Published Mon, 2012-02-13 16:17; updated 2 years ago.

Trying to eat more healthily can seem daunting.

In fact, by changing just a few eating habits you make a big difference to your diet.

Making that change will mean you'll get more of the nutrients your body needs.

It will help you to achieve your 5 A DAY portions of fruit and vegetables. And it could help you to shed excess pounds and achieve a healthy weight.

It's all about avoiding high calorie, low nutrient, unhealthy foods and swapping them for something healthier. You could try:

  • Swapping your fatty, sugary snacks for fruit and vegetables.
  • Reducing portion sizes
  • Drinking plenty of water

Remember, small changes add up.

This is the 'stop and swap' method for reducing your daily calorie intake and eating more healthily. It means stopping your usual snack or meal and replacing it with something just as tasty, but healthier and lower in calories. Below, we run through a typical stop and swap day.

Note: all calorie values given are approximate, and taken from the website of a leading supermarket.

8am: breakfast


It’s the start of the day, and you need something to fill you with energy.
STOP: croissant with jam and butter, orange juice and a cup of tea with milk and two sugars (415.5 calories).
SWAP: Begin the day with a slice of lemon in hot water and enjoy some homemade porridge with semi-skimmed milk and a little honey. The porridge will provide a much slower release of energy that will keep you going until lunch (378.4 calories).

9am: pre-work kickstart


You’re heading to the office when you decide to stop off for a quick coffee.
STOP: a whole milk latte (200 calories).
SWAP: swap this for a skimmed milk latte and you’ll still get your caffeine boost, but with nearly half the calories (122 calories).

11am: morning snack


You’re feeling peckish and want something to snack on.
STOP: a bag of crisps (288.8 calories).
SWAP: a handful of fruit or nuts, or plain popcorn instead (188 calories).

1pm: lunch


You’re heading out for lunch and you’re after something filling.
STOP: a mozzarella, tomato and pesto panini (487 calories).
SWAP: a jacket potato with cottage cheese and a salad. This will fill you up without giving you that mid-afternoon energy slump (402.5 calories).

3pm: mid-afternoon snack


A mid-afternoon tea break, and it’s time for something sweet.
STOP: a chocolate-chip cookie (168 calories).
SWAP: a piece of fruit. Bananas are good if you’re craving something sweet (116 calories).

6.30pm: a drink after work


It’s the end of the day and your workmates are all off to the pub.
STOP: a bottle of beer (159.8 calories).
SWAP: a glass of white wine has far fewer calories (97.2 calories), or stick to water for zero calories and a much healthier night out.

8pm: dinner


Tonight you planned to make something special.
STOP: roast beef, roast potatoes and yorkshire pudding (558 calories).
SWAP: Try a warming beef casserole with mash and vegetables. You’ll save calories and it’ll be just as satisfying (475 calories).

10pm: close to bedtime


It’s nearly bedtime and you fancy a late night nibble.
STOP: chocolate digestive (83.8 calories).
SWAP: have two dried figs. They’re sweet enough to satisfy your sugar craving without the high saturated fats (57.2 calories calories).

Total STOP calories: 2,360.9
Total SWAP calories: 1,836.3

TOTAL CALORIE SAVING PER DAY: 524.6

Due for review February 2013

NHS Choices