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Healthy food swaps for your diet

Choosing healthier foods is easier than you may think. By changing just a few eating habits you can make a big difference to your diet.

Making small changes to your diet is the healthiest and most achievable way to lose weight.

Your first step is to eat fewer foods high in calories, fat, salt and sugars and swap them for something healthier, including more fruit and vegetables.

Remember, small changes can add up to make a big overall difference to your diet.

Find out more in the eatwell plate about which foods you should be eating – and in what amounts – to achieve a balanced diet.

Food and drink swaps

Try these small changes when you have your next meal or drink, or when you open the kitchen cupboard or fridge looking for a snack. Once you’ve got started, try thinking of your own healthier swaps, too.

When buying pre-packed food, don’t rely on the attractive promotional print on the wrapping, which can be misleading. Instead, learn to read the nutritional information when checking for calorie, fat, salt and sugar content.


  • Swap from whole milk to semi-skimmed, 1% fat or even skimmed milk.
  • Swap a sugar-coated breakfast cereal for a whole grain breakfast cereal such as porridge or shredded whole grain wheat cereal with no added sugar.
  • Swap a sprinkle of sugar on your breakfast cereal for a topping of fresh or dried fruit, which counts towards one of your five a day.
  • Swap full-fat Greek yoghurt for lower-fat or fat-free Greek yoghurt, or natural low-fat yoghurt.


  • Swap white breads, bagels and muffins for whole grain varieties.
  • Swap butter and cheese in your jacket potato for reduced fat spread and reduced salt and sugar baked beans.
  • Swap a tuna melt panini for a tuna salad sandwich on wholemeal bread without mayo.
  • Swap a cheddar cheese filling in your sandwich for reduced-fat hard cheese.


  • Swap creamy or cheesy sauces for tomato- or vegetable-based sauces on your pasta, meat or fish dishes.
  • Swap mashed potato made with butter and whole milk for mash with low-fat spread and a lower-fat milk such as semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmed.
  • Swap the frying pan for the grill when cooking meat.


  • Swap a coffee made with whole milk to a “skinny” coffee made with semi-skimmed or skimmed milk.
  • Swap a cordial for a cordial with no added sugars.
  • Swap a few of your sugary drinks for a glass of water.
  • Swap a cola or fizzy drink with some 100% fruit juice (with no added sugar) mixed with soda water.
  • Swap hot chocolate made with whole milk and served with whipped cream for a hot chocolate made with skimmed milk and no cream.


  • Choose from these 10 surprising 100kcal snacks
  • Swap a blueberry muffin for a currant bun on its own or with some reduced fat spread.
  • Swap yoghurt-coated raisins for plain raisins.
  • Swap salted nuts for unsalted nuts.
  • Swap cheese straws for rice cakes with lower-fat cream cheese.

More information

Download the weight loss plan, a 12-week guide combining advice on healthier eating and physical activity.

Learn the basics of a healthy diet in Eight tips for healthy eating.

Get started on reaching a healthy weight in Start losing weight.

Find healthy recipes for your family in Healthy recipes.healthy-food-swaps_377x171_BK1AG3

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