8 weekly swaps for better nutrition

How often do we hold back our temptation to have that slice of pizza or a piece of cake? Difficult right! Yet there is another one, you absolutely refuse to sacrifice. With a fast-paced lifestyle and the availability of grab-and-go snacks, it’s hard to exercise control. Trying to make the right choices by creating self-awareness and shopping for healthier options makes it simpler to swap for the better.

Hunger versus Appetite

Hunger is a physiological need of the body driven by our hunger hormones when you are low on energy and there is a requirement to refuel whereas appetite is created by the longing to have something which could be based on appearance, the aroma of food, texture or just plating. It’s a psychological preference based on visuals or something you require as an emotional fulfilment. Honour your hunger by realising when there are cues given by the body. Over eating or restrictive eating either of these extremes need to be avoided. Enjoy an occasional snack to feed your appetite.

Some of the swaps are mentioned below:


Eat clean instead of processed

How do you get access to eating clean?

Eating clean is looking for real or natural foods not packaged, learning to read labels, going for fresh food, cutting down on saturated fats, preservatives, sodium and checking for minimum sugar content. Follow a healthy diet and eat right.

Fermented not fried

Evening cravings for a snack are usually when the body and mind are in conflict. Opening the refrigerator or the snack boxes to locate something healthy is the target yet the longing to pick or order a burger, fries, chaat or a vada pav seem more interesting. Instead of choosing a calorie dense snack, go for a healthier fermented option such as idlis, dhokla, yogurt, buttermilk. Fermentation improves the nutritional value of food and these are easy to digest.

Unsalted over salted

Salt in various sources of food can be avoided. Mindful eating is a practice which converts into a lifestyle change. Healthier choices are made effortlessly. Opt for unsalted nuts as flavoured ones such as almonds, cashews, pistachios could have you adding up on that extra salt, sugar and fat. Roast them or have them plain. Corn kernels done at home on a stove instead of the microwave butter flavoured packaged ones saves you from the chemicals in the popcorn bag, salt and saturated fat or using natural butter over salted butter eventually helps do away with that additional salt.

Kombucha over soda

If you are the one who loves those bubbly aerated drinks, here is a replacement with much less sugars, high on probiotics a fermented tea with lesser caffeine and a fizz. Check on the label to make sure there are no preservatives or artificial sweeteners. In all, moderation is the key to have any liquid calories as they do not add satiety.

Nutritional yeast over cheese

While we are at different choices, one has to consider intolerances and allergies. Nutritional yeast is one such option for those who are lactose intolerant and are unable to digest dairy products as well as for vegans. It’s a good substitute for cheese. It’s available as a powder or as flakes and can be sprinkled as a topping for that cheesy taste. It’s lower in calories and high in fibre. Individuals prone to digestive disorders need to slowly introduce it in their diet.

Coconut water over fruit juices

A glass of coconut water is not only great to quench your thirst but has a good balance of natural electrolytes. Whether it’s after a mild workout or as a summer drink it’s a good way to swap it for fruit juices which are sugar sweetened beverages and high on calories.

Better breakfast over bedtime snacks

With fad diets encroaching on the concept of balanced nutrition, people have changed their dietary habits by skipping meals especially breakfast, considered as the most important meal of the day. Health oriented choices made during the day can curb cravings.

Starting the day with an am meal kick starts the metabolism. Adding various protein sources to your meals right from breakfast to dinner help in reducing hunger pangs. Eggs which have become the most versatile food and are reinvented in different ways, lean meats, paneer, soy, sprouts or pulses to make a variety of healthy snacks aid in achieving satiety. Choosing legumes and rice to make it a complete protein based combination also keeps you full for longer. Appropriate frequency of meals is essential.

Homemade sauces and dips over store bought

To get that amazing freshness and flavour to food there is nothing better than making sauces at home instead of picking up a jar full of preservatives, extra sugar and ample of saturated fat. Adding some fresh herbs like basil, parsley, oregano to these sauces enhances the taste and improves the intensity of food. Sauces like marinara can be made by adding fresh tomatoes not having canned ones. Curd dips made by adding either spinach, dill or a tzatziki dip, are not only healthy but easy recipes made with hung curd or greek yoghurt and olive oil.


Author: Komal Lala,


Komal Lala is a nutritionist and a health coach, certified in weight management and clinical nutrition from ACSM, a Diploma in health education DNHE, PG in Clinical Nutrition. She is affiliated to NSI (Nutrition Society of India) and IAPEN (Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition).You can contact her at [email protected]

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