Top nutritional food swaps

As a food and nutrition writer, Louise hopes to encourage a love of cooking and good food in children of all ages. Here are her top tips on how little changes can help you feed your children (and yourself) a more nutritious diet.
  1. Swap your Sugar

If white caster sugar is your main go to when baking try swapping it with less refined options. Mashed banana, chopped dates, homemade fruit purees and raw honey in moderation all make great substitutes.

If you’re looking to cut down on sugar use stevia. In its pure form it has zero calories and zero impact on blood sugar – however it tastes significantly sweeter than sugar. I often use stevia alongside sugar which allows me to reduce the sugar content of the recipe but achieve the same flavor with half the calories!

  1. Mix up your flour

If plain white flour sits alone in your pantry it’s time to give it some friends. By keeping alternatives on hand such as almond meal, quinoa, flour, spelt flour and ground hazelnuts you’ll be getting a fibre boost and broader nutrient diversity without even noticing.

Being gluten free shouldn’t mean missing out on the yummiest desserts, I use a recipe combining millet, potato and brown rice flour in my Thermomix to create a lovely gluten free pastry that tastes even better than the original.

  1. Upgrade your peanut butter

If you’re buying a regular supermarket brand peanut butter it’s time for an upgrade. Go for one made from 100% nuts and you’ll avoid the added sugar and refined oils.

Better still I love making a mixed nut or hazelnut chocolate spread in my Thermomix – not only is it fresher and jam packed full of nutrients, it also is significantly better for you.

Next time you’re at the supermarket take a moment to have a look the ingredients of your favourite nut spreads, you’ll probably see their two main ingredients are sugar and vegetable oil with nuts sitting much further down the pecking order.

  1. Rethink refined oils

There is a great deal of debate about dietary fats circulating in nutrition circles with a number of large studies into the effects of fat on cardiovascular disease, heart disease and mortality having seemingly conflicting results.

It may be decades before the debate is resolved once and for all so I believe the safest approach is to use a variety of fats, from the most natural possible sources in moderation.

Vegetable oils are typically produced with harsh chemical solvents.

Switch to cold pressed extra virgin oils or fresh avocado.

  1. Toss the sprinkles

Your kids might love them but highly processed cupcake decorations definitely don’t love your kids back.

Dust cakes with matcha powder, cacao, desiccated coconut or even use edible flowers to decorate your cakes for a look that’s just as pretty without all the artificial additives.

  1. And finally! Be choosy about chocolate

Supermarket brands of milk chocolate can have four times the sugar of good dark chocolate. Go for Quality, pay more and eat less.


Louise Keats is a food and nutrition writer and cookbook author. Coming from one of Australia’s foremost food families Louise is bringing her food heritage to a new generation. Her latest book “Sweet Nourish” developed in conjunction with Thermomix is out now.

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