Replacement: The Easiest Way to Lose Weight

Despite the media's focus on whichever diet is this month's "hot tip", the basic tips towards living healthier and losing weight have never changed; eat better & exercise more. One of the easiest ways to eat healthier with minor sacrifices (if any) is to replace your existing diet with healthier options. In this post, I'll offer a few suggestions on how to achieve that.


The most important meal of the day. Why start off with an unhealthy snack that won't keep you going until lunchtime?

Pop Tarts / Muffins / Bagels => Toast
These (vaguely) bread based choices unfortunately all contain lots of sugar, and are often coated in a layer to keep them fresher for longer. Bread tends to be a bit healthier, particularly if using brown bread and/or bread with seeds in.

Topping is also important. Butter and cheese are quite fatty, whilst lower fat margarine and creative toppings such as banana are relatively good for you.

Sugary Cereal => Muesli
Foods such as Coco Pops and Frosties are quite clearly unhealthy, but others like Rice Krispies and Shreddies are also just as bad, the sugar is simply less obvious. The only way to truly tell how much sugar or fat is in a cereal is by looking at the "health bars", which exist for exactly this purpose.

Even granola, a seemingly healthy option (it contains fruit!)  has very high amounts of sugar, used to stick the clusters together and sweeten the meal. Muesli has a similar taste, but instead of adding sugar will use ingredients such as raisins to help improve the taste. Whilst the taste of blander cereal such as muesli isn't as sweet as we are used to, adding extra fruit (banana, apple) quickly resolves that.


Sandwiches => Sandwiches
Sandwiches are such a large category of food that they can't all be deemed healthy or unhealthy. The variance is so massive that replacing unhealthy sandwiches with healthier ones is as significant a change as anything else on this list. Sandwiches such as Tesco's Healthy Living Prawn Mayonnaise sandwich contain 11% calories, 3% fat, and 3% saturates. Compared to their Roast Chicken & Lincolnshire Sausages sandwich with 32% calories, 46% fat, and 37% saturates, the difference is very clear.

Fast Food => Homemade
Whilst this is an absolutely massive topic that could be (and will be!) a blog post(s) by itself, it's still worth pointing out. This doesn't include more niche fast food such as sushi, but instead the wildly popular McDonalds, Burger King, Dominoes, etc. These meals contain simply absurd amounts of calories, fat, and salt, often more than half your recommended daily amounts in a single burger. Pizzas are no better, with very high volumes of fat and calories in almost every meal.

Homemade meals allow healthier options to be made. For example, a lower fat cheese on a pizza, lower fat mince for the burgers, using less oil when cooking the potatoes for fries, etc. Not to mention the ability to fine tune the cooking process, to ensure it is perfect for you. Whilst fast food seems cheaper on a per-meal basis, cooking from scratch almost always turns out cheaper in the long run.

Besides, even if fast food was cheaper, isn't your health worth the cost?


Dinner is usually the most comprehensive meal of the day, with most calories being obtained from it. As such, healthier choices here have a very large impact, larger than those at breakfast or lunch. Due to the relatively high number of dinner choices available, individual substitutions won't be listed. Instead, aim to make as many meals from scratch as possible, opting towards low fat options if available. Smaller portion sizes are also important, there's no need to eat until you're stuffed!

Fries => Salad
Whilst the salty taste of fries can be very appealing (and addictive to our bodies), that same salt is far more than what we are used to as a species. At the same time, most people fail to achieve the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with some studies showing only 1 in 5 achieve the goal. 

A salad is an excellent way to bridge this gap, and experimenting will soon reveal which ingredients work for you. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, chicken, small chunks of cheese, all can be included in salads. Careful not to use too much salad dressing however, as that will negate some of the health benefits.

Many have been scared away from salads, scarred by the disappointing efforts of popular fast food places. For example many consider lettuce to be bland and flavourless, but a mouthful of a fresh, crisp Iceburg lettuce will quickly change that assumption.


Crisps / Snack Bars => Fruit
Crisps are one of the most convenient snacks, allowing a bag to be grabbed on the way out. However, they contain very high amounts of salt and fat. Luckily, healthier crisps exist, without any sacrifice in quality or taste. Of course, fruit is a far healthier alternative, and just as easy to grab on the way out of the house, and eat on the go. It will also provide energy for a long time period, fulfilling the purpose of a snack.


We all need to drink, but we don't need to drink the extremely sugary sodas half of americans do every day. Simply cutting out soda is often cited as an excellent first step in losing weight, and with good reason: the extra 90 calories and 25g sugary carbohydrates per can of Coke can easily contribute to weight gain.

Unfortunately juice isn't the instant solution it is sometimes perceived as, as it contains large amounts of sugar that can be harmful. It is of course better than soda, but nowhere near as good as water. Water contains nothing unhealthy in it whatsoever (assuming water regulations are being followed!) and dehydration is often the cause of headaches and lethargy. 
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