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10 healthy food substitutions that you can make every day

Leyla Preston is a very busy mum. As well as owning parenting magazine ‘Motherhood Diaries’, she runs the blog ‘Five for Fiver’, all the while raising two boys. She advises mothers, and produces recipes that are perfect for the family.

We are becoming increasingly interested in what we put into our bodies, as we educate ourselves on the effects of what a bad diet can do in the long run. The healthier you eat, the less likely you will suffer from diseases such as heart attacks, high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke and even cancer. But, there are so many resources out there now, even some that contain conflicting information on what a ‘superfood’ is, or how you should follow your healthy diet. Below are 10 substitutions that you can build into your diet every day that won’t cost an arm or a leg and are superfood enough to get you straight back onto that health ladder.

Lentils instead of Quinoa

Both lentils and quinoa are high in nutrients and have great amounts of minerals and vitamin B. However, lentils contain more fibre and protein and they’re cheaper too. Lentils are also available all year around and can be bought ready to cook, ready to eat, or in a can, and make ideal side or salad additions. So, they are super versatile as well.

Broccoli instead of Kale

Broccoli is cheaper and contains more vitamin C and potassium, which is great for your heart. Broccoli is available throughout the year too, but you can find it at its best between July and October. The superfood broccoli can actually fight against cancer too!

Quorn® instead of red meat

Quorn® products are made with Quorn mycoprotein, which is a delicious source of sustainable protein, because its high in protein and fibre, and it contains all of your essential amino acids, as well as it being low in saturated fat.

Wholewheat pasta or rice instead of white pasta or rice

Wholewheat products in general contain significantly more nutrients and fibre than their refined counterparts. Wholewheat pasta and rice pack more vitamin B and minerals and contain fewer calories, so there’s no need to cut out on pasta or rice to lose weight. Just go for the whole-wheat or wholegrain version instead.

Sweet potato instead of white potato

While there is nothing wrong with the staple white potato, i.e. each of the potatoes contain a great source of fibre and help to prevent cancer and digestive problems, the sweet potato is far more nutrient-rich and contains as much as 400% of your daily vitamin A requirement, labelling it as a ‘superfood’. Sweet potatoes also have more vitamin C and fibre and contain fewer calories and carbs. Plus, they are less expensive and much more versatile in recipes (you can make sweet potato muffins and they taste like cakes!)

Rapeseed oil instead of coconut oil

Rapeseed oil is so much cheaper than coconut oil and holds more monounsaturated fats, which means it’s good for your heart. Cold-pressed, extra-virgin rapeseed oil is the best oil in terms of health benefits because it is the least processed and unrefined of all the oils in the market. It is the lightest of all the edible oils as well and has the least amount of saturated fat.

Avocado in sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or ketchup

Avocado is another form of ‘superfood’ because of its combo platter of nutrients. A whopping 20 different vitamins and minerals are packed into one avocado, including vitamin K, Folate, vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B5 and B6, and Vitamin E. To top it off, avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are very low in saturated fat. Compare those stats with ketchup or mayonnaise, which are high in sugar and salt, and contain ‘bad’ fats, i.e. saturated fat. They are also processed, so you are ingesting a lot of ingredients that are not classed as nutrients.

Frozen grapes instead of sweets

Frozen grapes make the best candy because they are so sweet and bite-sized. Sweets may taste good, but they contain so many E numbers, empty calories and virtually no nutrients, as well as being supremely high in sugar. Grapes contain very powerful antioxidants, known as polyphenols, which actually help to slow down or prevent cancer. And, they make up one of your 5-a-day, so it’s a no-brainer really.

Sardines instead of salmon

Both are high in omega 3, but sardines are so much cheaper than salmon and higher in vitamin B12. This means that sardines give you that extra energy boost when you need it the most. Sardines are so rich in nutrients that they support cardiovascular health and they also promote bone health. They are packed in protein, so your whole body is getting a boost.

Medjool dates instead of white sugar in baking

Dates, especially Medjool dates, are the most natural form of sugar and have been around as substitutes of the white refined version for years. This means your body can process this natural sugar a lot easier and quicker than white. They are high in fibre which helps to slow down the fructose absorption and they’re a great source of potassium. Bear in mind that they still contain sugar, so eat in moderation.

As long as you use your common sense, don’t pile up on the junk food or food that’s high in sugar or salt, you can pretty much eat anything in moderation. But, choosing the above foods can help you become healthier and more robust against fighting the dreaded diseases that come with not looking after our bodies.

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