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Healthy Changes

One of the biggest differences in the way we eat today compared to 20 years ago is the number of extras that have become a normal part of our diets

All these extras add up to an extra five to 10 unwanted kilograms. While restrictive diets seem to be the standard way for individuals to lose weight, such strict diets tend to be difficult to stick to. Instead, small but significant changes to daily food patterns, such as the following, can result in good weight loss over time.

1. Swap from lite to low-fat milk

Even though reduced-fat milk, which is often labelled as "lite", saves you six grams of fat per glass compared to full-cream milk, you will save another three grams of fat if you switch from "lite" to low-fat milk. As milk is a significant source of saturated fat in the typical Australian diet, and saturated fat is the type of fat that stores in the arteries, it is worth making the switch. In fact, swapping from lite to low-fat milk equates to roughly an extra kilogram of body fat over the course of a year.

2. Use spray oil instead of pouring from a bottle
While olive oil is good for you, too much of any fat is not, and many of us are too heavy-handed when it comes to the oil bottle. If you consider that one tablespoon of oil contains 20 grams of total fat, and that the average adult requires just 40 grams of total fat each day, you may need to lighten up. Using cooking sprays in dishes that don't rely on the flavour of oil is a great way to save on kilojoules and fat.

3. Reduce your portions of meat
Lean red meat is an exceptionally nutritious food providing iron, zinc, omega-3 fat, protein and vitamin B12, but the average Australian eats far more than they need. Forget the hand-sized steaks and cut back to palm-sized serves at dinner and save 800 kilojoules a meal.

4. Swap your coffee to green tea
Even a small amount of milk or sugar added to tea or coffee counts as kilojoules, and if you cut out one coffee with milk and sugar each day and swap to highly nutritious green tea you will be 63,000 kilojoules better off at the end of the year.

5. Use sugar cubes instead of spoonfuls of sugar
Swapping your regular teaspoon of sugar for sugar cubes is an exceptionally easy way to control portions and you are likely to save 20 kilojoules every time you add sugar to your favourite beverage.

6. Ditch the spread
In many cases, adding butter or margarine is a habit rather than done for taste. While there can be some heart health benefits associated with plant-based spreads, many of us can eliminate one or two serves of extra spreads a day without even noticing. Always ask for sandwiches without butter and rely on added extras only when you really need them for moisture or flavour.

7. Halve your carbohydrate portion at night
Forget a plate loaded with pasta or rice. Make the bulk of your plate vegetables or salad and limit your serves of rice or pasta to half a cup. Controlling carbohydrate portions at night can save you the equivalent of two slices of bread or up to 400 kilojoules.

8. Save the wine for weekends
Drinking with meals can become a habit and this is often the case with wine. A good-sized glass of wine contains 600 kilojoules, so limit your wine intake to weekends and you will eliminate the kilojoule equivalent of four kilograms over the course of a year.

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