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6 ideas for healthy (and affordable) food swaps

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Open to people of all running abilities, parkrun encourages anyone and everyone to get involved in their 5km runs. Co-op supports parkrun, with both organisations promoting healthy, active lifestyles.

When preparing for a running event like parkrun, there are some simple (and affordable) changes that you can make to ensure your pre-run diet is as healthy as it is tasty.

Here are a few quick and easy food-swap ideas from The National Student.

1) Stock up on healthy snacks

If you have sweets, chocolates and crisps in the cupboard, you will be more likely to snack on sweets, chocolates and crisps. You can help yourself to resist unhealthy snacks by buying healthier alternatives like dried fruit and nuts.

Better yet, to lower the cost of food while keeping the health benefits of nutritious snacks, you can make large quantities of nut and oat bites or banana and berry bowls to keep in the fridge and freezer.

Image credit: Co-op Food

2) Drink more water

There are debates about how much water you should drink each day, but what is undeniable is that you do need it.

Particularly when studying, one coffee can lead to another coffee which can lead to a tea or two... until you reach the end of the day and realise that you haven't had a plain and simple glass of water all day. You can change this by making a conscious effort to drink water when you can.

Image credit: Pixabay

Cook meals from scratch

Sometimes, after long days of lectures and studying, the thought of ready meals and takeaways can feel too tempting to ignore. But, not only does this have a not too favourable impact on your bank account, but it also means that you are missing out on a lot of the health benefits of meals cooked from scratch with fresh, seasonal fruit and veg.

To get past the end-of-day reluctance to start cooking when home late and tired, cooking big batches of meals at weekends, freezing the leftovers and enjoying good food with little effort throughout the week.

Image credit: Pixabay

And here are some food swap ideas from Co-op's website.

Add colour to your plate

When preparing food, avoid filling your plates with beige. Instead, add a touch of colour and variety to your diet, aiming for five colours in each meal. Doing so will help you to hit your 5-a-day target of fruit and veg, while making your food more wonderfully Instagrammable - which is always a plus.

Image credit: Co-op Food

Top your breakfasts with fruit

It can be tempting to cover your morning porridge or cereal with a spoonful of sugar. But, if you try swapping the sugar with toppings such as berries, apples or bananas, you can get all of the sweet joys of the sugar, but with the added health benefits of fruit.

Image credit: Co-op Food

Eat less meat

While eating meat can help to add protein to our diets, swapping meat for high-protein vegetables or pulses can be a great way of increasing fibre intakes. Plus, reducing the amount of meat that we eat can also help the environment.

To find out more about the environmental impact of eating no or less meat, read our article ‘How environmentally friendly is veganism?

Image credit: Co-op Food

You can find more food-swap ideas on Co-op's website here.

For more information about parkrun, visit their website here.

Students get 10% off at Co-op with a Totum or NUS extra card. Find your local Co-op here.

For more inspiration from Co-op throughout the year follow @coopukfood.

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