Diet & Nutrition

7 easy superfoods swaps if you’re on a budget

If you want to kickstart 2020 with healthy eating habits but fear your post-Christmas bank balance can’t cope with pricey superfoods then read on - there are plenty of affordable alternatives!
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A healthy balance of fruit and veg is the cornerstone of any healthy diet but adding some superfoods could be the little extra boost you need to your healthy eating plan.

However sometimes these superfoods can come with a price tag – but never fear, there are plenty of budget-friendly and just as nutritious alternatives.

1. Swap chia seeds for flaxseeds

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Nutritionist and naturopath Katherine Maslen points out that flaxseeds actually trump chia when it comes to fatty acids.

“Flaxseeds cost less than chia seeds but contain more omega-3 fats – 5703mg per 25g, compared to 4388mg in chia seeds,” she says.

“Just use them in the same way as chia – ground up and added to smoothies, salads or breakfast cereal.”

2. Swap shiitake mushrooms for button mushrooms

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Shiitake mushrooms are often eaten for their immunity-boosting effects, but a study at Tufts University in the US showed eating just 100g of normal button mushrooms also revved up the immune system, increasing the activity of natural killer cells.

3. Swap quinoa for buckwheat

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Quinoa’s protein content has long been acclaimed, but buckwheat contains nearly the same amount – 3.4g per 100g compared to the 4.4g in quinoa.

It’s also equally low-GI and gluten-free, and like quinoa contains the full range of essential amino acids (the ones your body can’t make by itself), yet it costs less.

4. Swap matcha green tea powder for regular green tea

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“It’s true that matcha contains much higher levels of an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate [ECGC] than normal green tea,” says nutrition expert Zoe Bingley-Pullin.

“But if you live a fairly healthy life, you don’t need huge amounts of antioxidants, so sticking to regular green tea is perfectly fine.”

You can also power up normal tea with a squeeze of lemon juice – it increases the available antioxidants five-fold.

5. Swap medjool dates for regular dates or prunes

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Nutritionist Marissa Needles reveals that prunes “contain virtually the same nutrients” as medjool dates.

Explaining the buzz around the latter, she says, “Medjool dates have soared in popularity as they’re used in sugar-free and raw dishes.

“They’re softer than other varieties of dates, so they’re easier to blend for desserts – but soaking other varieties can soften them enough to use them, or just try prunes.”

In fact, both 100g of medjool dates and 100g of prunes have 0.9mg of iron and 7g of fibre.

6. Swap salmon for sardines

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While salmon is super-healthy, tinned sardines offer high levels of healthy fats, plus they have the added bonus of calcium from the soft edible bones they contain.

In fact, 100g of tinned sardines will provide 382mg of calcium – fresh salmon has just 9mg.

7. Swap goji berries for kiwifruit

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Nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin believes this swap is a no-brainer.

“It’s estimated goji berries contain around 49mg of vitamin C per 100g – but a medium kiwifruit weighs around 100g and contains approximately 93mg of vitamin C, and 3g of fibre,” she explains, adding that gojis have very little dietary fibre. “Kiwifruit are cheaper, more satisfying and healthier.”

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