How to lose weight – 8 food swaps that will help you lose weight

NHS: Better Health users discuss the weight loss plan

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Weight loss is easy when you know how. You don’t need to go overboard and dramatically drop your calorie intake, you just need to avoid overeating and eat as healthy as you can. chatted to Signe Svanfeldt, nutritionist at nutrition app Lifesum (, to find out eight heathy food swaps that will help you lose weight.

A common mistake when losing weight is to eat as little as possible, but that isn’t necessary and could be harmful.

Signe said: “People tend to think that if they just eat a minimal amount of calories, they’ll reach their goal sooner. It’s really not that simple.

“Yes, you need to be on an energy deficit in order to lose weight, but too large an energy deficit can result in fatigue, nutrient deficiencies and osteoporosis.

“A steady, stable and healthy weight loss pace, where you ensure you get enough energy and nutrients, is key.”

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Eight food swaps that will help you lose weight

Losing weight doesn’t mean avoiding your favourite foods. Signe said: “You can lose weight but still eat your favourite foods, it’s all about moderation.

“When it comes to weight loss, it’s usually beneficial to include foods that have larger volumes but are less energy-dense.

“These foods tend to be rich in dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. Dietary fibres make you full for longer, and have many health benefits, including preventing constipation and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and bowel cancer.”

If you want to try some alternatives to your favourite foods, here are some food swaps richer in dietary fibre (that are just as tasty) to incorporate into your diet.

Whole grain pasta instead of white pasta

Whole grain pasta is a much healthier alternative to white pasta because it is filled with complex carbs rather than simple carbs, fibre, iron, magnesium and zinc.

Refined carbohydrates have been stripped of these nutrients during their processing, so you’re better off eating whole grain pasta.

Signe said: “Many think that pasta is a big no-no when you want to lose weight, but whole grain pasta is actually a great source of dietary fibre and protein. It’s all about the amounts!”

Whole grain bread instead of white bread

The same applies to whole grain bread, which is full of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Signe said: “Make sure to read the nutritional label, aim for high fibre, low sodium and sugar content.”

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Brown rice instead of white rice

Brown rice is a better choice than white rice because of its vitamin and mineral content.

White rice has barely any nutrients and is basically just empty calories.

Oatmeal instead of breakfast cereals

You might love your sweet breakfast cereals in the morning, but oatmeal is a healthier option.

Signe explained: “Oatmeal is filled with protein and dietary fibre, and will make you feel full for much longer than a serving of breakfast cereals (which tend to have a high amount of added sugars).”

Cutting back on sugar also reduces the number of calories, which is useful when trying to lose weight.

Low-fat Greek yoghurt instead of fruit yoghurt

Low-fat and sweetened yoghurt barely tastes different, but there’s a huge difference in calories.

Signe said: “Many people aren’t aware of the high sugar content in sweetened yoghurt, which makes the calories rise without providing any more nutrients, and it won’t make you feel full for longer.

“It’s better to choose low-fat Greek yoghurt with a high protein content and top it with a fresh fruit or some nuts – then you get more food for the same amount of energy.”

Water instead of sugary drinks

Water has no calories and will quench your thirst like no other drink.

Signe said: “Some people drink fizzy drinks and sugary juices and squash when they’re thirsty.

“Swap these drinks with water, a more hydrating drink, and you’ll save a lot of energy to spend on nutritious food instead. Your body and teeth will thank you!”

If you are sick of drinking water every day, try drinking sparkling water with a slice of lemon, orange or cucumber.

Whole fruit instead of jam or marmalade

Ditch your sugar-filled jam and marmalade and use whole fruit instead.

Whether you’re making a cake, toast, sandwich, scone or anything else, there’s an easy way to make the treat less calorific.

Signe said: “Sliced fruit goes just as well on your sandwich instead of marmalade, and some chopped fruit is perfect in your porridge, instead of jam.”

Fresh fruit instead of sweets

Sometimes all you want is something sweet and sugary, but don’t reach for a bag of processed sweets.

Signe said: “Instead of that bag of sweets, slice up some fresh fruits – nature’s own delicious sweets!”

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