7 easy swaps to cut down on processed foods in your diet

Enjoy these simple swaps to give you a happier, healthier life.

There are some great, healthy alternatives that will help you satisfy your processed food cravings. While the general rule is to have everything in moderation, it sometimes can be easier to have the right foods in front of you to help you out. To get started, we've enlisted the help of naturopath, nutritionist and author of WellnessJess Blair to provide some simple food swaps to cut down on processed food. 

Instead of chips, try: popcorn

"While a few chips every now and then aren't going to do massive damage, chips are often highly processed and hold little nutritional value," Jess explains.

"A great alternative to chips is popcorn - very convenient, healthy and also incredibly tasty! Pop it yourself at home, add a little bit of salt and enjoy," she adds.

Instead of white pasta, try: whole wheat pasta

"White pasta in moderation isn’t totally bad for you, but it has less nutritional value as it loses some of its great nutrients in the milling process," Jess explains.

But you don’t need to give pasta a miss altogether, as Jess provides an answer: "Swap to a whole wheat pasta alternative that’s high in fibre, so you don’t have to miss out on your favourite Italian dishes," she adds.

Other alternatives are buckwheat, quinoa and spelt pasta.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Instead of store bought dressing, try: simple olive oil lemon dressing

"If you’re adding those store bought dressings to your beautiful, fresh salad, stop right there," says the naturopath. "You may be adding unwanted calories and sugars that you don’t even know."
Her solution? "A simple lemon and olive oil dressing with a dash of pepper is a great alternative and can be used as a substitute for this."

Instead of soft drink, try: sparkling water with a dash of lemon

"Soft drinks is probably one of the only things I say can be cut out completely," says the naturopath. "There are no nutritional benefits whatsoever and it's bad for our oral health too. The best alternative is always going to be plain water, however if you crave the fizz, then sparkling water with a dash of lemon or fresh fruit is another great choice."

Instead of store-bought white bread, try: homemade seed bread

"Similar to the white pasta, white bread has most of its nutrients processed out of the bread," Jess explains.

"A better option is whole wheat or seeded bread that are higher in nutrients," she adds. Why not make it fun and make your own organic bread at home, where everyone in the house can get involved. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Instead of sugary breakfast cereals, try: porridge

"It’s always important to start the day with a nourishing, nutritious breakfast," says Jess. "The generic breakfast cereals and sugar laden granolas can give us a crash later in the day and will lead to unhealthy choices for the rest of the day," she tells.

Her recommended swap? "Oats or porridge is a great alternative with loads of topping options to suit your taste buds."

Instead of flavoured yoghurt, try: Greek yoghurt

Not all yoghurts are the same, so it’s best to check the back for the nutritional value, explains Jess. "A lot of the flavoured yoghurts contain more than the recommended daily intake of sugar in one small tub."

Swapping to Greek yoghurt is a great alternative, as they’re full of protein and you can add your toppings to taste.

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