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Swap your way slim; Don't leave swimwear slimming to the last minute - if you start now, you can have a beach beautiful body without sacrificing all the things you love most. The secret, says nutritionist and author Fiona McDonald Joyce, is swapping...

Byline: Fiona McDonald Joyce

1. Swap rice cakes and crispbreads for oat cakes and whole grain breads:

They may be higher in calories but they're also digested more slowly, which means they'll keep you feeling full for longer without upsetting blood sugar levels, thus helping you to lose weight.

2. Swap intensively reared supermarket meat for free range, better quality sources:

Not only will you be doing your bit for animal welfare, but the animals' increased exercise helps to keep their saturated fat levels down.

3. Swap sweetened fizzy drinks for water:

It might sound boring, but drinking water will not only reduce sugar intake and improve skin condition, it'll also help detoxify your body leaving you energised and ready to hit the gym.

4. Swap sugar for xylitol:

While it is lower in calories and carbohydrates than sugar, it is xylitol's low GI value that is important. The natural sugar alternative releases its energy very slowly when it is digested and studies have shown those that swap sugar for xylitol go on to eat less calories during the day.

Plus it's great for your teeth. Xylitol is available in shops under the brand name Perfect Sweet.

5. Swap that mid-morning biscuit or cereal bar for a handful of nuts or seeds:

Although the fact that they're relatively high in natural fat means you shouldn't go overboard, the added protein in nuts will boost your energy and stabilise blood sugar levels much better than sugary snacks.

6. Swap pudding for a slice of pineapple:

Sometimes, no matter how full you are, you need a bit of something sweet after a savoury meal. Fruit is a great alternative to dessert, particularly pineapple, which contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps you breakdown your meal and absorb the nutrients more effectively.

7 Swap tea and coffee for herbal teas or green tea:

When your energy levels are low, you're more inclined to eat sugary food for a bit of a boost. You might think caffeine will keep you awake but actually it can cause your energy levels to swing.

Drink herbal or green teas to help keep you hydrated while avoiding caffeine to keep your energy levels stable.

8. Swap white bread, rice and pasta for wholemeal versions:

These are more filling, easier to digest, and less fattening - plus they just as good.

9. Swap white fish such as cod, plaice and haddock for oily fish:

Trout, salmon, sardines and mackerel will all help to boost your level of skin, hormone, brain and heart-helping omega 3 essential fats.

10. Swap normal yoghurts for live probiotic ones:

Not only do probiotic products aid digestion and improve wellbeing, recent research has suggested they may also have a positive impact on metabolism.

For other great tips and recipes from Fiona see The Holford Low-GL Diet Cookbook, co-authored with Patrick Holford and published by Piatkus
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Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 22, 2008
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