Zanna van Dijk returns with her second column. Here are five simple food swaps to ensure you’re eating better…
Now don’t get me wrong. I am all about balance and indulging when you fancy it. I can’t resist a few squares of chocolate or scoops of ice cream. However, even though I would love to spend all day every day chowing down on these delicious treats, I also want to ensure I nourish my body and stay on track with my fitness goals. So, I have come up with a few healthy food swaps that I use to satisfy my cravings but ensure I am still looking after my health.
There is a current craze for nut butter with new brands and flavours materialising on an almost daily basis. This is awesome, as I am a nut butter addict. However, you need to be super careful with the nut butters you consume, especially if you do so in the quantities I get through! Always ensure you read the label and avoid huge ingredient lists or brands containing palm oil – an unsustainable and un-environmentally friendly food source. I highly recommend swapping traditional brands such as Skippy, for more wholesome ones such as Meridian.
Ice cream is awesome. However, I know how easy it can be to polish off a whole tub without even realising it. That’s why I often make my own healthier ice cream alternative. I just blend two frozen bananas with a tablespoon of good quality nut butter and a dash of milk. This forms a thick creamy ice cream, which you can eat straight way or pop in the freezer for half an hour to thicken even further! Top tip: Make sure when you freeze the bananas; they are *very *brown and speckled, to produce the sweetest treat!
Smoothies are an amazing way to start your day and can be super filling and nourishing if done correctly. The issue is with shop-bought smoothies, which are often packed full of sugar, natural sugar, but still sugar. Instead of loading up on these every morning, I recommend making your own. This means you can dictate exactly what goes into it, and it is much more cost efficient. One of my favourite combinations is a frozen banana, a scoop of good quality chocolate protein powder, a tablespoon of cocoa powder, a handful of spinach, a tablespoon of nut butter, a pitted date, a dash of milk and some ice. It makes a thick and filling smoothie, which contains a great balance of carbs, protein and fats. Please note that if you don’t like using protein powder, you can also add in a handful of hemp seeds to get a more natural protein source.
hen you browse the shelves of the supermarket, it seems like every single yoghurt is “low fat” – surely that means they’re healthy right? Sadly not. Often when these brands remove the fat from yoghurt, they add in other ingredients to improve the flavour, namely sugar. Check the label and you’ll see that a serving can contain 13g of sugar or more! Instead, I recommend choosing natural greek yoghurt such as Fage, which is packed full of protein. The full-fat version is my favourite, as it is particularly satiating.
Protein is pretty trendy. Every energy bar seems to be displaying their “high protein” content as a badge of honour. But you need to be careful, as just because a bar contains protein – it doesn’t mean it is healthy. It may be just as processed as a regular snack bar, with a huge ingredients list that you can’t pronounce. Instead, look out for energy bars that have minimal ingredients and a balanced macronutrient ratio. Some of my favourites are Raw Bite bars and Jimminies (which are made with sustainable cricket protein powder – I promise you can’t taste it!).
The reoccurring theme with my five food swaps is to just be conscious in what you’re eating, to read the label and to educate yourself on what you’re putting into your body. Don’t believe the ‘healthy’ labels. Take control into your own hands, make a better choice or go one step further and make your own homemade alternative. It is often easier and quicker than you think!