For most people, even if you’re normally quite good, Christmas adds a few pounds and New Year’s is all about eating healthy and taking care of your body.
If you’re on a mission to cut out the rubbish and eat clean, these food intentions will help.
Getting lean is about fuel and fitness so find your workout style and make some of these clever swaps…
1. TURNIP MASH FOR MASHED POTATOES
With four times fewer calories and twice as much vitamin C per serving, turnips make for a healthier accompaniment for your bangers.
2. GRASS-FED BEEF FOR CORN-FED BEEF
Grass-fed beef has 27% less fat and more omega 3s than the corn-fed kind. It also has higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid, which is udderly brilliant (sorry) for blasting abdominal fat. For less fatty meat, choose leg or loin cuts like sirloin and silverside and avoid rib-eye.
It’s got more gristle than Bear Grylls.
3. AMARANTH FOR BROWN RICE
Each 250g serving of this Aztec-hailing grain provides 29% of your iron RDA and offers nearly twice as much protein as brown rice. Amaranth also contains a bioactive peptide called lunasin, which has been shown to inhibit the development of cancer cells. A seriously clever side dish.
4. NUTRITIONAL YEAST FOR CHEESE
A powder or flakes made from deactivated yeast, this is a great source of protein and B-vitamins, nutritional yeast makes a healthy cheese substitute.
Instead of topping that pizza with cheddar, try a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavouring with less salt and five times less fat. It just doesn’t work quite as well in a Ploughman’s.
5. HEMP SEED OIL FOR OLIVE OIL
With 40% less saturated fat than olive oil, hemp seed oil is a highly recommended alternative for stir frying, roasting and drizzling. It is also a source of “complete” protein, containing all the essential amino acids our bodies can’t synthesise.
And don’t worry, the oil doesn’t smell anything like damp bedsits (unlike the plant).
6. BLACK GARLIC FOR WHITE GARLIC
Packing twice the antioxidant content of its paler counterpart, black garlic contains a compound called s-allyl-cysteine, which a study in journal Plos One showed to have cancer-fighting properties. It also promises to leave no trace of bad breath. Date-friendly then.
7. CHIA SEEDS FOR EGGS
Bear with us. Packed full of fibre, calcium, omega 3s and iron, chia seeds are an unexpected egg substitute for cakes.
For each egg a recipe calls for, grind a tablespoon of chia seeds and combine with 3 tablespoons of water. Leave to sit for 15 minutes until it forms a gel.
It won’t alter the consistency of your Victoria sponge one bit, just remember to use white chia seeds if you don’t want the finished product to look like frogspawn.
8. PRUNE PURÉE FOR OIL/BUTTER
Making a chocolate cake? Replace half the oil or butter with prune purée for a huge saving of 500 calories per 100g. You’ll get 7g of fibre too. Tip: To make your own, blend 100g of pitted prunes with 300ml of water. Yep, that’s really it.
9.PURÉED BLACK BEANS FOR FLOUR
Next time you’re baking brownies, try swapping the flour for puréed black beans. This cuts out gluten and saves around 100 calories per 100g.
Whizz a can black beans (drained and rinsed) in a food processor and swap for an equal amount of flour. Packed with antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins and with serious anti-inflammatory properties, black beans help combat cardiovascular disease.
Burrito lovers, rejoice!
10. EDAMAME HUMMUS FOR REGULAR HUMMUS
This soybean-derived alternative offers twice the protein and half the fat of chickpea hummus. Soybean products are also rich in in the essential amino acid lysine, which helps to strengthen the bones and teeth as well as lower cholesterol.
To make your own, add 200g cooked edamame beans to a food processor with a clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons of tahini, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Process until smooth and season to taste. Done!
11. AVOCADO PURÉE FOR BUTTER
A 100g serving of butter has a whopping 81 grams of fat compared to 14 grams in the same serving of cholesterol-lowering avocado. To bake better bites, substitute in equal ratios of avocado for butter – perfect for chocolate buttercream icing.