Easy diet swaps

Which of these snacks will satisfy you most?

A small plate of 10 deli-style mixed olives OR a small serve of 14 cashews?

tip: drain olives on a paper towel


14 cashews in a serve

They are both great when it comes to nutrition but the olive serve has about half the calories (kilojoules) of the cashews.

Both will take about the same time to eat especially if the olives still have pips.

Personal experience may tell you which of these snacks 'lasts' you longer. But satisfaction is not just about how long a food 'lasts' or fills you up for. Satisfaction is also about what you fancy and what you prefer ... the choice is up to you.

Crunchy, smooth or chewy?

Sweet or savoury?

Compact or large portion?

Fresh or long-lasting?

Bounce-proof or squishy?

It is your choice but a word of caution. It is very easy to over eat nuts. You are wisest to buy nuts in their shells; cracking the nuts open will slow you down and reduce the risk of overeating.

Vegetables or chips?

This 20 cm plate of vegetables equals 6 lonely hot potato chips when it comes to energy content.

mixed light vegetable plate
only 6 hot chips in a serve

The entire plate of green and orange vegetables will fill an empty stomach. The tiny serve of 6 hot chips will leave you hungry looking for (and eating) more.

It is very easy to eat more than just 6 chips and so eat more energy than you need. When the portion you get served is more than you need, it is easy to over eat. Chips are seldom served in small portions.

Excess energy doesn't leave you more energetic and energised. Energy means calories and kilojoules.

The excess energy is stored as body fat.

To beat hunger, go for the bigger serve of plated vegetables.

If you are wondering how many cups of vegetables fit onto a 20 cm (almost 8 inch) plate, it is 3 cups. There's no need to eat a portion of vegetables that big. Eat half a plate of vegetables and you'd still get more to eat for much more nutrition and even fewer kilojoules than the 6 chips.

Instead of fries and chips, swap to a bigger plate filled with colourful green vegetables, carrot and pumpkin. Fresh or frozen, served natural either raw or cooked without extra oil, the brightly coloured vegetables deliver brilliant nutrition for healthier body.

It is your choice. Will you swap?

Looking for a hot afternoon snack?

Hot corn is great to beat hunger at any time of day. Pop a couple of corn cobettes (frozen) in the microwave for a fast and filling snack. Sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper and munch away.

How does corn compare with a fast food grab of three potato wedges?

corn cobettes portion control
3 potato wedges in a serve

Two corn cobettes is lighter and more nutritious for your body than three potato wedges. Lighter in calories (kilojoules) and fat. Richer in fibre and potassium. To eat two corn cobettes takes time and effort. Time and effort give your brain and body the chance to recognise fullness and stop eating before it has had too much.

If portion control of small serves is not your strong point, you'll likely eat the entire bucket of wedges! To stop at just three potato wedges is hard because they don't take much effort to eat and they don't seem very filling at the moment you eat them. If you don't stop at a small serve, you will over-fuel your body.

Are you ready and strong enough to throw the wedges away and swap to a more filling food like corn to help you lose weight and prevent weight re-gain?

This kind of swap allows you to eat more to lose weight and stay healthy.

Keep a bag of frozen corn cobs at work to avoid impulse buys from the hotbox.

Serve hot corn to calm the hungry hoards after school, after work or before dinner is served. Add a dollop of natural yoghurt or tzatiki dip instead of butter when served.

Eggs or sausage?

Next time you are tempted by the wafting onion aromas from a sausage sizzle, this will make you think twice before you buy.

less than 1 sausage is a serve
2 eggs is a serve

Serve a single sausage and you've served up more calories (kilojoules) than is found in 2 medium eggs. And that's even if the sausage is barbecued or grilled without added extra fat.

Ask yourself, are you truly hungry or could you wait a little while to choose something else to fill you up?

Although eggs make a much heartier and filling meal with more protein than a sausage, a sausage may be exactly what you want. Make an informed choice rather than impulsive choice.

This "eggs versus sausage" picture shows you don't have to eat less food volume to stay healthy and prevent weight regain. Swap it more often.

Poach or boil a couple of eggs and you have a decent feed. Serve a snag and you'll want more.

Cold boiled eggs are also a handy lunch box or snack food.

Something cold and sweet?

It will take longer to suck, lick and crunch your way through 2 icy poles than to eat a tiny, tiny sliver of cheesecake.

And you are right if you think the tiny cheesecake slice (only 3cm or about an inch deep) hides more calories (kilojoules) than the 2 frozen popsicles or water ice blocks.

cheescake wedge portion control
frozen icy poles a better sweet

No one says that sugar laden ice blocks are a perfect food but when the sweet urge hits, you are wiser to choose icy poles and leave the cheesecake behind to keep your weight in check. An even smarter swap is to only have 1 icy pole. No one doubts that chilled fruit would be even smarter but fruit possibly won't hit the sweet spot as nicely as super-sweet ice blocks on a scorching hot summer's day.

It's your choice to swap. Instead of cheesecake, stock a small box of water ice blocks in the freezer or fresh fruit in the fridge.

See it and believe it

The magic of portion control is seeing how much to serve in life-size photos.


The image snaps shown here are not life-size but if you enjoyed seeing serve size and portion control in action, you will love my 'this=that' books for adults or children.

You will see actual-size life-sized photos that make it easy to compare the serve size of different foods.


Foodtalk's portion control books give you a flexible choice that works to give you a happier healthy weight loss.

You will look at food in a new, refreshing way and never have to count calories again.

this=that (adult's edition)