Sunday, January 8, 2017
It isn’t a bad thing to enjoy naughty food or treats once in a while, like the odd slice of cake or a bag of crisps. However, shocking statistics estimate that over 60% of adults in the UK are currently overweight or obese. The most common cause of this is diet, with too many people consuming foods that contain vast amounts of sugar. As it stands, experts are predicting that the current rate of obesity in Britain, which stands at 1 in 4 people, could increase to 1 in 2 people if this trend continues as it is.
This means that the problem of obesity in Britain needs addressing now, to ensure these predictions don’t become a reality. The good news is that there are things that individuals can do to make significant changes to their weight and health. With a few simple lifestyle and dietary changes, it’s possible to make a real difference to your health both short and long term. One of these changes is to swap those sugary, fatty, processed foods we love for healthier options, which are not only better for us but likely to be much tastier.
This may sound like a huge challenge to anyone who has a guilty pleasure for naughty treats, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few easy ways you can make healthier choices whilst still enjoying the foods you love.
Potatoes in their various forms are a staple to most meals in the UK, whether it’s mash with a steak pie or chips with battered fish. But these starchy sides aren’t always the healthiest option. While they do contain high levels of fibre, potassium and vitamin C, they still don’t count as one of your 5-a-day, and they perform poorly in terms of nutritional value in comparison to other vegetables.
However, all is not lost, as sweet potatoes can make a great alternative. With as much versatility as the ordinary potato, the sweet potato can make tasty mash, wedges, jackets and roast potatoes, but they contain fewer calories, more fibre and more vitamins and minerals.
They can even be used in recipes as a flour alternative for cakes and brownies to lower the calorie content and give a healthier sweet taste.
Another food that people in Britain can’t seem to get enough of is crisps, which come in a whole host of different flavours. Once again, these convenient snacks are not the healthiest choice to go for. They contain high levels of saturated fats, sugars, salt and very little nutritional value.
You shouldn’t rule out crisps altogether, as healthier alternatives such as vegetable crisps can still satisfy your crisp craving in a healthier way. Many brands use dehydrated vegetables, these retain more nutrients and also have lower fat content. Bear in mind, though, that as with any treat they should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
If you’re a big fan of pasta, which is high in carbohydrates and calories, you should consider replacing traditional pasta with courgette. Courgettes can be used as a fantastic swap for pasta and noodles. Peeled into strips, cut into thin strands by hand or grated using a device called a spiralizer to make life easier, courgette pasta or noodles can be used with pasta sauces, in stir-fries, salads and more to create a healthier, carbohydrate free pasta alternative.
If you love to snack, it’s a good idea to think about ways to minimise snacking, but you will no doubt still want to satisfy your hunger. This is where vegetables can help. Low in calories and sugar, high in fibre and full of nutrients, vegetable snacks can provide you with a fulfilling savoury snack. Swap your crisps, nuts or any other naughty food with fresh carrot, pepper and cucumber sticks that you can eat on their own or make a little more exciting with a healthy dip.
As with anything, changing your dietary habits will take time. But these small changes from fat-filled, sugary snacks and foods to healthier, more wholesome alternatives will soon become a normal way of life. You’ll find you feel healthier, maintain a healthier weight and reduce the risks of serious health concerns associated with overweight and obesity.