To get healthy, stay healthy, lose weight and improve your fitness, why not make a few simple changes to the meals that you already eat? Swapping ingredients, or choosing new snacks, could make a bigger difference than you think! Weight loss surgery experts Sue and Nic, from weight loss surgery hub BandBoozled, tell us how simple summer swaps can make meals and snacks a lot healthier:
- Swap ice cream for...low fat frozen yoghurt
We all like to reach for ice cream on a sunny summer day! Just as cold and refreshing, low-fat frozen yoghurt is a healthier ice cream substitute. This means that you can still enjoy your favourite flavour but skip the high levels of fat from cream-based frozen desserts.
- Swap salad cream or mayo for...lemon juice or oil-free dressing
A healthy salad is a great choice, whether you're enjoying it as a full meal or a side to go with your sandwich. But, it's easy to make a salad a lot less healthy when you add mayo or salad cream dressing.
Lemon juice can add flavour to your salad, without the high-calorie content. Alternatively, look for other oil-free salad dressings that have a much lower fat content.
- Swap tinned fruit in syrup for...fresh fruit or tinned fruit in juice
This one's an easy trap to fall into! With the best of intentions, you select tinned fruit as a nutritious snack, but a lot of tinned fruit is actually stored in sugary syrup. When you're buying tinned fruit, look for fruit that's in juice rather than syrup or skip the tin altogether and go straight to the fresh fruit aisle.
- Swap sweets for...frozen berries
It's hard to ignore a sugar craving. Luckily, your body doesn't specifically need refined and unnatural sugars. You can enjoy sweet flavours without the junk, by snacking on frozen berries instead of sugary sweets.
- Swap squash and fizzy drinks for...low sugar versions or water
Usually, fizzy drinks and bottles of squash are filled with sugar. If you can't resist a flavoured drink, look for low-sugar alternatives that are usually marked with 'No Added Sugar', 'Diet' or 'Zero'. Even better, save money by drinking water straight from your tap! It's refreshing, and calorie-free, which means that there's no healthier option!
- Swap cakes, chocolate and biscuits for...low calorie occasional treats
A full-sized chocolate bar or a slice of cake can easily increase your calorie intake to an unhealthy level. Instead, look out for low-calorie cake bars or very small chocolate treats. An 18g chocolate bar contains around 100 calories, whilst a full-sized bar is around 45g with more than double the calories!
If you love biscuits, take just one or two from the packet. Don't be tempted to sit with the packet on the sofa, or you'll eat mindlessly whilst watching TV. These kinds of things should be an occasional treat, not something that you eat every day.
- Swap pork or beef for...chicken and lean meats
White meat and poultry are healthier alternatives to red meat like beef, lamb and pork. You can buy chicken sausages for your sausage and mash on a Saturday evening, or use turkey mince instead of beef when you're preparing a homemade spaghetti bolognese.
- Swap tinned fish in oil for...tinned fish in brine or spring water
If you're buying tinned fish, check the label carefully. Look for tins with brine, or ideally spring water, rather than sunflower oil. This is an easy way to make a healthier choice, without compromising on flavour.
- Swap oil and butter for...spray oils and low-fat spreads
Low fat spreads are an easy alternative to butter and they're often easier to spread and taste the same when used on your sandwiches.
When you're preparing meals, it's easy to underestimate how much oil you're using. Using a spray oil allows you to measure your servings carefully so that you don't go overboard. Did you know that there are 40 calories in just one teaspoon of sunflower oil?
- Swap cheese and yoghurts for...low fat alternatives
You can still enjoy cheese and yoghurt just as you did before but look for low-fat versions. Low-fat yoghurt and low-fat cheese are readily available in most supermarkets.
- Swap desserts and puddings for...low fat and sugar-free options
Instead of reaching for a chocolate dessert, or something sugary at the end of your meal, choose a fruit salad. It's a healthy and nutritious alternative and you can also reduce your fat and calorie intake by choosing sugar-free jelly, which feels like an indulgent treat but won't ruin all your hard work.
- Swap gin and tonic for...gin and slimline tonic
Don't give up the things that you love. You can still enjoy a glass of gin and tonic on a Saturday night, but use slimline tonic instead.
- Swap cream-based sauces for...tomato-based sauces
Cream-based sauces, like mushroom sauce, add delicious flavour to chicken and pasta dishes but they also add fat and calories. As we often underestimate the impact of sauces and dressings, it can be easy to think we have eaten a nutritious meal, when this may not be the case. Tomato-based sauces are a healthier alternative, far lower in fat, that won't leave your meal lacking flavour.
- Swap chocolate lollies for...juice-based lollies
Chocolate lollies appeal to your sweet tooth, but they're not the only option. You can make your own juice-based lollies, getting some essential nutrients and skipping the artificial ingredients. Use the juice to make ice lollies, rather than buying chocolate ice lollies, or make fruit kebabs on sticks to replace milk chocolate lollipops.
It's unrealistic to give up everything that you love to eat, in an effort to get healthy. Nobody has a perfect diet.
Simple summer swaps make it easier to keep your weight management on a track, without making sacrifices. You can still add dressing to your salad, pour a sauce onto your pasta, and even snack on chocolate after dinner. Just do it a little more mindfully!
When you're with us at The Hospital Group, you'll receive specialist advice and guidance from our weight loss support team. This valuable resource will help you to work towards and maintain your results from surgery.
You will also have the additional support of BandBoozled - an online hub run by Sue, a Bariatric Dietitian, and Nic, a Specialist Nurse. New weight loss surgery patients receive a free 12-month membership with access to gastric band friendly recipes, meal plans, and motivational and informative weekly updates. You can also log in to track your weight and measurements and speak to others through the online forum.