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Simple food swaps for all of the flavour with extra health benefits

Whether you?re trying to shed some extra pounds, up your intake of vitamins or want to have more energy in the day, the key to an improved lifestyle lies in healthy eating.

You already know that fruits and vegetables are good for you and processed foods should be limited, but the truth is that many so-called health foods might not be as good for you as you think.

It turns out that the foods that you're so used to buying aren't always best for your body - even some of the ones you've always considered to be fairly harmless. But there?s no need to make a drastic overhaul to your diet. Instead, try changing your usual buys for a healthier version. This way, you can still get all of the taste, plus the health benefits.

Give your favourite dishes a makeover with our simple healthy eating food swaps. From soothing risottos to indulgent chocolate desserts, you can still enjoy your favourite meals, but without the guilt.

A common misconception is that healthy eating involves boring salads and bland dishes, but these clever food swaps prove that it?s possible to enjoy every ounce of flavour, while giving your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs. These easy tips and tricks will leave you feeling satisfied and content in the knowledge that swapping just one ingredient boosts nutrients and reduces the calories and fat, for a slimmer, healthier you!

Each of our ten simple swaps is so easy you'll barely notice the difference - just make a few tweaks to your shopping list to enjoy steaks, comforting stews and your other favourite meals without the guilt! Ready? Keep reading to discover ten easy healthy eating tips to boost your health!

For more great food ideas, download our newest issue of Feel Good Food

Swap cous cous for: Quinoa

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Swap cous cous for: Quinoa

Although cous cous is low in both fat and calories, it does provide fast release energy - similarly to white rice and pasta. Quinoa however, is a slow-release carb and full of protein and fibre.

Swap white potato for: Sweet Potato

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Swap white potato for: Sweet Potato

Everyone loves a portion of chips now and again, there's no denying THAT. But if you can manage to swap white potato for sweet potato, it does make for a healthier alternative. Sweet potato's provide slow release energy and are a fantastic source of Vitamin A - essential for your eye health.

Swap crackers for: Rice Cakes

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Swap crackers for: Rice Cakes

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a cheese board, but instead of reaching for your usual cream cracker (which is full of refined sugar), why not opt for a rice cake, or if that doesn't take your fancy, an oat cake. You'll be a convert in no time.

Swap penuts for: Cashews

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Swap penuts for: Cashews

Although penuts contain some 'good' vegtable fats, they are high in carbs and calories. Why not swap them for cashews which are just as delicious, but high in zinc iron and magnesuim. They can therefore boost your immune system, help revent anemia and help protect from age-related memory loss.

Swap your favourite biscuit for: A Hob Nob

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Swap your favourite biscuit for: A Hob Nob

Sugary biscuit treats are loaded with sugar and carbs, but don't despair! Hob Nobs, which are packed with oaty goodness make a tasty alternative.

Swap tinned soup for: Homemade soup

Swap tinned soup for: Homemade soup

Plenty of us will forego a plate of homemade comfort food and go for what we believe to be the healthier option of tinned soup when trying to lose weight, but amazingly, that can of creamed tomato could be your waistline's worst enemy. Jam-packed with salt, and often sugar too, their generally healthy, wholesome and warming identity can be misleading. Get your comforting fix from a homemade recipe instead, and you'll know exactly how much of the good stuff is going in. Our recipe for spicy vegetable soup makes enough for 6 servings, so you can make that healthy meal last for plenty of lunches and dinners! Recipe taken from 'w&h Feel Good Food Christmas' (opens in new tab) - download now

Swap processed meats for: Homemade sausages

Swap processed meats for: Homemade sausages

Tinned meat and shop-bought sausages are often referred to as 'mystery meats' - and for good reason. It's normal for them to be made from the leftover bits of meat churned up with fat and salt. But don't worry if you're partial to a hot dog or bangers 'n' mash - making your own is easier than you think. Swapping for homemade sausages also means you can make them extra meaty - and extra healthy. Our recipe is perfect for bonfire season.

Swap packet porride for: Oat Bran Porridge

Swap packet porride for: Oat Bran Porridge

This food swap can make a real difference to your waistline. Unlike processed cereals, oat bran is rich in soluble fibre which absorbs water and forms a gel that fills up the stomach. This gel traps everything around it (including calories) to make digestion easier while making you feel fuller for longer. Recent studies also suggest it's key to stabilising your blood sugar levels and helping lower cholesterol too. There's no need to limit oat bran to breakfast, use as a base for pizza or in bread and galettes. Just make sure you buy a quality bran that hasn't been overmilled, otherwise many of the benefits will have been lost. We love Dr Dukan's Organic Oat Bran (opens in new tab).

Swap that crusty roll for: Plan Bread

Swap that crusty roll for: Plan Bread

Bread is the ultimate comfort food - we struggle to resist a slice of toast with butter or cheese! Whilst bread isn't bad for you, swapping your usual loaf for Plan Bread (opens in new tab) can save you calories. The brainchild of Paul Shackleton, who has swapped his sharp city suit for baker's whites, he spotted a gap in the market for a low-carb, gluten-free and lower calorie bread using broccoli. His low-carb sandwiches are now flying off the shelves. They're currently only available in London but we're hopeful that a supermarket stockist will pick up the range soon.

Swap microwaveable rice for: Pearl barley

Swap microwaveable rice for: Pearl barley

For a comforting, filling risotto without the carb-heavy calories, try pearl barley. These puffy whole grains will help you feel full for longer. Pearl barley is also rich in vitamins and minerals as well as soluble fibre, which helps reduce cholesterol. Substitute barley for risotto rice, or try our soothing chicken and barley broth recipe - perfect winter comfort food!

Swap beef for: Venison

Swap beef for: Venison

Just like beef, venison is high in iron - brilliant for women, who tend to be more at risk of anaemia. Venison, however, has almost no fat or cholesterol. Grill a venison steak, try a piece of venison haunch for an alternative Sunday roast or whip up venison casserole with boulangere potatoes recipe.

Swap salmon for: Mackerel

Swap salmon for: Mackerel

Although salmon is packed with Omega-3 healthy fats, you can get even more out of your lunch by choosing whole smaller fish instead such as mackerel and sardines - they'll be fresher and even more full of nutrients. Pack a healthy lunch with our smoked mackerel superfood salad recipe

Swap chicken for: Turkey

Swap chicken for: Turkey

They taste almost identical, but turkey checks out at two-thirds of the calories of chicken breast and less saturated fat. However, if you have high blood pressure it's best to stick to chicken - it has 1/10 the sodium that turkey does. Try turkey breast pieces in place of chicken in stir-fries or fajitas, or try our spicy sweetcorn and turkey burgers recipe.

Swap hot chocolate for: Dark chocolate

Swap hot chocolate for: Dark chocolate

It's good to treat yourself sometimes - and if you do it the right way you can even boost your health! Choose chocolate that's as close to its original state as possible - from vegan 'raw' chocolate to very dark chocolate, which is low in fat. Look for high cocoa solids on the ingredients list - and avoid cocoa fats. You'll love our dark chocolate and almond torte recipe. Find more healthy lifestyle tips

Swap strawberries for: Blueberries

Swap strawberries for: Blueberries

Although berries are all super-healthy, blueberries have more antioxidants than any other berries along with heart-boosting polyphenols. Add a handful of blueberries to your plate or treat yourself to our maple syrup meringues with brown bread ice cream and blueberries recipe