Eat This, Not That! is an American organisation begun in 2007 to better identify the caloric and nutritional content of every day food, particularly that sold by the fast food industry. In their role as public watch dog, they have encouraged various food chains to not only be more transparent about what goes into their food, but to also introduce healthier options. While the site is primarily aimed at the American market and food brands, much of their advice on healthy eating is relevant to us all, particularly their healthy swap tips – consider the following to help you make better choices:
Replace flavoured oatmeal with unsweetened oatmeal:
Most of the flavoured and instant oatmeal we eat is laden with chemicals and calories, plus stripped of all its wholesome goodness. If you want to cut back on all the extra sugar and additives, zap some rolled oats with water in the microwave, top with cinnamon (good for regulating blood sugar levels), nuts and a drizzle of honey and you’re good to go.
Replace the cheese in your omelette with veggies:
Omelettes are a great protein-rich way to start your day, but adding cheese is also a sure-fire way to up the calorie content. To reduce the fat and sodium levels, it’s far better to replace the cheese with a variety of vegetables, not only will it add colour and flavour to the dish, but it’s another easy way to get in your five a day.
Replace sausage with bacon:
Yes, you read that right. While gram for gram, sausage is actually healthier than bacon, it turns out that it’s easier to eat bacon in moderation – think one or two rashers as a serving portion rather than a whole banger.
Replace mayonnaise with hummus:
If you’re in the habit of putting mayo on your sandwich, stop. A tablespoon of mayo has 95 calories and 10 grams of fat, while the same quantity of hummus has only 25 calories, 1.4 grams of fat, and it contains 1.2 grams of protein, which means you’ll not only eat fewer calories, but the extra protein will keep you feeling fuller for longer too.
Replace fat-free salad dressing with regular dressing:
Contrary to the dietary advice we’ve all been following for the last three decades, fat-free is definitely not better than full-fat – what’s come to light is that not only does our body need healthy fats to absorb certain vitamins, but many food manufacturers were replacing the fat content with sugar (infinitely more harmful) to make the food more palatable. Many of these fat-soluble vitamins can be found in salads, and by including a full-fat salad dressing it allows our body to better absorb these valuable nutrients.
Replace sweets with homemade chocolate trail mix:
When we experience sugar cravings we too easily turn to chocolate bars to satisfy our sweet tooth, but the calories in a Snickers or Mars bar is staggering. It’s far better to have something homemade on hand, that includes, but not consists purely of, chocolate. A quick and easy trail mix is to combine plain popcorn with raw nuts, unsweetened dried fruit and dark chocolate chips; measure it out into half-cup portions (you don’t want to overdo the serving size) and keep it at hand for the next time you feel that mid-afternoon slump or a sugar craving approaching. By planning ahead you’ve cut back on bad fats and calories and replaced it with whole grains, protein, fibre, healthy fats and dark chocolate, which as we all know in moderation is hugely beneficial for our bodies.
Replace sugar with applesauce:
And then if baking is your thing, but you don’t want to indulge because most baked treats involve loads of sugar, consider swapping the sugar for applesauce in a 1:1 ratio while reducing the amount of other liquid in your recipe. One cup of sugar has more than 770 calories, while the same amount of unsweetened applesauce has only 100 calories – that’s a huge saving in empty calories.
While many of these swaps require some forethought, they’re easy to achieve and the benefit to both your health and waistline is considerable. Eat This, Not That! also includes a comprehensive section on the power of protein – something N1, South Africa’s leading meat wholesaler, knows all about. So, remember, by making a few simple switches, it is possible to enjoy your food while still making healthy choices.