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1. Change your usual choice of apples to kiwi fruit
The nutritional payoff: All the vitamin C you need in one day 

A kiwi fruit a day might do better than an apple – when it comes to strengthening your immune system. Just one kiwi fruit is enough to fulfil the daily recommended value for vitamin C, says Jean Tong, a nutritionist from Eat Right Nutrition Consultancy. She explains that in comparison, an apple will only meet 7 per cent of your daily vitamin C needs.

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2. Change your usual choice of Low-fat yogurt to 2% fat Greek yogurt
The nutritional payoff: Less hidden sugar and more protein 

You could exceed the daily recommended value of sugar with just one bowl of low-fat yogurt. “Sugar is added to replace the flavour lost when fat is removed from such yogurts,” Sally explains. Trade the sugar-saturated option for Greek yogurt – and get double the amount of protein. Sweeten a bowl of Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey to taste, or add chopped bananas or blueberries.

 

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3. Change your usual choice of Couscous to Quinoa
The nutritional payoff: A better carbohydrate-to-protein ratio

Couscous is a refined grain that will spike your blood sugar levels, says Sally May Tan, a health coach from Catalyst Health Asia. Instead, try quinoa, a gluten-free alternative that is similar in texture and taste. Quinoa may be a carbohydrate, but it also has a high amount of protein, thus slowing down digestion and keeping you full for longer. Just remember to keep your portions small – Sally recommends half a cup of pre-cooked quinoa in a meal.

 

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4. Change your usual choice of reduced-fat peanut butter to full-fat peanut butter
The nutritional payoff: Avoiding nasty food additives 

“Reduced fat” may sound good in theory, but it might actually mean added sugar, salt or hydrogenated oils in place of good cholesterol (HDL) to make up for the lack of taste or texture, according to Sally. Depending on the ingredients, full-fat peanut butter could actually be made of unsaturated fats that can help to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL).

Expert sources: Sally May Tan, certified health coach and founder of Catalyst Health Asia, and Jean Tong, nutritionist from Eat Right Nutrition Consultancy.

Photos: Dreamstime & Getty images

This story was first published in HerWorld magazine March 2015.