Living well and being as healthy as possible really doesn’t have to be as complicated as you’d think. You don’t have to live on rabbit food or be in the gym for six days a week. You don’t have to buy expensive equipment or even think about it all that much once you’re in the swing of things. If you incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle you’ll do them without thinking, and be doing your body good with no extra hassle to you. One way to go about this is by implementing healthy swaps. Let’s face it- we need to be realistic here. It’s all very well saying ‘swap chocolate for broccoli’ but none of us actually want to do that. Thankfully, there are some very easy swaps and changes you can make that are enjoyable, as well as being sustainable long-term.
Drinking full sugar drinks to low or zero calorie
One of the easiest swaps that you’ll ever make by far, is switching from full sugar drinks to low or zero calorie varieties. People tend to be a little fearful of sweeteners, as they’ve been linked in the past to cancers and other illnesses by the media. However, science is now debunking some of these myths, and the general consensus is that sweeteners are a lot better for you than sugar. They have less impact on the cells in the body, and don’t cause dangerous blood sugar spikes. If you’re able to cut out these drinks altogether and just drink water then that’s great. But most of us won’t (or don’t want to) as they’re enjoyable, and can also help us to meet our daily water needs. Switch out that full sugar cola for some squash or a 0 calorie flavored water which is free of sweetener if you’re still skeptical. At the very least, switching to a diet version will cut calories dramatically, be better for your teeth and your body, too.
Swapping white to wheat
Wholegrain bread, pasta and rice contains more fiber and vitamins than its white counterparts, making it the healthier option. Best of all, you don’t have to do anything different here, other than grab a slightly different product off the shelves. It doesn’t cost you any more money and you don’t have to do anything different with it, just use the wholemeal version in your meals instead. While there’s a slight taste difference, in most recipes you won’t even be able to tell. Pasta bake with whole wheat pasta is just as delicious and you won’t know the difference once the herby, tomato-y goodness is covering it. Another easy swap here is to add low fat cheese on top. While this isn’t as creamy as the full fat stuff, it’s hardly noticeable once it’s melted. A chili con carne with brown rice is just as great, mix it all in and you’ll hardly notice a difference. Swap the beef mince for a lean variety or turkey mince while you’re there and viola! You’ve got a tasty dinner with less calories and more goodness but with all the same great flavor. Wholegrain bread does taste different than white, however if you give it a chance you might find that you actually learn to love it more since it has more flavor. If you really can’t get on board with it, start with a ‘best of both’ 50/50 white wheat blend which you might find more palatable.
Walking short distances instead of using the car
Lots of health articles will tell you to hop on your bike to go to work, or walk the journey instead. While this is great, it’s not always possible. Even if you do live in walking distance of your workplace, not everyone wants to get up an extra hour earlier, and brave the freezing cold mornings that we get for most of the year. Then afterwards, you’re tired and just want to get home without having to face another long walk. Even if you want to continue driving to and from work (who can blame you!) it’s a good idea to walk or bike some of your journeys instead of solely relying on your vehicle. If you’re popping out to visit a friend on a sunny afternoon, why not pop your earphones in and take a nice stroll instead of jumping in the car. If you need to post a letter or run an errand that doesn’t require you to carry lots of items then just walk instead. It’s such an underrated form of exercise, walking will tone up your body, provide light cardiovascular exercise and cancel out some of the negative effects of sitting all day. Many of us work sedentary job roles sat in front of computer screens, so getting up and simply walking when you can is so good for your health.
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