The basic principle of weight loss is pretty simple – exercise more and eat less. But healthy weight loss shouldn’t just focus on kilojoules. Here’s 5 simple food swaps that will not only cut your kilojoules, but also boost your nutrition.
1. Swap butter for avocado
Butter contains 81 grams of fat (most of it artery-clogging saturated fat), zero fibre and 3036kJ per 100g. In comparison, cholesterol-lowering avocado contains 21 grams of fat (most of it healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), 2.8 grams of fibre, and 855kJ(1). The choice is clear, just watch your portions.
2. Swap potato chips for pistachios
This swap will give you the same salty kick, but protein-rich pistachios will curb your hunger cravings more quickly than potato chips ever will. Pistachios contain healthy unsaturated fats, but their high-fibre content means we don’t actually absorb all of the fat. A handful of pistachios are a good source of protein, healthy fats, vitamin B6, iron, zinc and can help control blood glucose(2), improve blood cholesterol(3) and can even help with weight management(4).
3. Swap chocolate for medjool dates
Both chocolate and dates are rich in dietary antioxidants(1), but in terms of kilojoules and nutrition, dates win hands down. This simple swap will save you 994kJ and boost your fibre intake by 7.4g per 100 grams. Fibre is your secret weapon for weight loss, it helps fill you up and regulates ghrelin (the hormone that triggers hunger). Dates are also a great source of B-group vitamins and iron(1).
4. Swap sour cream for low-fat Greek yoghurt
Switch from sour cream to low-fat Greek yoghurt for a kilojoule-saving, protein-boosting swap that will save you more than 640kJ and an extra 3 grams of protein per 50g serve (so you’ll feel fuller, quicker).
5. Swap half of your pasta with baby spinach
Carbs shouldn’t be completely off your menu – you need them to fuel your medium to high intensity exercise. But next time you’re craving pasta, swap out half of your serving of pasta with fresh spinach leaves in the bottom of your bowl to bulk up your meal and save yourself an impressive 894kJ per serve. Adding spinach will also boost your antioxidant, B-vitamin and magnesium intake.
Final weight loss tip: Both green and black tea can assist your weight loss by increasing beneficial gut bacteria associated with maintaining lean body mass(5). Green tea can also curb sugar cravings.
1. Food Standards Australia New Zealand, NUTTAB 2010.
2. Kendall CW et al., 2011. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
3. Ros E, 2012, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
4. Wang X et al., 2011, Nutrition Journal.
5. Henning SM et al, 2017, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Kristen Beck is the Nutritionist behind ENE-CHI fresh meal nutrition programs. Each ENE-CHI nutrition program is perfectly balanced for kilojoules, protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibre and limits sugars and sodium. To find out more about ENE-CHI nutrition programs click here.