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How to lose weight by switching just a few foods

LOSING weight doesn't have to mean a complete diet overhaul.

A few basic food swaps can save over 1,000 calories a day.

A newly-published survey, from Evoke.ie, shows the average British person eats 3,440 calories every day.

We can take some comfort. Against certain other countries, the US obviously, we're not doing too badly - the average American puts away 3,770 calories.

But we shouldn't take too much comfort. Even our 'mere' 3,440 calories a day is nearly 10,000 more calories a week than we need. And it takes just 3,500 to put on just one pound. In only one month, that's almost a stone. It's a little alarming, isn't it? But it doesn't have to be, all you need to do is make a few simple swaps to your daily menu, and you're back down to a nice, safe, expert-recommended 2,000 calories.

Out: Latte

In: White coffee

You need your caffeine in the morning, and that's fine. But you don't need your latte; what you need is a simple white coffee (essentially the same but with less sickly milk).

Calories saved: 180

Out: Banana

In: Apple

Fruit is good for you, and that's why you're topping your cereal with a banana. Well done. But chop up an apple instead, and you've halved the calories.

Calories saved: 50

Out: Ginger Nuts

In: Nuts

Ah, the ill-fated elevensies, the moment we all eye the packet of biscuits and think 'just a couple won't hurt'. But they will, I'm afraid; 'just' two biscuits will hurt in the shape of 200 calories. Try a handful of nuts instead - often seen as the dieting enemy because they're high in fat, but it's good health-boosting fat.

Calories saved: 70

Out: Roll with your soup

In: Oatcakes

Soup might be a healthy choice (if it's home-made, otherwise it's packed with salt), but make it even healthier by ditching the accompanying roll and going for a couple of less bloating oatcakes.

Calories saved: 200

Out: Sandwich

In: Salad

Bear with us, it's not as boring as it sounds. Salads don't have to be one lonely bit of Iceberg, they can be a fancy new vehicle for your normal sandwich filling. Instead of putting your tuna/ham/egg on some bread, bung it on some (nicer Cos) lettuce. Easy.

Calories saved: 250

Out: Bar of milk chocolate

In: Square of dark chocolate

No, we never believed this either; one mouthful of dark chocolate, however good the quality, is never going to be as fun as lots of mouthfuls of milk chocolate. Is it? Actually, yes, because the higher cocoa content means you're still getting the same fix but with less faff.

Calories saved: 180

Out: Wine

In: Gin

Argue for antioxidants all you want, wine will never be good for you - not in a weight-loss way, anyway. Even a small glass contains about 120 calories, and a large is nudging 200. We're not saying don't drink, just drink gin and slimline tonic instead.

Calories saved: 70

Out: Pasta

In: Rice

It takes the same time to cook, it's cheap, and it goes with anything. So far, so even on the rice versus pasta front. But rice is also packed with vitamins, is a ­multigrain, and is an instant calorie save.

Calories saved: 150

Out: Chips

In: Potatoes

Some meals always need chips - fish and chips, for one. But, mostly, you can swap them for their humble cousin, the normal boiled potato, and barely notice a difference. Except in the ­substantial calorie save.

Calories saved: 150

Out: Peas

In: Broccoli

Peas aren't bad for you, but in a similar vein as the banana-for-apple cereal swap, they are more calorific than other things in the vegetable drawer. A portion of peas is 70 calories, broccoli is 30.

Calories saved: 40

Out: Yoghurt

In: Yoghurt

The key here is the type of yoghurt. Obviously, the new breed of chocolate flavoured ones are the bad type, but so are many fruit ones, masquerading as healthy but actually filling you up with sugar. Opt for a small pot of natural yoghurt with actual fruit.

Calories saved: 100

Total calories saved in a day: 1,440. Bingo.

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