Easy food swaps to encourage weight loss

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When it comes to trying to lose weight, the last thing we want to hear is the list of all the foods that we aren’t meant to eat anymore. This can be the biggest deterrent to even starting a diet because chances are everything you shouldn’t eat is everything you want to eat.

Whenever I assist clients for weight-loss I always ensure that for everything I take out of their diet, I put something back in to replace it. Believe it or not, there really are foods that can be just as satiating and satisfying as your beloved pasta, chips, soft drinks and chocolate.

Here are few super easy food swaps of everyday foods that primarily focus on cutting down on sugar, inflammatory oils and processed carbohydrates to help you reach your goals without feeling like you’re missing out. When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady really does win the race. You might not appreciate them immediately but not only will these swaps help you lose weight now, but maintaining these habits will help keep you feeling lighter and healthier well beyond your weight loss journey.



Store bought mayonnaise is almost pure vegetable oil which is incredibly calorific and inflammatory to the body. Try swapping it out with some full cream Greek yoghurt mixed with Dijon mustard instead.

Dried Fruit

Many of us could easily eat 5 apricots but would you eat 5 fresh apricots – probably not! This concentration of sugar, regardless of the fact they are natural, is detrimental to you diet. So stay clear of dried fruit and trail mixes and stick to 1 whole, fibre-rich fruit at a time.

Added sugar

Starting the day with sugar will just make you crave it for the rest of the day. So instead of sprinkling it on your cereal or adding it to your coffee, try some cinnamon instead. It’s an incredible blood glucose regulator and you won’t be left cravings a muffin or chocolate bar by morning tea.

Crackers & Dip

It’s no surprise crackers and dip are such a popular way to snack when they’re so delicious, cheap and convenient. But with all the vegetable oils, trans fats and refined carbs included in this little duo they are blowing out any attempt at cutting calories and inflammatory ingredient. Try veggie sticks and homemade hummus that’s packed with healthy fats and protein instead.

Microwave popcorn

Popcorn can be a really great, low calorie, high fibre snack – but only if you prepare it yourself. It takes just as long to put some organic corn kernels into a saucepan with a teaspoon of coconut oil and some salt as it does to microwave a trans-fat laden ready-made bag of it.

Salad Dressings

I’m sorry to say it but even those fat free salad dressings you can buy off the supermarket shelves are sabotaging your diet. More often than not, when fat is taken out, sugar is put back in. You are much better off having some anti-inflammatory extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Not all fat makes you fat!


The same applies for “low fat”, “not fat” or “lite” yoghurts. Ever realised how no amount of these supposedly “healthier” options could ever make you feel satisfied? That’s because there’s no fat them. Just a couple of tablespoons of a quality, full-cream, natural yoghurt with some fresh berries will do the trick!


White rice isn’t ideal for weight-loss, but half a cup of cooked rice every now and again won’t be detrimental to your goals. However, if you love rice and feel like you need something to bulk up you meals, try cauliflower rice instead. It has the same texture as rice, you can have as much as you like and it’s a great way to squeeze some more vegetable into your day.


The ultimate comfort food and the one I find the hardest to give up and keep to an appropriate portion size. This quick-acting carb (just like white bread) will spike you blood sugars and set you up for cravings and weight gain. Zucchini noodles are an excellent alternative but if that doesn’t quite cut it for you, try half a cup of cooked quinoa pasta to go with it.

Hot Chips

Nothing lights up the reward centre of our brains like the fatty-carb combo of a hot chip. But these deliciously hot, salty, crunchy sticks of fat and calories are an absolute no-no when it comes to losing weight. Order your meal with salad instead and if you are still craving them, bake some low GI sweet potato chips drizzled with coconut oil instead.

Milk Chocolate

For any of your out there who just can’t resist a line or two of milk chocolate, you have got to try this. A medjool date stuffed with a square of dark chocolate and some 100% nut butter. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Soft drinks

We all know that soft drinks are laden with sugar (10 teaspoons in one can to be exact). And even if you are choosing “diet” options your body is still producing insulin, you are conditioning your taste buds for sweetness and tricks you into thinking that you can eat more. Try some mineral water with a squeeze of lemon/lime juice (and maybe even some bitters) for a zero-calorie alternative.

Energy Drinks

Sugar to launch blood-glucose levels through the roof and enough caffeine to raise blood pressure to new heights. Energy drinks are an absolute abomination! You would get far more energy producing and fatigue fighting benefits from a fruit and vegetable packed smoothiewith some added protein powder.

Nicola Miethke
Nicola Miethke
Naturopath & Nutritionist

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