50 of our favourite food swaps

RD BSc, Health Coach Dietitian at Bupa UK
27 November 2015

Here’s our list of 50 healthy food swaps, whether you’re making brunch choices at your local café, ordering takeaway food, or cooking at home.

It's amazing how small changes can make a big difference to your health. For example, it’s always a good idea to replace any less-than-ideal eating habits with healthier versions. That way, you’ll consider it a change, as opposed to something you’ve been forced to give up altogether.

How can these food swaps help? 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

  1. Meat in stews – swap for lentils
  2. Sour cream – swap for low-fat Greek yoghurt or low fat crème fraiche
  3. Fruit juice – swap for a piece/portion of whole fruit or have half fruit juice and half water.
  4. Crisps – swap for unsalted popcorn
  5. Full-fat cheddar – swap for low-fat cottage cheese or a low-fat cheddar
  6. Chicken wings or drumsticks – swap for skinless chicken breast
  7. Chocolate bar – swap for dark chocolate-coated strawberries
  8. Mayonnaise – swap for avocado or make your own dressing using olive oil, herbs and spices
  9. Sunflower oil – swap for rapeseed oil
  10. Apple pie – swap for stewed apple with oat crumble
  11. Potato – swap for sweet potato
  12. Chocolate biscuit – swap for a homemade muesli slice
  13. Two-minute noodles – swap for rice noodles
  14. Full-fat latte – swap for skinny latte
  15. Takeaway pizza – swap for thin-crust pizza
  16. Salted nuts – swap for unsalted nuts such as almonds, walnuts
  17. Soy sauce – swap for reduced-salt soy sauce
  18. Salami – swap for turkey or chicken breast
  19. Sweets – swap for fresh dates or handful of fruit such as grapes or strawberries
  20. Chocolate milkshake – swap for low-fat chocolate milkshake
  21. Frozen fish in breadcrumbs – swap for fresh or frozen fish
  22. Sugar used in baking – swap for artificial sweetener or half sugar/half sweetener products
  23. Tempura – swap for raw fish or veggie sushi roll
  24. Sugary cereal – swap for porridge or wholegrain wheat cereal, or wholemeal toast with peanut butter
  25. Creamy pasta sauces – swap for tomato-based sauces
  26. Ice cream – swap for a frozen blended banana
  27. Ice lollies – swap for frozen grapes
  28. Butter – swap for olive oil-based spread
  29. Cheese and biscuits – swap for crudités (vegetable sticks such as carrots, celery, peppers) and a dip such as low-fat humus or salsa
  30. Caesar salad – swap for a build-your-own garden salad
  31. White rice – swap for pearl barley or brown rice
  32. French fries – swap for oven-baked potato wedges or sweet potato wedges
  33. Sugar – swap for stevia or artificial sweeteners
  34. Creamy salad dressing – swap for olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  35. Bacon and egg focaccia – swap for poached eggs on multigrain toast
  36. Coconut milk – swap for light coconut milk or light evaporated milk with coconut essence
  37. Spring rolls – swap for rice paper rolls
  38. Sweet chilli sauce – swap for homemade dipping sauce
  39. Carbonated drinks – swap for diet or zero carbonated drinks, no added sugar squash or sparkling or still water
  40. Bacon – swap for smoked salmon
  41. Blueberry muffin – swap for one slice of raisin toast
  42. Gyoza (Japanese dumplings) entrée – swap for edamame, which are a type of soy bean
  43. Pretzels – swap for rice crackers
  44. Salt – swap for herbs and spices
  45. Tinned fish in brine – swap for tinned fish in spring water such as mackerel, salmon and sardines
  46. Hot chocolate – swap for warm, low-fat milk with cinnamon
  47. Pancakes with lemon and sugar – swap for pancakes served with fresh fruit
  48. Quiche – swap for frittata or omelette
  49. Hamburger – swap for grilled chicken salad sandwich or wrap
  50. Pappardelle pasta – swap for courgette ribbons

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.

Valerie Maclean
RD BSc, Health Coach Dietitian at Bupa UK

What would you like us to write about?


Health information

At Bupa we produce a wealth of free health information for you and your family. We believe that trustworthy information is essential in helping you make better decisions about your health and care.