Make some sensible swaps in your diet

Becky Cotter, Food for Thought, MPLO
Becky Cotter, Food for Thought, MPLO

Food for Thought by Becky Cotter...

January is the time of year where, after indulging in Christmas food, you vow to ditch the junk and focus on healthy eating.

Be aware of the many fad diets being advertised around this time and instead remember that food is not the enemy.

In fact many food groups, including fats, are very good for us and should not be cut out entirely. Focus on whole foods, in as natural state as possible, and you will see positive differences.

Great ingredients to include in your diet in season this month are beetroots, celeriac, kale, apples, pomegranates, mackerel and lean meat such as turkey. Why not make some sensible swaps in your diet so you can still enjoy comforting foods but with fewer calories.

Celeriac is quickly becoming a recognisable vegetable on our supermarket shelves. Treat it like a potato, parsnip or swede. You can roast it, bake it or mash it and it has a wonderful earthy yet sweet flavour. It is low carb (9g of carbohydrate in 1 cup compared to 27g of the same amount of potato) and has under half the calories of a potato.

Pomegranates are an unusual fruit that you see in Middle Eastern cooking; they are full of anti-oxidants, they lower risk of blood clots, reduce cholesterol and help rebuild cells. My favourite thing to do with a pomegranate is juice it and mix with fizzy water, lemons and a little honey to create a substitute to fizzy pop.

We are recommended to eat one portion of oily fish a week and mackerel is the one to choose in January! It is rich in protein, omega 3 and vitamin D. You can buy it fresh, in which case a light coating of flour then pan fried is how I would suggest eating it, or smoked which is great mixed with some low fat yoghurt.

Food is an important part of our health but it is easy to see it as a battle when trying to lose weight. Using food to your advantage and sticking to healthy versions of foods you love will help you see more success than cutting out everything completely.