28 Easy Food Swaps That’ll Help You Lose Weight
Photography by Freepik
Why you need to switch up your food…
We all know our bodies need calcium for bones, vitamin C to fend off colds and chocolate to save relationships. But when it comes to losing weight, the nutritional information is a little more confusing. The mighty trilogy of nutrients – protein, carbohydrates and fat – garners most of the food industry’s attention, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that fibre needs to be the fourth leg of the dietary table.
Study after study shows that not only does fibre help lower your risk of cancer, heart attack and high blood pressure, it also keeps you full and helps you decrease the total amount of kilojoules you consume every day. Trouble is, most of us think that getting the recommended 30g of fibre a day means eating cereal that tastes like the box it comes in. But that isn’t the case. You can sneak fibre into your diet anywhere…
1. Spice up your eggs: A third of a cup of chopped onion and one clove of garlic will add one gram of fibre to scrambled eggs.
2. Drop a whole orange into the blender to flavour your morning smoothie. One peeled orange has nearly three grams more fibre than even the pulpiest orange juice.
3. Make your own fruit juice. Blend peeled, sliced and cored or pitted fresh fruit with a little cold water in a food processor. Drink immediately for the best nutritional value. A 250ml glass has more than one gram of fibre.
4. Cook a bowl of oat bran instead of oats; it has nearly two grams more fibre. Add even more flavour and fibre by stirring in a quarter of a cup of raisins or chopped dates before popping it into the microwave.
5. Sprinkle ground flaxseeds over your favourite cold cereal or stir a few spoonfuls into a cup of yoghurt. Two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds deliver almost an extra two grams of fibre.
6. Grab an Asian pear. Similar in taste to other pears, the red-coloured Asian variety has an apple-like crispness and shape and, at four grams a pear, it delivers significantly more fibre.
7. Buy spreadable fibre, like peanut butter, for your wholewheat toast. Two level tablespoons add three grams of fibre, along with a healthy dose of heart-protecting fats and nutrients like vitamin E.
8. Make a smoothie using fruit or oats, as these contain at least two grams more fibre than blends that aren’t fruit-based or don’t include oats.
9. Try rye bread if you don’t like wholewheat for your sandwich. One slice has almost two grams of fibre – twice the amount found in white bread.
10. Opt for quinoa instead of white rice and you’ll get six times more fibre per serving. Mixing in half a cup of lentils with the quinoa will add a nutty flavour, another six grams of fibre and a boost of folate and manganese.
11. Stow a tin of microwavable soup in your desk for when you need to work through lunch. Woolworths’ Chunky Vegetable Soup packs as much as five grams of fibre per 400g portion.
12. Shower your pasta with origanum or basil. A teaspoon of either chopped herb adds one gram of fibre. Order it with mushrooms and you’ll get an extra gram.
13. Build your burger with a sesame-seed roll instead of the plain variety. Sesame seeds add half a gram of fibre per roll.
14. Order your boerie roll with tomato-and-onion relish Every quarter-cup of the relish you pile on adds up to two grams of fibre to your meal, and having a wholewheat roll tops that up with another three grams.
In the afternoon
15. Drink chocolate milk, not plain milk. The combination of chocolate and the compounds needed to keep it suspended in the milk provides a gram of fibre in every 250ml serving.
16. Pop a pack of reduced-oil popcorn instead of popping open a bag of potato chips. There are eight grams of fibre in every bag of popcorn.
17. Enjoy a tomato juice and its two grams of fibre per 200ml tin. Go with the plain juice and avoid the cocktail version, which is high in sodium from the added salt and Worcester sauce.
18. Graze on trail mix instead of a granola bar. Most granola bars have only one gram of fibre, while trail mix with dried fruit has nearly three grams.
19. Toss half a cup of chickpeas into a pot of your favourite soup. They’ll absorb the flavour of the soup and tack six grams of fibre onto your bottom line.
20. Swap a sweet potato for your standard spud. Sweet potatoes have two grams more fibre per tuber than the typical variety. Not a fan? At least eat the skin of the regular potato – that alone contains one gram of fibre.
21. Go wild when you make rice. Cup for cup, wild rice has three times more fibre than white.
22. Add some green to your red sauce. Doctor your favourite pasta sauce with half a cup of chopped spinach. The spinach will take on the flavour of the sauce and pad your fibre count by more than two grams.
23. Cook wholewheat or spinach pasta instead of the usual semolina kind. A cup of either contains five grams of fibre.
24. Cook broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and you’ll take in three to five grams of fibre per serving – nearly twice what you’ll get out of them if you eat them raw, as heat makes fibre more available.
25. Add beans to give your bolognese a fibre boost. Substitute one part chopped, cooked beans for one part lean-beef mince. Cook both together to allow the beans to absorb the juices and seasoning. For every 100g of cooked beans, you get seven grams of fibre.
26. Say nuts to chocolate bars. Bars with nuts, like Cadbury’s Whole Nut chocolate bar and Lunch Bars, have up to two grams of fibre – almost twice the fibre content of bars without nuts.
27. Top a bowl of ice cream with sliced fresh berries in lieu of a chocolate topping. Half a cup of raspberries provides four grams of fibre; strawberries and blueberries pack half that amount.
28. Try a slice of apple tart or a bowl of fresh fruit salad and you’ll add at least an extra three to five grams of fibre. Cake doesn’t have nearly as much.