FOOD
16/05/2017 8:19 AM AEST | Updated 16/05/2017 8:22 AM AEST

6 Food Replacements That Help Make Healthy Eating Easy

1. Swap white rice for quinoa.

Completely changing your diet and lifestyle for the better can be hard. Really hard.

Often times, the thought of eating healthily at every meal and exercising five days a week feels so unattainable that we don't even start. It's self-sabotage before we've given ourselves a chance.

But overhauling diet and lifestyle doesn't have to happen overnight -- in fact, doing so in small steps can be more beneficial in the long-term. And you don't have to be "perfect".

"The biggest thing to consider when you are focusing on making positive choices and leading a healthy lifestyle is to realise that you don't have to be perfect," Kim Beach, health and fitness expert and author of Beach Fit, told HuffPost Australia.

Over the past 13 years, Beach has helped thousands of women achieve life-changing results -- from long-term weight loss and having more energy, to sleeping better and feeling better.

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Kim Beach's aim is to help busy women lead a fitter and healthier life.

"Making a lifestyle change all comes down to consistency and eating well 80 percent of the time, and knowing you have 20 percent up your sleeve to go out for dinner and socialise on the weekend.

"No one is perfect and adopting the 'all or nothing' mentality is unachievable and leads to frustration and, inevitably, you giving up."

It's for this reason that Beach recommends overhauling your diet and lifestyle one step at a time.

"It is best to start slowly. Any lifestyle change can be difficult," Beach said.

"Making more and more positive choices as the days, weeks and months go by is a great way to view the change (without putting too much pressure on yourself) and to become really conscious of what you are eating (without eating for the sake of it)."

You will be seriously surprised at how you actually feel when you are fuelling your body correctly.Kim Beach

But what does this 'start' point even look like? First step: Beach recommends replacing not-so-healthy foods with healthy replacements.

"Being mindful of subbing healthier options into your diets will give you the confidence to know that the healthier option actually tastes great and makes you feel amazing," Beach said.

"When you are on a journey of making more positive choices it can be overwhelming -- you are trying to find your rhythm and learn about new foods that will now be your staples. So take your time. There is no immediate rush as these changes will last a lifetime.

"You will be seriously surprised at how you actually feel when you are fuelling your body correctly. You will have boundless energy and your body will start to work really efficiently."

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1. Swap: white rice for quinoa

The next time you go to make rice for stir fry, curry or buddha bowls, swap white rice for protein-packed quinoa.

"White rice has literally been stripped of its nutrients, fibre and is highly processed, whereas quinoa is such a fantastic source of carbohydrate that is low GI, high in fibre and protein," Beach told HuffPost Australia.

"As it is high in fibre and protein, quinoa is going to keep you fuller for longer."

2. Swap: pasta for zucchini pasta

Good news -- you don't have to give up pasta time when eating healthily. It's all about sticking to appropriate portions of wholemeal pasta and mixing up the carbs with veggies.

"Eating pasta can be really heavy, especially if you are having it at night before you go to bed," Beach said.

"Instead of pasta, try zucchini pasta. You can pick up a spiraliser really cheaply and this little machine makes the perfect vegetable pasta. Once you have made your zucchini pasta, you just warm it quickly or eat it cold.

"It is great for meals like bolognese or just to have as a side dish. You won't experience the bloating you do with pasta and it is a wholefood which your body will easily digest."

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3. Swap: ice cream for homemade ice cream

People often think dessert becomes a no-go when eating healthily. But there are simple ways to make dessert time nutritious.

"Store-bought ice cream is loaded with fats and sugars and will pretty much put anyone on a sugar high," Beach said.

"My advice is to freeze up some peeled and chopped bananas and get some mixed frozen berries. Put both in your food processor and blend until the consistency turns into ice cream.

"To make chocolate ice cream, add in some cacao. You can also spice it up by adding in some almond butter or nuts. Much healthier for you and you will feel amazing afterwards."

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Pour the ice cream mixture into moulds for healthy icy poles.

4. Swap: soft drink for water

Soft drinks are packed full of sugar -- and the 'sugar free' and 'diet' versions aren't better.

"Soft drinks, including diet soft drinks, hold no nutritional value," Beach explained.

"If you feel like having some sparkling water, go for it if you are missing the bubbles. It won't have the huge amounts of sugar in it or the chemicals like the soft drinks do."

Better still, opt for water. Here are 10 easy ways to make water not so boring.

"Your body is made up of water so it is very important that you get in your two litres of water every day. Water has huge benefits to your overall health: it aids in keeping you mentally focused, gives you healthy looking skin, assists with digestion and also gives you a feeling of wellbeing."

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Infuse water using herbs, citrus and fresh or frozen berries.

5. Swap: lollies for berries

Instead of reaching for a packet of lollies, tuck into a punnet of 'nature's candy' -- berries.

"Once you have one lolly, the sugar gets hold of you and makes your body naturally want more," Beach said.

"To fulfil any sugar cravings you may have, get some berries (raspberries are great and frozen is fine) and eat them like lollies. They are really low in sugar and are full of antioxidants."

6. Swap: white wine for vodka lime and soda

When making healthy diet and lifestyle changes, we often forget that alcohol plays a major role. Make reducing alcohol an important short and long-term goal, and in the meantime, use this switch.

"White wine is full of sugar so switching it out for a vodka, fresh lime and soda will reduce your sugar intake dramatically," Beach said.

"Sugar is addictive, so one glass of white wine can sometimes never be enough as your body will naturally want more. It is important to limit your alcohol consumption but on a weekend, if you want a drink, a vodka, lime and soda is your best option."

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Add fresh mint for extra flavour.

Now, when it comes to starting an exercise regime, here are three top tips.

"When it comes to your training, schedule each session into your diary like you would any other meeting. That way you have allocated time for yourself and made yourself a priority," Beach said.

"If you do this on a Sunday you will have a clear picture in your mind of what is expected of you throughout the week, training wise."

"Find a training buddy so you look forward to your training sessions and also so you have the feeling of not wanting to let your partner down."

The third tip is to spend time figuring out which exercise is fun for you. What might be enjoyable and effective for your friend might not be for you.

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Pencil in exercise just like you would a work meeting.

"Find training sessions that you enjoy doing, whether that is a class at your gym, putting your headphones on and going for a walk, or hitting the gym to pump out a solid weights session," Beach said.

"If you enjoy it you will want to keep going, and once you find your rhythm your body will be flooded with endorphins ('feel good' hormones) and this will motivate you even more to be consistent with your training."

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