Swapping Unhealthy Snacks for Healthy Alternatives

For those who want to lose weight, motivation is key; although exercise and the right nutrition are the ways to lose weight but self motivation creates the drive to do it. Losing weight isn’t a simple case of just cutting down on sugar and taking up jogging, there are many factors at work and the aim of this post is to enlighten and motivate those who wish to cut down on those calories in order to get the body they desire and to keep it that way.

The reason replacing foods that are worse for you with healthier options is a better idea than completely cutting down on unhealthy foods (as many people will say is the best way forward) is because it won’t leave you feeling hungry which in turn causes you to lose motivation. Being hungry and unsatisfied is a major reason why people tend to give up on their diets and they begin “comfort eating” which can pose serious health risks. Here are a few simple changes you can make to replace unhealthy foods for better ones:

Swap Sweets for Fruit

Consuming large amounts of sugar can lead to a person having a sugar addiction and it's true that many people have a sweet tooth and yield to their sugar cravings. Sweets have no benefit and are full of added sugars and empty calories which are terrible as they cause many health problems such as obesity, diabetes and even cancer. Being full of calories, consuming sweets just helps the build up of body fat but this poses the following question:

Fruit contains sugar too so isn’t it bad for you?

The good news is, the answer to this question is no. Sweets contain a high amount of fructose which is responsible for the causes that are detrimental to health whereas fruit contains low amounts of fructose and consuming whole fruits will never give you enough fructose to cause harm. Since fruit contains water and fibre, the fructose reaches the liver slowly and doesn’t cause harm.

Fruit is also very filling so it can aid in cutting down the amount that is eaten resulting in weight loss; the body metabolises the smaller amounts of fructose in fruit quicker rather than the large amounts in sweets which cause the fructose to build up. Fruit also contains vitamins and have many other health benefits which help boost your immune system, so that you can dodge viruses and any other nasty infections that come your way.

Here is a recipe for a filling fruit salad that can replace unhealthy snacks:

Ingredients:

1 Banana
1 Apple
1 Mango
2 peaches
1 Kiwi fruit.
A handful Strawberries
2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice

Method:

1. Peel and chop the banana and apple and add it to a serving bowl.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin of the mango and kiwi fruit and cut the mango and peach flesh off the stones.
3. Slice the mango, kiwi fruit and peaches in to thin pieces and add them to the bowl.
4. Chop some of the strawberries to add to the fruit salad and leave a few to cut in half and place on top to decorate.
5. Instead of sprinkling icing sugar on the fruit for extra sweetness, try using a healthier option such as stevia which is a natural plant based sweetener.
6. Finally, pour the orange juice over the fruit to give it all a tangy touch.

Swap Fried for Grilled

Another major cause of obesity is fried food, although it tastes great and is a quick method of cooking often used by fast food chains; it contains very high amounts of calories. Fried food is normally coated in batter before frying and this causes it to lose water and absorb fat increasing the calorie content enabling it to cause serious health problems.

Another problem with fried food is that when oil reached a high temperature it undergoes a process called hydrogenation in which the chemical structure of the fat in the food is changed, making it a trans fat which is very hard for the body to break down. Vegetable and seed oils already contain trans fat which doesn’t help; trans fat causes serious health problems like obesity. It should be noted that naturally occurring trans fat, in for example dairy, do not cause the same health risks as the trans fat in fried foods.

Fried food can also contain acrylamide which is a toxic substance and can be harmful to the body. Just because frying is bad for you, doesn’t mean that you should stop eating chicken; there are many healthy ways to enjoy chicken and other things that are normally fried.

Grilling chicken removes the harmful hydrogenation process from cooking and therefore reduces the amount of trans fat in the food significantly. If the meat becomes too charred there is a possibility of there being harmful chemicals in the meat, so don’t grill food for too long to reduce this risk as well.

Swap Fizzy Drinks for Smoothies

Fizzy drinks, soda, carbonated beverages; these terrible drinks go by many names and pose many health risks. They are full of fructose, of which the dangers have already been described previously, fructose does not make you feel full the same way eating food does, starchy food contains glucose which makes you feel full. Due to this, people end up eating the amount they normally would in addition to the fizzy drink which just adds a lot more calories.

Only the liver can break down fructose and too much of it, from fizzy drinks for example, builds up and as it can't be digested, is then turned into either body fat which makes a person obese or fat around the liver which causes liver disease. Fizzy drinks, in short, have the same disastrous effects that sweets have (as mentioned above).

Cutting down on fizzy isn’t so easy and you will still want a sweet beverage to replace it, that’s where smoothies come to the rescue. Without the addition of juice bought from the supermarket and other sugary substances, a pure fruit smoothie is a very delicious and healthy alternative to fizzy. First of all, smoothies will give you all the benefits that fruit do, but since a combination of fruit is being blended, (not to mention oats, yogurt or other natural substances for flavour) a filling smoothie can be made that can actually replace breakfast or lunch (where a person might have been consuming a sugary breakfast like cereal or a fried lunch like a Full English).

Cutting one meal in a day and replacing it with a homemade fruit smoothie is a great idea that aids weight loss significantly, think of all the calories that are being avoided. Don’t worry about not being filled up; fruit contains a lot of fibre which helps digestion and will make you feel as if you just ate a hearty meal.

Here is recipe for a smoothie that is healthy breakfast alternative:

Ingredients:

1 Banana
10 Strawberries
1 tbsp Chia seeds
A handful of Blueberries or Raspberries 
3-4 tbsp Fat-free Greek Yogurt
A few sprigs of Mint

Method:

1. Blitz the banana, strawberries and any other berries of your choice along with the yogurt in a blender (Using frozen berries will make it refreshing and give it a thicker consistency)
2. Add the chia seeds to the smoothie and top with the mint.

While these ideas on healthy food swaps may seem like insignificant changes and no difference will be visible at first, but in a matter of a few weeks the fruits of your effort will be noticeable, and you should instantly start to feel more energetic. Sugar and fat are the main causes of obesity and if you are cutting down on these two things then you really can start to lose weight.

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