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There’s no denying that dieting is incredibly difficult, but it’s even harder if you try and avoid temptation altogether. Sooner or later, your cravings will win out and you’ll find yourself halfway through a tub of caramel swirl ice cream – or is that just me?

Thankfully, you don’t necessarily need to deny yourself a mid-morning snack, afternoon bite or sneaky dessert – as long as you make the right food swaps.

1. Swap chips for popcorn

A small bowl of plain popcorn with a sprinkling of salt is so much better for you than those (admittedly delicious) fried, oily, sodium- and preservative-packed chips. A serve of plain popcorn is low in calories, high in fibre, and believe it or not, counts towards your daily whole grain intake. Win, win, win!

2. Swap store-bought juice and smoothies for homemade

Bottled juice and smoothies, no matter what they tell you on the labels, will never be healthier than what you can make at home. Store-bought drinks are usually filled with teaspoons of added sugar, and most of the time, all the pulpy, fibre-packed goodness doesn’t make it into the bottle. Instead, throw some of your favourite fruit in the blender with a bit of ice (or maybe some almond milk) and make your own.

3. Swap takeaway for frozen leftovers

Not only is it expensive, but takeaway foods can undo all your hard work. Instead, make a little extra of whatever you’re having for lunch or dinner, put it in a container or zip-lock bag, and chuck it in the freezer. The next time you’re running low on time (or, let’s face it, energy), simply grab some leftovers, reheat and eat!

4. Swap spaghetti for zoodles (zucchini noodles)

No vegetable will ever come close to good ole fashioned, deliciously carb-filled pasta, but think about all those extra calories you’re saving by swapping to zucchini noodles (made using a spiraliser). Even better? You can justify an extra spoonful of toppings! That is, if you can resist going overboard. I can’t.

5. Swap tacos and wraps for lettuce

The taco or tortilla is only there to keep your food together, and it doesn’t really add much taste. So why not replace it with a nice, big lettuce leaf? Again, it means you can add a little bit of extra filling, but you’re avoiding those unnecessary carbs, fat and even sugar, depending on the type of wrap you usually go for.

What healthy food swap do you recommend? Share it with us in the comments below.

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