50 healthier food swaps to improve your diet

Lifestyle Health Coach and Health Adviser at Bupa UK
18 July 2018

If you’re trying to make some healthier food choices and are feeling overwhelmed, it can help to start by choosing slightly healthier alternatives. Small changes can make a big difference overall to your diet. So with that in mind, here’s our list of 50 healthier food swaps that you can incorporate into your diet plan.

Thin crust pizza

There are still favourites like pizza on our list! Because while pizza can never really be classed as a healthy food – there are ways to make it healthier. For example, choosing a version that has slightly less calories – such as one with a thinner crust, is a step in the right direction. Whether you’re making brunch choices at your local café, ordering takeaway food, or browsing the supermarket aisles, we’ve recommended swaps that:

  • increase the nutritional value of the meals you eat
  • don’t contain as many calories (useful if you’re trying to manage your weight)
  • may be more beneficial to your long-term health

50 healthier swaps

1. Meat in stews – swap for lentils

2. Sour cream – swap for low-fat Greek yoghurt or low fat crème fraiche

3. Crisps – swap for unsalted popcorn

4. Full-fat cheddar – swap for low-fat cottage cheese or a low-fat cheddar

5. Milk chocolate bar – swap for dark chocolate

6. Mayonnaise – swap for half an avocado or make your own dressing using olive oil, herbs and spices

7. Fruit juice – swap for a piece/portion of whole fruit or have half fruit juice and half water.

Portion sizes by Bupa - pineapple 


8. Sunflower oil – swap for rapeseed oil in cooking.

9. Apple pie – swap for stewed apple with oat crumble

10. Potato – swap for sweet potato

11. Chocolate biscuit – swap for a homemade muesli slice

12. Two-minute noodles – swap for thin rice noodles

13. Full-fat latte – swap for skinny latte or white Americano

14. Chicken wings or drumsticks – swap for skinless chicken breast

Portion sizes by Bupa - chicken 


15. Thick-crust takeaway pizza – swap for thin-crust pizza

16. Soy sauce – swap for reduced-salt soy sauce

17. Salami – swap for turkey or chicken breast

18. Chocolate milkshake – swap for low-fat chocolate milkshake

19. Frozen fish in breadcrumbs – swap for fresh or frozen fish

20. Salted nuts – swap for unsalted nuts such as almonds, walnuts

Portion sizes by Bupa - nuts 


21. Jam for smashed berries or mashed banana with a sprinkling of cinnamon

22. Tempura – swap for raw fish or veggie sushi roll

23. Sugary cereal – swap for porridge, wholegrain wheat cereal, or wholemeal toast with peanut butter

24. Creamy pasta sauces – swap for tomato-based sauces or pesto

25. Ice lollies – swap for frozen grapes

26. Butter – swap for olive oil-based spread or avocado spread

27. Ice cream – swap for a frozen blended banana

28. Cheese and biscuits – swap for crudités (vegetable sticks such as carrots, celery, peppers) and a dip such as low-fat humus or salsa

29. Caesar salad – swap for a build-your-own garden salad

30. French fries – swap for oven-baked potato wedges or sweet potato wedges

31. Chocolate mousse – swap for pudding made with blended avocado and banana with cocoa powder and vanilla extract

32. Creamy salad dressing – swap for olive oil and balsamic vinegar

33. Bacon and fried egg – swap for poached eggs

34. White rice – swap for whole barley or brown rice

Portion sizes by Bupa - rice 

35. Coconut milk – swap for light coconut milk or light evaporated milk with coconut essence

36. Spring rolls – swap for rice paper rolls

37. Sweet chilli sauce – swap for chilli lime vinaigrette dressing

38. Bacon – swap for smoked salmon

39. Blueberry muffin – swap for one slice of raisin toast

40. Gyoza (Japanese dumplings) entrée – swap for edamame, which are a type of soy bean

41. Pretzels – swap for salt and vinegar rice crackers

42. Carbonated drinks – swap for diet or zero carbonated drinks, no added sugar squash or sparkling or still water

43. Salt – swap for herbs and spices

44. Tinned fish in brine – swap for tinned fish in spring water such as mackerel, salmon and sardines

45. Hot chocolate – swap for warm, low-fat milk with cinnamon

46. Pancakes with lemon and sugar – swap for pancakes served with fresh fruit

47. Quiche – swap for omelette or frittata

48. Hamburger – swap for grilled chicken salad sandwich or wrap

49. Pasta – swap for courgette ribbons or aubergine sheets.

50. Sweets – swap for fresh dates or a handful of fruit such as grapes or strawberries

Portion sizes by Bupa - grapes 

Try to make these easy, healthy swaps in your everyday life and see how you feel!

Even healthy people become unwell sometimes. Health insurance can help you get prompt access to the treatment and support you need to help you get back on the road to recovery. Learn more with our useful guide to understanding health insurance.

Adam Keenan
Lifestyle Health Coach and Health Adviser at Bupa UK

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