The next time you reach for a fizzy drink or white bread, pause and think about swapping it out for something that’s healthier, such as water or wholegrain bread.
Eating a wide range of healthy food ensures you get all the energy, vitamins and minerals you need to live a well-balanced and healthy life.
It’s easy to swap out unhealthy food and drinks for something that’s good for you, but still super yummy. Sometimes it’s just a matter of breaking a habit and trying something new.
Here are the Health Promotion Agency’s 12 top swaps for better health:
1. Fizzy drink for water
Fizzy drink is high in sugar and too much sugar increases your risk of obesity, tooth decay, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes. Drinking water instead of fizzy drink also saves you money as water is free.
2. Fruit juice for chilled water and a piece of fruit
Fruit juice is also high in sugar, so if you’re after a refreshing drink, have a glass of chilled water and a piece of fruit instead.
3. Full-fat milk for reduced fat milk
Next time you buy milk, make sure you get one that is reduced in fat. It’s still milk – but better for you.
4. White bread for wholegrain bread
Wholegrain bread is packed with way more nutrients (such as fibre) than white bread, is less processed and is better for you.
5. Muesli bars for fresh fruit or a small handful of unsalted nuts
While muesli bars may seem healthy, they can be loaded with sugar and saturated fat. Instead, try some fresh fruit and a small handful of unsalted nuts.
6. Chippies with creamy dip for raw vegetable sticks with hummus or homemade popcorn
Raw vegetable sticks (eg, carrot, cucumber or capsicum) with hummus or homemade popcorn are great substitutes for processed chippies and creamy dip.
7. Dried fruit for fresh fruit
Dried fruit is relatively high in sugar and calories, so having fresh fruit is a better option.
8. High-fat cheese for reduced-fat cheese such as edam
Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein but can be high in saturated fat and salt. Instead of high-fat cheeses like brie or camembert, try a lower fat option such as edam.
9. Butter for margarine
Butter is high in saturated fat so swap it out for margarine.
10. Coconut cream for lite coconut cream or milk
Coconut cream is a staple in many people’s pantries. Buying the ‘lite’ version will reduce the amount of saturated fat you consume.
11. Coconut oil for a small amount of canola, olive, sunflower or rice bran oils
Coconut oil is also high in saturated fat, so try a lower fat option such as canola, sunflower or rice bran oil.
12. Lard or dripping for a small amount of canola, olive, sunflower or rice bran oil
Similarly, lard or dripping is high in saturated fat so try an alternative such as a healthy oil instead.
- Healthy food chart Healthy Kids & Health Promotion Agency, NZ, 2018