is easy to prepare, right?… Then you need to try a smoothie with coconut water.

Coconut water is the clear, sweet liquid found at the centre of young, green coconuts and is absolutely brimming with the good stuff.  Choose your favourite fruits, seeds, nuts, perhaps some honey, buzz them together in your blender with coconut water and voila!  Just remember to watch the portion size as very large smoothies can be high in calories and sugar.


Swap white rice for cauliflower rice

Rice is nice, but it’s just too easy to overindulge on it so try swapping it for a vegetable alternative. Cauliflower is a healthy cruciferous vegetable. It contains nutrients such as Vitamins C, K and B6, potassium and fibre, is low in calories and is absolutely delicious.

Cauliflower rice is also really easy to make. You can pulse florets in the food processor or grab a knife and roughly shave the ‘rice’ from the florets. They’re easy to cook, too – just heat up a little oil in a pan and stir until tender.


Swap deep-fried for baked

Nothing says indulgence like deep-fried food. From hot chips to chicken, fish to Mars Bars, is there anything that can’t be deep-fried?

There is nothing wrong with fat – fat is good if it’s the right type.  Avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oils and oily fish contain good unsaturated fats.  Many takeaway foods are fried in oils that are not healthy.

Deep frying concentrates fats in the product which add to excess calories.  Baking with a little plant oil is a better choice.  Splash veggies, meat or fish with extra virgin olive oil, season and bake to crispy.  Yum.

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