Capital Chicks CANberra Food Swaps

Rebecca McPhee with Credit to Diabetes NSW & ACT
Diabetes NSW & ACT

5 Minutes

Making changes to your diet isn't always easy given the vast amount of information online. This can often result in feeling overwhelmed, not knowing what is credible and where to start. Rather than undergoing a complete diet overhaul, a more realistic, sustainable was of starting a healthy eating plan is by making food swaps. 

Using a 'this for that' approach when it comes to making food choices can result in a significant improvement to your current and long-term health. A perfect time to start is just before the 'silly season'. This may seem quite an odd suggestion as it is usually the time when parties are in and healthy eating patterns are out.  

Don't get me wrong, the holiday season should be a time to treat yourself and enjoy those traditional favourites. For just one day, this type of eating won't have any negative impact on your health. However, for many of us, celebrations do not just start and stop on Christmas day. The warmer weather during the holiday season attracts many social gatherings including barbecues and Christmas/New Years Eve parties. It is when indulgences become more than a few times a week and we put our healthy eating routine on hold until the end of January. This can impact our health In many ways including energy levels, our mood, digestion, heart health and weight status.  

So how can you eat, drink and be merry and still welcome 2021 feeling healthy? Below are our resident Dietitian, Rebecca's, food swap tips for the holiday season. The recipes provided are easy to make, budget-friendly and most importantly, taste delicious! 


1. Granola

Eating a healthy breakfast is always a great way to start the morning. It sets you up for the day and is an opportunity to get healthy whole grains, fruit and dairy into your day. As the weather warms up, you might like the idea of cereal such as granola or muesli, fruit and yoghurt. The problem is that there are many granola and muesli products on the supermarket shelves containing hidden fats and sugars. Why not try and make your own granola? Not only is homemade granola healthier, but it also cheaper and makes a great Christmas gift idea. Dress it up in jars tied with a ribbon. Rebecca's favourite recipe for the warmer months is 'High Protein Granola'. Packed with protein, and fibre, low in sugar and low GI, this recipe takes no time at all and will keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Nutrition comparison Capital Chicks CANberra High Protein Granola Toasted muesli
Calories 165 200
Protein 6g 3g
Sugar 4g 14g


2. Ice-cream

Icecream is one of the most popular treats during the summer. If your icecream fix becomes more than just a weekend treat, there are healthier ways to satisfy a sweet tooth and cool down at the same time. Try our summer berry ice cream. With just three ingredients, berries, banana and avocado, and a fraction of the sugar and saturated fat commonly found in regular icecream, you enjoy this naturally sweet-tasting treat every day. That's right, every day! 

Nutrition comparison Capital Chicks CANberra summer berry icecream per 100ml Average berry Icecream per 100ml
Calories   120 215
Saturated fat 0.9g  8g 
Sugar 6g  28g 


3. Chocolate cake

My family have quite a few birthday celebrations around the festive and holiday season, so the number of birthday cakes cetainly do add up! My salted praline chocolate cake recipe is a great swap for your usual chocolate cake. This version tastes so good, your guests will be asking for seconds and of course, the recipe! Low in sugar, rich in healthy fats and gluten free, you can satisfy a chocolate craving and reap the nutritional benefits at the same time.

Nutrition comparison Capital Chicks CANberra salted praline chocolate cake Traditional chocolate cake
Calories   170 499
Sugar 6g  59g 


4. Sausages

Summer wouldn't be the same without a barbecue. Barbecues can be a healthy meal choice if it includes lean protein and salads. Whilst the humble sausage is an Aussie barbecue favourite, it is usually high in saturated fat and lower in protein compared to other meat choices. Swap the old snag for a Mediterranean classic - kofta! Team it up with hummus, salad and pita or basmati rice for a healthy and satisfying meal. If kofta's not your style, fresh fish, chicken tenderloins and lean steak taste amazing on the barbeque so cook one of those up instead.

Nutrition comparison Capital Chicks CANberra lamb kofta(2) Traditional sausage (2)
Calories 160 400
Protein 25g 14g
Fat 7g; 30g


5. Muffins

These are my all-time favourite muffins and are a great addition to the lunchbox, to a picnic hamper or with a cuppa when you have visitors. Making a few extra batches and freezing these muffins means that you have last-minute snack options on hand! 

Nutrition comparison Capital Chicks CANberra Carrot Cake muffin Cafe bought Carrot Cake muffin
Calories 140 618
Fat 8g 29g
Sugar 4g; 43.5g


6. Trifle

Trifle is a traditional favourite but can contain up to 400 calories and a whopping 40g fat per serve! My version is a mixture of the English dessert classics 'Eton' Mess and trifle and an Aussie favourite pavlova. 'Strawberry pavlova trifle' makes the most of seasonal fruit and contains a fraction of the fat and sugar compared to traditional recipes. It literally takes minutes to prepare to make it the perfect healthy, summer dessert to serve to guests.

Nutrition comparison Capital Chicks CANberra strawberry pavlova trifle Traditional trifle
Calories 145 400
Fat 3g 40g


7. Potato salad

Potato salad is definitely a favourite at barbecues but traditional versions contain quite a lot of fat, including saturated fat. This classic recipe has been given a makeover by replacing sour cream with my ‘healthy hack/feel good’ sour cream. Blending cottage cheese with lemon juice to make a ‘cream like’ consistency significantly reduces the fat content and increases protein and calcium. Increasing the protein and using low GI potatoes contributes to satiety (feeling of fullness) which means you eat less!

Nutrition comparison Capital Chicks CANberra low GI potato salad Traditional potato salad
Calories 120 400
Fat 1.7g 26g
Protein 1.7g 26g



The holiday season is a time to relax and enjoy good food and good company. However, most of us find that indulgences occur more than just on Christmas Day. Making healthy food swaps is an easy, realistic way to enjoy the holiday season without feeling deprived. Capital Chicks CANberra has made it possible by providing easy to prepare, budget-friendly, nutritious recipes that will be sure to be crowd-pleasers this festive season!  

Join now to get the recipes!  

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