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By changing a few eating habits you can make a big difference.

By changing a few eating habits you can make a big difference.
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Healthy food swaps

3-minute read

Choosing healthier foods is easier than you may think. There are some simple everyday changes you can make to get you on your way to a healthier lifestyle without losing all the things you love.

It's all about eating fewer foods that are high in calories, fat, salt and sugars and swapping them for something healthier, including more fruit and vegetables and wholegrains.

Healthy eating and getting active can help you lose centimetres from around your waist and reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

You don’t have to stop it, just swap it. For example, swap a big meal for a small meal. You can make these swaps as you go about your everyday life at work, at home or even while out shopping. It’s easy and these basic changes can add up to make a big overall difference to your diet.

ARE YOU AT RISK? — Are you at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease? Use the Risk Checker to find out.

Food and drink swaps

Try these small changes when you have your next meal or drink, or when you open the cupboard or fridge for a snack.

Once you've got started, try thinking of your own healthier swaps, too. Food labels can help you to choose healthier options.

Breakfast

  • Swap from whole milk to light or skim milk.
  • Swap a sugar-coated breakfast cereal for a wholegrain breakfast cereal such as porridge or shredded wholegrain wheat cereal, with no added sugar.
  • Swap a sprinkle of sugar on your breakfast cereal for a topping of fresh or dried fruit.
  • Swap full-fat Greek yoghurt for fat-free Greek-style yoghurt or natural low-fat yoghurt.

Lunch

  • Swap white breads, bagels and muffins for wholegrain varieties.
  • Swap butter and cheese in your jacket potato for reduced fat spread and reduced salt and sugar baked beans.
  • Swap a tuna melt for a tuna salad sandwich on wholemeal bread, without mayo.
  • Swap a cheddar cheese filling in your sandwich for reduced-fat cheese.

Dinner

  • Swap creamy or cheesy sauces for tomato- or vegetable-based sauces on your pasta, meat or fish dishes.
  • Swap mashed potato made with butter and whole milk for mash with low-fat spread and a lower-fat milk such as light or skim milk.
  • Choose leaner cuts of meat, for example, steak rather than sausages.
  • Swap the frying pan for the grill when cooking meat.

Drinks

  • Swap your usual coffee made with whole milk to a 'skinny' coffee made with skim milk.
  • Swap a few of your sugary drinks for a glass of water.
  • Swap hot chocolate made with whole milk and served with whipped cream for a hot chocolate made with skimmed milk and no cream.

Snacks

  • Swap an iced coffee for a small fruit frappe.
  • Swap yoghurt-coated raisins for plain raisins.
  • Swap salted nuts for unsalted nuts.
  • Swap chips for rice cakes with lower fat cream cheese.

More information

For more great food swap suggestions, check out the tools and tips on the Eat For Health website.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: October 2020


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