Was your New Year Resolution to be fit as a fiddle and this time next year have the body of a Victoria’s Secret model? With January already in full swing you may be realising actually this dream is a lot further from reach than anticipated. Motivation is already flailing. Energy is lacking. And really can you be bothered to drag yourself out of bed at 6.30am for the 6th day in a row? Only 359 more days to go! Wahoo..?
Honestly, this first week back into healthy eating and an actual fitness regime after Christmas has been a toughie. This morning my quads and glutes were seriously aching from an intense leg day on Wednesday; the temptation to stay in bed and convince myself ‘I clearly need a rest, my legs ache too much’ was large. Yes, my legs did ache. But today was arms and abs so really this was an irrelevant excuse. So I picked myself up and hit the gym once more.
And I felt awesome. If you push yourself you’ll feel great.
Obviously the gym is only the half of it: “abs are made in the kitchen. ” Staying on top of your gym regime and making sure you’re filling yourself up with the good stuff can be even trickier. But here are five easy food swaps which will lead to a healthier you, so keep motivated and try getting some of these swaps into your diet. You’ll be looking like an Angel in no time.
Tuna Mayonnaise for Tuna and Fat Free Yoghurt
I love love love mayonnaise. I have it with salad. I have it with chicken. I will eat mayonnaise with almost anything. Unfortunately mayo is jam packed full of fat, and not the good kind. While I have had to substitute my mayo with salads for healthy dressings and season my chicken to make it that bit more scrumptious, tuna mayonnaise still remained an issue. And tuna being cheap, versatile and full of protein it’s something I wasn’t willing to just cut from my diet.
The perfect substitute for mayonnaise in tuna is stirring in a big dollop of fat free natural yoghurt instead. It works wonders: the tuna is perfectly creamy and delicious and you can hardly taste the difference. I have this on top of sweet jacket potatoes, in salads or in pitta bread.
Granola for Porridge
Granola may look healthier than sugar-coated kids cereals, but do not let it deceive you! The handfuls of nuts and dried fruit are merely a disguise and the granola will still be packed full of sugar. The easiest swap ever is to swap it for porridge. You will grow to love it and it leaves you full for ages.
I have porridge most mornings (sometimes eggs and avocado call, what can I say). It is so versatile and you can add whatever toppings you like to make it your own. My favourite are pear and cinnamon or banana and honey! If I’m after a protein packed breakfast I just stir in a big scoop of protein power after cooking.
White Bread for Wholemeal Pitta
While there is mixed information about pitta bread compared to regular bread online, I love pitta bread for three reasons:
- Pitta contains more carbs than regular white bread. “What?” I hear you say. If you’re cutting carbs, pitta may not be the best option for you, but if you’re looking to gain muscle and are working out a lot the body needs carbs. Pitta bread is a great way to get those carbs in. The carbohydrates in pitta are also a higher percentage of fibre than white bread.
- Pitta contains more protein than regular white bread. Muscle is made of protein, so to build more muscle you need to be eating more protein. By eating carbs with more protein in you’re upping that protein intake without feeling like you’re living off of chicken and protein powder.
- Pitta contains less fat and saturated fats than regular white bread. I think this one speaks for itself; limiting fat intake is essential to weight loss and to healthy eating in general. By opting for a bread with lower fats is obviously going to have its benefits.
Potatoes for Sweet Potatoes
Ditch the old spuds and start living off of sweet potatoes. You can do essentially the same with sweet potatoes as with regular potatoes. I love chopping mine into wedges and roasting them in the oven along with some peppers and courgettes to have alongside my chicken or bake the potato and top with tuna. They’re also great to chuck into curries.
What makes these orange taters so good? They are bursting with vitamin A. Each potato has around 400% of the recommended daily intake so you can sleep easy knowing you smashed your vitamin A intake. They also have fewer carbs and calories whilst packing in more fibre and Vitamin C. Sounds like a winner to me.
Crisps for Popcorn
Sometimes when the cravings call, popcorn is the answer. When I was little popcorn was such a treat! It would be something we only got at the cinema (and even then only sometimes; cinema food is crazily overpriced). I don’t know if popcorn equals treat is still embedded somewhere deep down inside me, but whenever I tuck into a handful I always feel a little bit naughty, when really it’s a great substitute for crisps and other snacky bits.
I’m not saying go to the cinemas and feast on a large sweet and salted popcorn which was probably cooked in insane amounts of oil and has more sugar then you know what to do with. In fact, even ‘healthy’ popcorn you can buy from the supermarket isn’t always fab. But popcorn is so easy to make at home. Put some popcorn kernels into a paper bag and chuck it in the microwave for a few minutes. Bob’s your uncle. 25g cooked like this has around 90 calories, no sugar and 1g of fat. You can then flavour it with whatever you like (cinnamon is always a good shout).
With these super easy swaps eating healthily really does become that little bit easier. You can now channel all your motivation to actually getting to the gym and look forward to coming home and knowing you’ve got delicious healthy food waiting. Mmmmmm. Have you any healthy swaps you make?
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