Is healthy eating failing to shift your festive blubber? Nutritionist Juliette Kellow’s little changes will quickly add up to a big change for your waistline
Simply eating a healthy diet was a new year’s resolution for more than a third of us, according to a recent survey.
And, naturally, many expect this to automatically lead to weight loss , which it can – especially if your diet was pretty bad to start with.
But what if you’ve chucked out the crisps and takeaways, cut your portions and are now filling up on nutrient-packed fruit and veg, lean meat and fish – yet STILL struggle to shift those pounds?
By taking a closer look at the types of healthy foods you’re putting in your shopping trolley – and swapping them for a very similar food – it’s possible for you to save loads of calories so you lose weight after all.
And better still, you won’t find yourself missing out on essential nutrients – in fact, most of our tweaks to your diet mean you end up with more vitamins and minerals.
You only have to save 200-250 calories a day to lose a couple of pounds a month – or around two stone in a year.
OK, it might sound like a slow way to lose your spare tyre. But imagine achieving this without dieting?
Baby corn is simply corn that’s harvested early while the stalks are still small and immature. This early harvesting means baby corn is much lower in carbs, especially natural sugars, explaining its lower calorie content. But it still contains similar amounts of fibre to fill you up, and in general, has slightly more of most vitamins and minerals, including three times more vitamin A, and almost twice as much vitamin C, both of which are needed for healthy skin.
A slice of cantaloupe weighs slightly less than a slice of honeydew but it contains similar nutrients and has twice as much fibre and vitamin C. It also has a massive 189 times more betacarotene, an antioxidant that the body uses to make vitamin A. Just one slice of cantaloupe provides more than half of our daily requirement of vitamin A.
All varieties of easy-cook rice – whether brown, long grain or basmati – contain more calories than regular varieties. This is thanks to an extra step of processing that involves steaming the rice before it’s hulled. This hardens the grain and makes it firmer so it’s less likely to go soggy and soft when you cook it. And easy cook doesn’t mean rice cooks in less time – the ‘easy’ bit refers to the fact the grains are harder to overcook! But this process also releases some of the starch in the rice, increasing the calories a little. As for other nutrients, regular brown rice contains less potassium, phosphorus, copper and zinc, but more calcium, iron and several B vitamins.
While potassium levels are slightly lower in green peppers (a nutrient that’s needed to help control blood pressure), going green means you get twice as much vitamin A and vitamin B6, both of which help boost our immunity. There’s also a small 13-calorie reduction in the calorie count when you opt to eat green peppers instead of its yellow cousins.
Many people say they don’t like skimmed milk but according to a US study last year, most shoppers couldn’t identify the difference between full-fat, semi-skimmed and fully skimmed in a taste test – or even recognise the type they normally bought. Chances are you won’t notice a switch to 1% fat milk (the one with the orange top) but will still get all the same nutrients including bone-friendly calcium and phosphorus, immune-boosting zinc and energy-producing B vitamins, while consuming less fat and fewer calories.
Edam grates and melts just as well as Cheddar but it’s naturally lower in fat and therefore calories. This does mean it’s lower in vitamin A, but the amount of other vitamins and minerals varies little between the two types. In fact, Edam actually contains 7% more calcium than Cheddar.
Greek yoghurt has a healthy image and it’s certainly packed with nutrients, but it also contains 10% fat and is higher in calories than natural yoghurt, which has just 3% fat. But as well as cutting calories you’ll get an extra boost of most vitamins and minerals with natural yoghurt. For example, it contains considerably more potassium, calcium and phosphorus than the Greek variety, although natural yoghurt does contain less vitamin A due to its lower fat content.
It might not sound much, but if you eat four slices a day, making this swap will quickly affect your waistline. Despite the lower calories in wholemeal bread, it actually contains a little more fibre than seeded bread. When it comes to other nutrients, wholemeal has slightly less calcium, magnesium and copper, but more potassium, phosphorus, zinc and iron than seeded bread.
Sirloin steak contains more fat than fillet which is why it’s higher in calories. But they both contain similar amounts of protein – and fillet actually has around 25% more iron, a nutrient that’s vital for healthy blood and transporting oxygen around the body.
Lean lamb contains 8% fat, while lean beef is less than 5% fat and has around half the saturated fat of lamb. Beef also has more zinc, selenium and iodine and almost twice as much iron, which is great news as 46 % of teenage girls and 23% of women under the age of 65 have exceptionally low intakes of this nutrient.
It tends to be more expensive but wild salmon is usually naturally lower in fat and therefore calories. This is because farmed salmon tend to have a higher-calorie diet and different swimming habits – they grow in the lazier environment of a pen whereas wild salmon swim vigorously as they battle their way upstream. Wild salmon also contains higher amounts of most nutrients – in particular, it has 82% more vitamin D than the farmed fish, a nutrient needed for strong bones.
Both contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give them their dark colour, but blackberries are better for our waistlines as they’re lower in natural sugars and contain three times more fibre. They also contain considerably more of most vitamins and minerals, including five times more fatigue-fighting folate, seven times more skin-friendly vitamin C and a huge 33 times more of the antioxidant vitamin E.
In exchange for fewer calories, you get considerably more fibre and more than double the protein if you change from pecans to almonds – great news for helping you feel fuller for longer. Also, almonds contain twice as much magnesium – which helps the muscles to contract normally – four times more calcium and almost six times more vitamin E.
They’re both perfect for stir-fries but peanuts contain far more protein and fibre, together with less fat. They are slightly lower in many other nutrients but peanuts win hands down for containing more calcium and several B vitamins.
Tomato juice doesn’t just save on calories, it has the advantage of containing lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to protecting us from certain cancers and heart disease. It’s lower in vitamin C and folate, but it contains more potassium and betacarotene which the body uses to make vitamin A.
Quinoa contains slightly more protein and almost double the fibre of couscous. It also has around twice as much potassium, calcium, copper (an antioxidant) and zinc, triple the calcium, and almost four times more magnesium and iron. It’s also gluten free.
Both are a great nutritious choice – they have a similar amount of protein – but kidney beans have a third more fibre. They also contain higher levels of potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron.
Post time: Apr-07-2020