health

6 realistic and healthy food swaps you'll never find in a glossy magazine.

‘When you’re craving a big, juicy burger, with a meat patty and a whole heap of mayo and two overly sugary buns… a piece of fruit is just not going to cut it.’

By NATALIA HAWK

I love a fitness or health tip. I have pages and pages ripped out of magazines and filed away, and hundreds of articles bookmarked on my computer, so that I can go back and get inspiration whenever I need it.

But what I don’t love is how unrealistic some healthy food swaps  can be.

You know the type. “Swap an apple for a Big Mac!” “Swap a chocolate bar for six almonds!” The type that might be great in theory but are really just a cop-out. Because when you’re craving a big, juicy burger, with a meat patty and a whole heap of mayo and two overly sugary buns… a piece of fruit is just not going to cut it.

You know it. Your brain knows it. You eat that apple – but end up craving a burger more than ever. So then you binge, on that Big Mac AND a side of large chips, and after everything, you just feel even worse.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Norbu. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

So here are the healthy food swaps I’ve incorporated into my life in an attempt to be healthier, and yet not completely deprive myself:

So you can’t have a coffee without sugar in it? Natural sweeteners are the way to go.

1.      Swap refined sugar for natural sweetener

So you can’t have a coffee without sugar in it. Or you can’t possibly face a world without the promise of freshly baked goods on a Saturday morning – cakes, cupcakes, muffins, banana bread, brownies, the list goes on…

The good news is that there are natural and low calorie sweeteners available if you’re not so happy about the amounts of refined white (or even brown) sugar you’re adding into your coffee or your baking on a regular basis. A good choice is Norbu. It is unlike other artificial sweeteners as it is completely natural with no nasty additives, and has 97% fewer calories than sugar. Swapping white sugar for natural sweetener is such an easy way to immediately improve on what you’re eating/drinking every day – and you won’t even notice the difference.

2.      Swap spreads for better spreads

My morning isn’t complete without toast and a delicious spread to accompany the toast. But for so many years, I was consuming spreads with a lot of hidden sugar and fats – jams, chocolate spreads (how have these been somehow disguised as a breakfast food?) and even peanut butter. Tablespoons and tablespoons of the stuff. Not a good thing to have in your belly before the day’s even started.

So instead, try your local health food store for a plethora of spreads that are all-natural and equally as tasty – various nut spreads (not just peanut butter) as well as other options such as date spread. When all else fails, there’s always The Greatest Food In The World: avocado. YUM.

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3.      Swap chocolate for dark chocolate or cacao treats

There is no nutritional benefit in milk chocolate and white chocolate isn’t even chocolate. I know – I was horrified too. But don’t stress, because there is endless evidence out there to support the nutritional benefits behind dark chocolate. Just stick to the 70% stuff and go organic where you can.

Cacao treats are also a fantastic option – organic cacao powder is so readily available in health food shops these days and it can be used to make a huge range of treats that taste just as good as the most indulgent of chocolate-y items. I like making bliss balls (cacao powder, coconut oil, almond meal, dates and a bit of protein powder all pulsed in a food processor – then rolled into balls and through desiccated coconut) and cacao/coconut brittle, but there are endless recipes out there on the web that you can try out.

‘Make popcorn every time you get a craving for chips.’

4.      Swap chips for popcorn

Buy your own popcorn maker – they go for less than twenty bucks these days – and make popcorn every time you get a craving for chips. Not only will it be much cheaper in the long run but it’s much better for you – 3 cups of popcorn contains only 92 calories and is still a wholegrain snack. It also won’t contain any hidden nasties, like MSG, which is present in most bags of chips.

Although plain popcorn is pretty dry and awful, you can dress it up with olive oil and Italian herbs, or honey. Alternatively, give vege chips a go – you can make your own with kale, sweet potato or beetroot.

5.      Swap white for brown

Brown rice. Brown pasta. Brown bread. I admit brown bread doesn’t really taste like white – but in terms of pasta and rice, you won’t notice the difference AT ALL.

6.      Swap soft drink for infused water

Summer is quickly approaching and it’s time to take advantage of all those seasonal fruits. Best way to do it? Pop them into a jug of water, leave it overnight in the fridge, and enjoy the next day in place of your regular soft drinks or juices.

I personally like raspberry-infused water but you can dream up all sorts of combinations. Raspberry + mint + lemon, anyone? Or maybe a cucumber and mint combination? Or you could freeze chunks of watermelon and use them in place of ice cubes – sky’s the limit…

Thinking of swapping sugar for Norbu? This Festive season is the perfect time to do so!  Bake your favourite Christmas recipes with Norbu and you could win amazing prizes with the Festive Sugar Free Bake Off! There is $2000 worth of prizes to be won! For more information, click here.  Have a healthy and guilt free Christmas with Norbu!

 

The best-kept ancient secret has now been revealed, Norbu! The 100% natural Sweetener. With only 0.5 calories per serve it is the answer to all your sugar worries without compromising on taste. Without the use of any artificial nasties, Norbu harnesses the clean sweet taste of the Monk fruit to create the sweetest compliment to your beverage or food. Monk fruit or Luo Han Guo is a small green melon grown in the hillsides of central Asia. Used for generations and only recently taken the wider world by a storm with its unique healthy properties.  Norbu, the sweetest monk is the answer to all our healthy living prayers.

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