Diet & Nutrition

Is mindful eating one of your goals for this year? These five easy food swaps are a great place to start

Healthy eating has never been so achievable.

By Alex Lilly
We've all heard about emotional eating (who hasn't reached for the chocolate and ice cream after a long hard day?) but when it comes to mindful eating, it sounds a lot more daunting than it actually is.
Taking the time to consider what you're putting into your body whether it's a slice of cake or a handful of carrot sticks is basically what it's all about.

What is mindful eating?

The basic translation of mindful eating is paying attention while you eat and being free from distraction.
"When you eat mindfully, you might find you get more enjoyment from your food (that's a major win!) plus, you might be better able to avoid eating past discomfort," Dietitian Lyndi Cohen, founder of the Back to Basics App, tells Now To Love.
What's even better is you don't need to break the bank to do so - it can happen just by switching off the TV and putting down your phone while you eat.
"We often think we need to make huge overhauls in our lives to eat healthier but simply aiming to eat at the table can have a huge impact on wellbeing. For parents, it's a brilliant way to role model healthy habits and helps teach your kids to eat mindfully," she adds.
Dietitian Lyndi Cohen explains that mindful eating is paying attention while you eat and being free from distraction. (Image: Supplied)

Mindful eating food swaps

Whilst we can all take little steps like limiting screen time while eating, swapping certain foods can also come in handy.
We're not talking about eating only egg-white omelettes (the yolk is full of important nutrients and we're not fans of food wastage) but keep scrolling for some healthier pantry staples to make the switch to.
1. Greek yoghurt instead of flavoured, sweetened yoghurt
Lyndi suggests naturally sweetening plain yoghurt with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey for a more natural sugar source. Plus, plain Greek yoghurt is more likely to contain gut-healthy probiotics.
You can even use Greek yoghurt instead of savoury items like sour cream and cream cheese.
2. Coffee instead of energy drinks
Research has found that drinking coffee is linked to a reduced risk of diseases from diabetes to heart disease, plus drinking between three and four cups a day may can lead to a longer lifespan!
Energy drinks are often packed with processed sugar, so Lyndi recommends a cup of joe for an energy boost instead.
3. Popcorn instead of chips
Chips may be crunchy and satisfy those cravings but there's a lot of salt and little fibre packed away, so why not swap for some popcorn?
Lyndi also recommends crispy fava beans and chickpeas which can be found in the health food aisle of most supermarkets.
4. Wholemeal or legume-based pasta instead of regular pasta
It's a truth universally acknowledged that pasta is delicious, but the type you choose can boost your fibre intake.
Swapping for wholemeal or legume-based option will give you that important nutrient, which is linked with a healthier gut and lower risk of disease.
If you're going for pasta a la Meghan Markle, try a wholemeal or legume-based variety. (Image: Instagram)
5. Raw versions of foods rather than pre-packaged alternatives
Sarah Davidson, Brand Ambassador for Halo Top Australia says another trick is to swap the pre-packaged or par-cooked versions of things that often contain extra hidden ingredients to preserve with their raw version.
Think swapping pre-shredded cheese for block cheese or pre-mixed granola for raw fruits and nuts that you bake yourself.
"Not only are you eliminating anything but the raw ingredient and controlling the added things like honey or sugars, you also tend to get much better value or bulk sizing options for the raw materials," she tells Now To Love.
"My favourite hack of all time is simply finding brands whose values include mindful eating and whose products mimic the flavours or experience (and price tag) of other options but with a greater focus on wellbeing and natural ingredients," Sarah adds.
"For example, you don't have to skip the dessert aisle when there's Halo Top on offer with only around 380 calories per tub AND three new plant-based options made entirely from oat milk – hot tip, the Choc Hazelnut is to DIE FOR."
Enjoy your food! (Image: Instagram)
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  • undefined: Alex Lilly