Wednesday 16 January 2019

Consider something new – simple food swaps to help make your life a little healthier

Rachael Taylor Fawsitt

As the great Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” More and more, we are hearing about the connection between food and the effect it can have on our health. And, although lots of us try our best to be heath conscious, some of the items that make it onto our weekly shopping list may not be as good for us as we think.

So, what stops us from taking action? A common excuse is that eating a healthy, balanced diet is often associated with being expensive. However, many of the simple changes we can make to improve our diet don’t have to cost us a penny extra. Simply swapping what you are already eating for something a little healthier can make all the difference.

SuperValu has just launched its “All Things Considered” campaign, which is encouraging shoppers to look at the real value that SuperValu offers, not just within the trolley but real value that goes beyond the till – fresh locally grown food along with supporting local communities and producers.  Throughout the campaign they are asking people to  “consider something new” .

As part of the ‘Consider Something New’ initiative this week, SuperValu are encouraging the nation to give some healthy swaps a go and see how achievable it is to change to a healthier lifestyle. With winter just around the corner, now is the perfect time to build a healthy persona by cooking more from scratch using good fresh food.

Here are our top food swaps to help get you started.

SWAP: Fizzy drinks

FOR: Sparkling water

WHY: To reduce your sugar intake

Fizzy drinks are one of the fastest ways to overload your body with sugar. A standard can of coke contains over nine teaspoons of sugar – which is TWO more teaspoons than your full, recommended daily allowance. Switching to sparkling water can take some time to get used to, but it is the perfect way to have a bubbly drink without all the extras.

SWAP: Cereal

FOR: Oats

WHY: Slow releasing energy and high in fibre

Starting the day with a bowl of cereal can be tempting, but have you ever noticed how you are always hungry within an hour or two? That’s because most cereals have a low nutritional value and your body isn’t getting the healthy start to the day it needs. Switch to an oaty breakfast and enjoy a morning without tummy rumbles!

If oats alone are too boring, don’t be afraid to experiment. Adding fruit like figs and blueberries or seeds like pumpkin and sunflower, can give your bowl a whole new dimension. SuperValu’s weekly 2 for €5 berries is a the perfect accompaniment to overnight oats or porridge and add in a little Greek yogurt and you have a breakfast fit for a King or Queen.

Or, if you are feeling really adventurous, soak your usual amount of oats overnight in your preferred milk and enjoy them cold in the morning. Add a tablespoon of chia seeds to give it an extra bite - they also add lots of nutritional value. If you still need a sweet kick in the morning, try adding a teaspoon of cinnamon instead of sugar.

SWAP: Smoothies

FOR: Whole fruit and veg

WHY: More fibre and great for your immune system

Although smoothies can be a delicious treat, they should not replace your regular meals. Blending fruit makes it much easier for the sugar to enter the bloodstream quickly and it also reduces their fibre content. We need between 24g to 35g of fibre each day in order to maintain healthy digestion and when you eat your ‘5-a-day’ as whole food, you get about 10g of that daily fiber.

Increasing your veggie intake is also essential for getting enough vitamin C which helps support your immune system - vital at this time of year as winter approaches! Be sure to check the SuperValu 7’s each week for a great selection of fresh fruit and vegetables for 49c and 79c.

SWAP: Buns and baps

FOR: Creative alternatives

WHY: Reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates you are eating

Going 'bunless' is a great way to cut down on refined carbohydrates which usually have most of their nutrients and fiber removed. It is also an easy way to get extra veggies into a meal when you decide to go for a veg alternative.

Sweet potatoes can make a great bun for any burger, simply slice into thick circles and bake. Or, try using them for hotdog buns by cutting them in half, length ways. This sweet and savory combo works perfectly together.

For a veggie bun that is bursting with flavor, aubergines are the perfect ingredient. Start by chopping into round pieces, brush with olive oil and spread some tomato puree on top. Finish off with a sprinkle of ground garlic and bake for 15 minutes.

SWAP: Salt

FOR: Herbs and spices

WHY: Salt is known to cause high blood pressure and is strongly linked with heart disease

Cutting down on salt doesn’t have to mean bland food or a lack of flavor. There is a world of herbs and spices out there, just waiting to be discovered.

Here are some staple ingredients to spruce up meal time:

Garlic (fresh or dried) – Great in everything.

Basil – Add to stir-fries for a Thai twist.

Coriander – You either love or hate this herb. If you love it, try it in a salad for an elegant flavor.

Cumin – Essential in any curry dish.

Dill – Dill isn’t just for fish. Try it in a tomato-based meal to bring some extra depth to your recipe.

Paprika – Adds a smoky flavor to your food.

Chilli flakes – Be sure to introduce chilli flakes to your cooking slowly, while you figure out just how hot you like your dinner.

SWAP: Pasta

FOR: Cauliflower rice

WHY: Natural, unprocessed and low in calories

Whether you are counting calories or simply trying to eat less processed food, cauliflower is the prefect substitute for the usual starchy pasta. Not only does it not leave you ready for a snooze after you’ve eaten it, it is full of immune-boosting antioxidants and fiber.

It’s also super easy to make and takes little or no meal-prepping. Simply grate your cauliflower using a cheese grater, or blitz in a food processor for a couple of seconds. Then boil until soft and strain. Alternatively, you can sauté it in a pan in a tablespoon of olive oil and then cover over and ‘steam’ for five to eight minutes. You can also mash once cooked as an alternative to potatoes, just to mix things up.

SWAP: Unhealthy snacks

FOR: Natural and healthy treats

WHY: Small swaps that make a big difference

Over 70pc of Irish consumers snack every day, in a habit that is now known as ‘the fourth meal’. Unhealthy snacks can range from processed treats like chocolate, biscuits and cake to salty snacks such as crisps and crackers.

Swapping these confectionary items for a healthier option is a good way to start making real changes to your lifestyle.

For a delicious and satisfying treat in the afternoon, try apple slices with some nut butter on top. Be sure to check the label though – if your nut butter has anything other than nuts, it may be leaning more towards the unhealthy snack range. SuperValu’s Health and Wellness aisle stocks over 1,000 products, so you won’t be short of options to help you make better snacking choices.

So, whether you decide to do a complete healthy food shop this week or simply swap one or two items on the menu, just remember that ‘All Things Considered’ every heathy choice you make takes you one step closer to an all-round healthier you.

SuperValu are asking the nation to ‘Consider Something New’ - something that’s always been on their to-do list, but they haven’t got around to doing yet. It could be buying only own brand products in your weekly shop to save money, healthy food swaps, or setting up an online shopping account to save time for the moments that matter.

All things considered, its SuperValu. For more information on SuperValu’s #Allthingsconsidered challenge visit their website.

Sponsored by: SuperValu

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