Cosmopolitan (UK)

CHOOSE IT OR LOSE IT? Game-changing food swaps

So you’ve binned the Nutella (stay strong) and are attempting to make better decisions about what you put in your mouth. We’re with you. Here are some sly tradeoffs to help upgrade your shopping list


1 CHOOSE ALMOND BUTTER LOSE PEANUT BUTTER The struggle is real when it comes to being left alone in a room with a jar of the crunchy stuff. But almond butter contains four times more vitamin E, which boosts the immune system. 2 CHOOSE HEMP SEED OIL LOSE OLIVE OIL Correct, the Mediterran­ean diet is great for heart health, but if we’re sticking to the facts (and indeed we are), then hemp seed oil has 40% less saturated fat than olive oil. It’s also top-notch for stir-frying and roasting.


CHOOSE AVOCADO PUREE LOSE BUTTER Butter has 81g of fat per 100g, whereas cholestero­l-lowering avocado has only 14g. Done the maths? Good, now swap equal ratios of butter for avocado (this hack works for baking, too). 4 CHOOSE WHEATGRASS • LOSE COFFEE Looking for a better wake-up call than your flat white? Try a shot of wheatgrass laced with cinnamon: it’s nature’s version of Red Bull. A standard serving has 24mg of magnesium – around 8% of the recommende­d dietary allowance for women. It keeps energy levels high by oxygenatin­g the blood. It’s also a potent source of vitamins C, E, K and B-complex. The cinnamon (antiinflam­matory, full of weight-loss-aiding cinnulin) will sweeten the deal. Wheatgrass is pretty, er, intense, on its own (Naturya Organic Wheatgrass Powder, £9.49, Holland & Barrett). 5 CHOOSE CHIA SEEDS • LOSE EGGS Yes, they look like dried frogspawn (sorry) but those little seeds are packed full of fibre, calcium, omega-3s and iron. Phew. Try substituti­ng one egg for a tablespoon of ground chia seeds mixed with three tablespoon­s of water. Et voila! 6 CHOOSE XYLITOL LOSE SUGAR Sounds like an X-Man, is actually a sweetener with a lower glycaemic index than sugar. It offers all the sweetness without the crash. It also has 40% fewer calories and 75% less carbs. You can find it in Holland & Barrett. Turns out sweet dreams really are made of this. ›

7 CHOOSE STRAWBERRY JUICE LOSE CRANBERRY JUICE Not only essential for tennis matches, strawberri­es are high in disease-fighting polyphenol­s and a great brain-power booster. They help lower blood pressure, too, and protect your heart. Choosing strawberry juice over cranberry will save you a handful of calories and 10g of sugar per glass. Want maximum nutritiona­l benefits? Juice your own (eight berries will tick off your daily vitamin-C needs). 8 CHOOSE BLACK BEANS LOSE FLOUR Swap black beans into pretty much any recipe that needs flour for a gluten-free protein hit. Just whizz a can (drained and rinsed) in a processor in place of an equal amount of flour. Impressive, we know.


CHOOSE PISTACHIOS LOSE PRETZELS Peckish? According to dieticians, our bodies don’t absorb all the fat in protein-rich pistachios, making them more effective in lowering cholestero­l. Swap a packet of pretzels for a handful of these – you’ll get the same salty kick without the artery-clogging bad fats. 10 CHOOSE FROZEN BANANAS LOSE DAIRY ICE CREAM

If, like us, you’ve been in a deeply committed relationsh­ip with a Mr Ben and a Sir Jerry for some time now, ditching ice cream is a toughie. Make it easier by whipping up a banana alternativ­e. No milk, no cream, no sugar – and it even counts as one of your five-a-day. Simply freeze a few bananas, then puree and eat with one of those minispade ice-cream spoons for a healthy treat full of vitamins B6, C and potassium. At only 105 calories per serving, you could say it’s bananas. 11 CHOOSE EDAMAME BEAN HOUMOUS LOSE CHICKPEA HOUMOUS This soybean-derived alternativ­e offers almost twice the protein and half the fat of chickpea houmous. It’s also rich in the amino acid lysine, to help strengthen bones and teeth, and lower cholestero­l. Make your own by boiling shelled edamame for five minutes, pureeing, then adding in lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic, two tablespoon­s of tahini paste and a dash of water. Season, then dip away. 12 CHOOSE RYE BREAD LOSE MULTIGRAIN BREAD Good news: a Journal Of Nutrition study found rye bread helps maintain bowel regularity better than a multigrain kind (shocking fact: they don’t advertise this on the packet). It’s also low GI and just 50 calories per slice. 13 CHOOSE GRASS-FED BEEF • LOSE CORN-FED BEEF If raised on the green stuff, your beef will be leaner and contain more omega-3s than the corn-fed kind. Plus, it’s rich in conjugated linoleic acid – which is udderly brilliant for blasting abdominal fat. For less fatty meat, choose leg or loin cuts like sirloin and silverside.


CHOOSE CAULIFLOWE­R RICE LOSE WHITE RICE We all know vegetable stand-ins are the healthier choice. But why? Cauliflowe­r rice contains phytochemi­cals called glucosinol­ates, which aid the body’s natural detox process. Blitz the raw florets in a food processor then fry in oil. You’ll save more than 100 calories and 20g of carbs per serving, but may end up eating twice as much chilli con carne. Swings and roundabout­s, eh? 15 CHOOSE TURNIP MASH LOSE MASHED POTATOES Tatties contain four times as many calories, while turnips boast more than twice as much vitamin C per serving,† making them a healthier accompanim­ent to your bangers. You know it’s the right move. ›

16 CHOOSE CELERY LEAVES LOSE ICEBERG LETTUCE Get salad savvy: iceberg lettuce has the lowest nutritiona­l profile of all leafy greens. Try celery leaves instead – 100g contains almost twice as much calcium as a glass of milk. Decent. 17 CHOOSE COCONUT MILK • LOSE DOUBLE CREAM You know the thick layer you find on the top of coconut milk? Well, scoop it out, whip it up and you’ll have a doublecrea­m alternativ­e, rich in the good type of fats that help kick your metabolism into gear. Care for another dollop? 18 CHOOSE COURGETTE RIBBONS LOSE PASTA This vegetable has just 17 calories per 100g compared to 150 calories in spaghetti. Simply cut into ribbons, then steam for 5-10 minutes. Delicious and simple guilt-free pasta. Stuff of dreams.

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CHOOSE BLACK GARLIC LOSE WHITE GARLIC Shown to reduce blood pressure while packing twice the immuneboos­ting antioxidan­t content of its paler counterpar­t, black garlic contains a compound called s-allyl cysteine, which has been shown to boost the immune system. It also promises to leave no trace of bad breath – a bonus for your Tinder date.


CHOOSE CACAO NIBS • LOSE CHOCOLATE CHIPS Cocoa is basically raw, unprocesse­d chocolate. It delivers a hefty dose of antioxidan­ts and magnesium (thought to help period pain), without the added sugar. Add 30g to your yoghurt for half your daily fibre needs. Chipper. 21 CHOOSE: LOW-FAT GREEK YOGHURT LOSE: MAYONNAISE Add fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice to low-fat Greek yoghurt for a mayonnaise substitute – you’ll hardly taste the difference. Plus, this canny swap will save you more than 85 calories per tablespoon. Ideal for making burger sauces, or dips for chips, crisps or, y’know, spoons.


CHOOSE VANILLA EXTRACT LOSE SUGAR A simple way to shed calories is to cut out half the sugar in any recipe and replace that half with a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Studies also show even the scent of the latter can help curb sweet cravings. Opt for pure vanilla extract over the synthetic stuff, as it has far less added sugar. 23 CHOOSE AMARANTH GRAINS LOSE BROWN RICE Each 250g serving of this Aztec staple provides 28% of your iron RDA and nearly twice as much protein as brown rice. Get stocked up at Whole Foods, Ocado or Healthy Supplies*.


CHOOSE NUTRITIONA­L YEAST LOSE CHEESE Known within the wellness sphere as ‘nooch’ (which makes it sound less like an STI and more like an illicit Class A), this cheesy-flavoured dairy alternativ­e has less salt, and just half a tablespoon of some brands will provide you with a day’s worth of B vitamins. Ideal on pasta.

25 CHOOSE PRUNE PUREE LOSE OIL OR BUTTER Yes, it’s usually found in baby food. But replacing your oil or butter when baking (works best in brownies) cuts out the fat and adds additional fibre. Buy shop-bought or make your own by blending 100g pitted prunes with 300ml of water. The result will be a moist, dense bake that feels indulgent. Your stomach (and taste buds) will thank you. ◆

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