Vitamin with Jane McClenaghan: 10 straightforward meals swaps for a more healthy food regimen and a more healthy you

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When it comes to eating well and feeling good, it’s the little things that matter. So if we can make a few simple little changes to our shopping list, we can add variety to our diet, which means we’re much better fed and we are likely to feel much healthier.

I’ve been thinking of a few simple swaps for you. This is not about dieting, just rethinking what’s on your plate and in your cart and how to make a few simple changes that you would barely notice.

Pick one or two of the suggestions and get used to them before trying a few more.

10 EASY REPLACEMENT

1) WHITE PASTA TO WHOLEMEAL PASTA: more fiber, more minerals, more nutrition. The whole grain product has a lower GI, so you’ll feel full longer and a little less satisfying. Whole wheat pasta used to taste like whole wheat pasta, if you know what I’m talking about. These days, you’re unlikely to notice much of a difference between the white and whole grain versions, especially when you have a tasty Bolognese to top it off.

2) BRAN FLAKES TO WEETABIX: Despite their healthy image, bran flakes invite you to have breakfast with a whiff of sugar. Switch to Weetabix for a lower sugar option.

3) CRISPS TO NUTS: Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, and pistachios are packed with nutrients. Calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, protein, healthy fats – you name it, you have it. A handful of nuts is a great afternoon snack to boost your energy levels and make you feel better than a packet of chips.

4) FIZZY POP TO FIZZY WATER: Even if you don’t choose sugar or diet versions, carbonated drinks are bad news. Switch to bottled water – add a slice of orange or lemon or a pinch of liqueur for a little flavor, or try the “cold infusions” (next to the tea bags in your local supermarket) for a flavor hit.

5) MARGARINE TO BUTTER: Butter undoubtedly wins every day of the week and not just in terms of taste (but of course). Margarine is made with flammable sunflower or vegetable oils. I’m talking about real butter here, not spreadable stuff as this is likely to get mixed with vegetable oils as well.

6) LOW GREASE TO OLIVE OIL CLOTHES: We know the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world and one of the reasons is the health effects of olive oil. Drizzle, get dressed and pour – it’s good stuff. Read the label on your low-fat dressings and see how much junk it contains – emulsifiers, sweeteners, vegetable oil – junk food disguised as organic.

7) JAFFA CAKE TO DIGESTIVE BOILS: Jaffa cakes contain a whopping 53g of sugar per 100g (that’s 6g per “cake” or one and a half teaspoons) compared to 16g per 100g in digestives (equivalent to 2g per cookie or half a teaspoon). Digestive products also contain more fiber, making them a lower GI choice.

8) LATTE TO FLAT WHITE: A black coffee or a flat white with less saturated fat and calories is a better option than a cappuccino or latte.

9) MILK CHOCOLATE ON 70 PER CENT COCOA COCOLATE: The higher the cocoa content, the less sugar and the more antioxidants you will hit. Do you see? Chocolate can be good for you.

10) ham and bacon for chicken or tuna: Do yourself a favor and cut down on the sausages. Swap your ham sandwich for a tuna or chicken version to save on salt.