Smart supermarket swaps

The way we shop and eat has changed rapidly in the last few weeks. 
We no longer eat out, we are at home more, pantry staples may not be available and planning what to cook for dinner is more about what is available in the supermarket rather than what the recipe says you need.  Here is a table of ingredient swaps that might help your next shop:

If you cannot find….. Try….

Chicken breast

Chicken thigh or tenderloins
– use in the same ways as chicken breastChicken drumstick or a whole
chicken – bake in the oven (whole or break in to smaller pieces for quicker
cooking).  Remove the skin and
shred.  Add to the recipe in the last
stages e.g. add to curry once everything else is cooked or add to stir-fry
once the veggies and sauce are ready to serveOr may be this is your
opportunity to trial a vegetarian alternative such as chickpeas in a curry,
tofu in a stir-fry, black beans in Mexican or felafels in a wrap

Minced meat/chicken

Use an alternative meat or
chicken e.g. if the recipe calls for beef mince, you may be able to buy
chicken, turkey, pork or veal minceBuy chicken thigh and pulse
it a few times in a food processor to break in to small pieces (this will not
be as even as minced chicken but may work well enough for the recipe you haveTry lentils instead – this
works well in a bolognaise or shepherd’s/cottage pie

Canned goods 

Use fresh instead!  For example, dice fresh tomatoes instead of
canned onesSoak dried beans (some may
also require boiling) instead of canned Use fresh or frozen corn
instead of cannedTry raw, fresh beetroot
grated or roast it yourself, or you can buy beetroots already cooked and
vacuum packed in the fruit & veg aisle

Frozen foods e.g. vegetables and fruit

Use fresh instead!  You may even like to chop extra and freeze
it yourself.  For example, if you only
need half a broccoli, chop the remaining half in to florets and freeze in a container
or ziplock bagUse an alternative type e.g.
if no frozen berries, try a new fruit in your smoothie instead e.g. frozen
pineapple and fresh banana

Pasta and Rice

Use potato instead e.g.
bolognaise sauce on baked potatoesUse couscous/quinoa/teff/faro
instead.  Use zucchini pasta
instead.  Add bread or a bread roll to
satisfy your fuelling needs


Try using alternative flours
if available e.g. quinoa, oat, gluten free, buckwheat (note: if you are
baking these flours will act differently to wheat flour in some recipes so be
adventurous and experiment!)Dry rolled oats in a food
processor will grind down to a flour. 
Add baking powder (1 tsp per cup of flour) and this will act similarly
to plain flour.  Add 1 tsp baking soda
(per cup of flour) as well and this will act like self raising flour.

You may also like to investigate meal delivery services such as Hello Fresh, You Foodz or Marley Spoon to assist with keeping you well nourished.  Some local restaurants are offering takeaway meals and grocery shops at reasonable prices also.

Food has always been a way for us to connect, socialise and enjoy time together.  While physically we may have to do this at a distance, we encourage you to still catch up for a coffee together, cook and eat dinner together or simply chat over brunch; just in our new normal way, using a digital method.

Lets use our community to help each other – are there other smart swaps you have been using when your favourite supermarket item is not available.

Nutrition for Sleep

If you’re anything like me, a bad night’s sleep can absolutely put a damper on your day (and health it seems!). Often we get complacent and hear ourselves saying to others “Oh, I haven’t slept well in years” yet we aren’t doing much to try and fix it (or you’ve been trying and haven’t found something that sticks!). Undoubtedly, sleep hygiene is optimal for promoting a healthy sleep, but if you’ve tried all the regular old tricks, it might be time to think about your food intake and how that might be hurting your sleep.

Sleep is vital for a number of physiological and psychological functions. A poor sleep can cause a negative change in your mood and cognition, affection learning and memory and your perception of pain, immunity and inflammation (1).


So what can you do to help it?

Although the evidence in this area is minimal, the following MAY help you get a better night’s sleep:

  • Eating high GI foods (e.g. white potato, pasta, rice) in your evening meal (must be at least 1 hour before going to sleep)
  • Having a high daily protein intake
  • Including tryptophan containing foods in your evening meal (e.g. poultry, eggs, game meat, sesame flour and spinach)
  • Including melatonin containing foods in your evening meal (e.g. tomatoes, strawberries and grapes)
  • Ensuring you’re getting enough iron, zinc and magnesium (1)

What might be hindering your sleep?

  • A high fat diet – this can influence total sleep time
  • Reduction in overall calories – quality of sleep is often disturbed


S Halson. Enhancing sleep through nutrition. Mysportsscience. 2020.