This month, Champneys Senior Nutritionist Becki Douglas is giving you her dos and don’ts for next time you’re doing your food shop. In her first post of the two part series, she gave us the low down on what you can snack on without feeling guilty and which fruit you might want to avoid. Now, she tells you what to foods to swap out for healthier alternatives, and the hidden calories you’ve been ordering at the bar.

Sandwiches

sandwich

Rather than a normal two slices of bread sandwich, you could do an open sandwich using one slice of rye bread. It’s more nutritious, contains more vitamin B, which is good for energy production, and it’s higher in fibre. You can also get wheat-free rye bread for those who don’t tolerate wheat. By having only one slice of bread, you not only help cut the calories, but you’ve also got a bit more room to add toppings because you aren’t trying to fit them in between two slices of bread. A nice thing to do could be easy, homemade mackerel pate – blitz up a mackerel fillet with low-fat natural yogurt, lemon juice, capers and celery – which is good for omega 3, and goes really nicely with some cucumber and mixed leaves on an open sandwich.

Meat

meat

Limit the red meat and why not give game and some more exotic meats a go this barbecue season – ostrich burgers are a good option, as are venison sausages. Ostrich burgers are leaner than the staple beef burger, so they’re lower in total fat and saturated fat. They’re a great source of protein and full of iron, zinc, magnesium and minerals. Another tip is to trim away any visible fat from the meat before cooking.

Dips & sauces

dips

Replace mayonnaise or creamy dips with low-fat plain yogurt-based ones. Try a tzatziki-style dip with cucumber and garlic and mint, or yogurt with lemon and dill goes nicely with fish dishes. If you replace a tablespoon of mayonnaise with a tablespoon of dressing made with low-fat yogurt, you’d probably be saving at least 100 calories, which is quite a big difference. If you wanted to make some healthier oil-based dressings, or marinades, you can use things like flax seed oil, which is really good for omega 3, and, when mixed with sesame seeds, honey, ginger and garlic, makes a great kebab marinade for a barbeque.

Desserts

cake

You can still have your cake and eat it! But rather than that calorific cream cake laden with saturated fat and sugar, why not try a surprisingly delicious vegetable cake, such as chocolate and beetroot instead? The vegetables help to lower the calories, but add moisture, fibre and nutrients without needing excess sugar and flour. If baking yourself, you can use sugar substitutes, such as agave syrup, to lower the calories by 25% and eliminate the negative effects of sugar. You could also switch the plain flour for a wholegrain variety, or add in some alternatives like buckwheat or quinoa flour, which are gluten free and will increase the vitamin and mineral content too.

Non-alcoholic drinks

drink

Just because it’s a 100% not-from-concentrate fruit juice, that doesn’t mean you can drink gallons of the stuff. Pure fruit juice can contain as many calories and as much sugar as some fizzy drinks, so beware. There’s a big thing about green smoothies at the moment. Blending rather than juicing helps to maintain the fibre and the nutrients. Why not try making a luxurious and refreshing watermelon and ginger fizz by blending some watermelon, a little bit of fresh ginger and some soda water and mint leaves, which makes a nice refreshing drink full of vitamin C and antioxidants. Ginger is also a digestive aid and a natural anti-inflammatory good for joint health.

Alcoholic drinks

alcoholic

Alcohol consumption can really have a massive effect on your weight – if you compared a gin and slimline tonic to a large glass of 14% ABV red wine, there would be about five times the difference in calories (55kcal v 250kcal). If focusing on weight management, your best bet is going to be a clear spirit with a low-calorie mixer but be careful to avoid ‘sugar free’ drinks that can be packed with detrimental artificial sweeteners. Try mixing your spirits with sparkling water and fresh lime or muddled berries and mint instead.

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