Saturday, 18 May 2013

7 Simple Slimming Food Swaps

Muesli with fresh fruit and skimmed milk = a delicious, healthy breakfast

Although the British weather would seem to contest it, you can’t deny that summer’s fast approaching. And sure, the chances are there won’t be many occasions for flaunting a bikini body at home (memories of shivering in the garden in too few clothes, clutching a Pimm’s and trying to convince myself I’m not cold spring to mind), but that hasn’t stopped the majority of women starting to get in shape for summer. Well, trying anyway.

Yes, #summerbod has been thrown around the twittersphere, with many of us making an effort to slim down for our summer holidays. You might say it’s all a bit ridiculous considering said summer bod will probably only be revealed to the world for two weeks or so when you’re abroad. But I think that if a summer holiday is the motivation you need to get yourself in gear and develop a healthier lifestyle then it’s a damn good thing. (And realistically, most students need a bit of a diet overhaul , don’t we?)

Equally, when everyone around you is passing up cake in favour of apples, it makes it all the easier to do it yourself. We all know how difficult it is to resist those cookies your housemate bought reduced from Sainsbury’s at the end of the day, especially when everyone around you is tucking in. So with this general healthier attitude in mind, I thought I’d share a few easy peasy food swaps that will help you slim down and get in shape for summer.

1. Out with granola, in with muesli.

A lot of people are deceived by granola and think it’s really healthy, but don’t be fooled. Sure, it’s made with oats, and often full of dried fruits and nuts, but it’s also incredibly high in sugar. If you can forgo that crunch, muesli is a much healthier and more sustaining option. And still delicious, quite frankly.

2. Wave goodbye to white carbs, and bring in the brown.

Right, before you make some drastic decision to cut carbs out of your life, well, don’t. Carbs are good for you, as long as you pick the right ones. The trick is to go for complex carbs – brown rice, bread and pasta over their refined white counterparts, and go for sweet potato instead of the classic jacket. No, these wholegrain carbs won’t save you many calories, but they fill you up for much longer, thus meaning you’ll eat less later. Hoorah!

3. Farewell fruit juice, hello whole fruit.

Do you feel virtuous as you sip that glass of OJ every morning? Well, while it’s great to get one of your five-a-day, juice really holds very little nutritional value. What’s more, it’s highly calorific and sugary, without any of the fibrey goodness of a whole piece of fruit. Have some actual fruit instead and you should stay full longer. (Similarly, if you’re usually a big dried-fruit muncher, you’ll probably eat less if you replace it with fresh fruit.)

4. Switch to skimmed milk

If you usually drink semi-skimmed milk in your tea, coffee or cereal, it shouldn’t be that much of a hardship to switch to skimmed (or 1% fat.) By doing so, you save a nice bunch of calories. The same goes for fat-free yoghurts as opposed to regular, and they don’t really taste any different as far as I’m concerned. Let’s take an example from Costa: A medium caffe latte with whole milk is 206 calories, but if you asked for one with skimmed milk you’d only consume 115! Who knew, eh? Well, I did. And now you do too.

5. Instead of oil, use low-cal cooking spray

Upon discovering that a mere teaspoon of olive or sunflower oil contains around 43 calories, I immediately stopped glugging it into my pans when cooking. Adding a generous splash of oil is a sneaky way for a healthy meal to turn into an unhealthy one, so try using a low-cal cooking spray instead. Equally, whenever you can, boil or steam food instead of frying – cooking in oil = extra calories; cooking in water = calorie-free!

6. Chill out with fat-free froyo instead of ice cream

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may have gathered I am a huge froyo fan.  If you don’t already know why, I suggest you read my previous post on it, and by choosing froyo instead of ice cream every now and then you can still enjoy some cool creamy refreshment without sacrificing your summer body. Oh, and obviously it’s not very student-friendly to be popping out to froyo shops all the time, so check out the freezer section of your local supermarket.

7. Swap creamy sauces for tomato-based ones

I don’t think this needs much explanation, does it? While delicious, cream equals bad news for slimmers. Have arrabiata instead of carbonara and you’re on your way to slimdom.

And there you have it. In a few weeks I'm sure we'll all be rocking hot bikini bodies (shivering, natch) to show off our success. See ya then. Do you have any tips or swaps to add? Let me know!

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