Weight management is one of the key elements to living well with arthritis. A simple way to improve your diet but not give up your favourite meals is to try some healthy food swaps. Making small changes is the easiest and most achievable way to lose weight.
Milk chocolate for dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains less than half the sugar of milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is roughly 255 calories per bar while dark chocolate is 70 calories.
Canola oil for coconut or olive oil: Olive oil is still universally acknowledged as one of the healthiest oils to cook with, and coconut oil is hot on its heels and is popping up in recipes.
Pasta for spiralled vegetables: Cutting out starchy pasta is a great way to lose calories from your meal. There are around 392 calories in one serving of pasta. But don’t say goodbye to spaghetti bolognaise – just try it with zucchini spirals.
White bread for brown bread: Flour is more processed in white bread than it is in brown. Removing the bran in white bread also removes key nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, and fibre. There are 73 calories in one slice of brown bread, and 79 in one slice of white.
Granola for porridge: There can be 225 calories per serving in a bowl of granola. But porridge only has around 150 calories per serving, is better for your heart, and can help lower your cholesterol.
Mashed potato for mashed cauliflower: Cauliflower mash has become a popular substitute for mashed potatoes, as the white vegetable is less heavy and starchy. It doesn’t taste all that different either!
White rice for brown rice: Brown rice has several layers and is nutrient-rich. If brown rice is further milled to remove the bran and top layers, the result is a whiter rice. This white rice is simply a refined starch that is largely removed of its original nutrients. The fibre in brown rice makes it better for digestion and it also makes your stomach feel fuller more quickly.
Cheddar cheese for cottage cheese: 100 grams of cottage cheese has 98 calories compared to standard cheddar which has 402 calories.
Ice-cream for Greek yoghurt: Swap after dinner ice-cream treats for Greek yoghurt with some berries or a little honey. The protein in the yoghurt will fill you up and the sweetness of the berries and honey makes it a delicious and healthy dessert option.
Couscous for quinoa: Quinoa is a simple swap for rice and couscous. Not only is it a delicious gluten-free ‘grain’ option for any meal, quinoa is high in protein and although we eat it like a grain it is actually a seed.
Fizzy drinks for water: Ditch fizzy drinks for water, and you will find you lose weight quickly and feel less bloated too. Fizzy drinks contain a high level of sugar which can damage your teeth, and syrup – which could cause you to develop diabetes. You can jazz up water with fresh lemons or limes.
Cappuccino for white tea: A cappuccino contains 150 calories, whereas a cup of white tea is only 3 calories. So if you still want caffeine as a pick-me-up in the morning, try swapping your coffee for white tea. Later, you could try swapping white tea for calorie-free peppermint or green tea which contain antioxidants and act as an appetite suppressant.