Points-friendly food swaps

Stretch yourPoints budget with these creative and low-point ideas.
Published March 22, 2021

Wondering which food swaps work best with your Points budget? The substitutions listed in this article will inspire you to try new foods, reimagine classic recipes, and treat yourself to some seriously delicious meals.

1. Swap rice cakes and other crispy snacks for potato chips

Rice cakes and other rice-based crispy snacks offer plenty of satisfying crunch while still being low in Points. Although rice cakes have, historically, been painted as dry and tasteless, there are now tons of flavoured options to choose from. Potato crisps, which are often made with a combination of rice and potato flour, are another lower-Points choice in lieu of actual potato chips.

2. Try some fruit you’ve never eaten before

When you eat the same type of fruit every single day, the saying “fruit is nature’s candy” can feel a bit tiresome. Keep up the healthy fruit habit and stave off boredom by making it a habit to try new kinds of fruit. Do you regularly eat oranges? Try a hybrid citrus variety such as a tangelo or oroblanco. Are you tired of eating an apple-a-day? Investigate the crisp-tender flesh of dragonfruit or persimmons. If you’re unsure whether you’ll like the taste, simply buy one fruit at a time so that you can experiment without having to throw fruit away.

3. Use legume-based pasta in place of traditional wheat pasta

The benefits of pasta made with legumes like lentils or black beans are myriad: these noodles contain more fibre and protein, and are equally suited to recipes for Italian or Asian dishes. Unlike specialty noodles made with quinoa or brown rice, those made from beans and lentils hold their shape after being cooked without becoming mushy. Choose shorter pasta shapes like penne and rotini for pasta salad, soups, and stews or when serving with a chunky sauce. Long noodle shapes, like spaghetti or linguine, are best used with thinner sauces, in noodle bowls or with stir-fried veggies and your choice of protein.

4. Swap pureed white beans for heavy dairy in soups

Making a creamy soup? Instead of reaching for the sour cream or yogurt (which can sometimes separate when exposed to high heat), puree a can of white beans with a small amount of water or broth until you have a smooth paste. Stir the puree into the soup at the same point in the recipe where the dairy would have been added, and gently whisk to combine. Not only does this produce a silky and rich-tasting soup, it also ups the fibre and protein content of the recipe considerably.

5. Enjoy air-popped popcorn when you’re feeling peckish

Air-popped popcorn is a perfect snack for times when you feel like mindlessly munching as well between meals to keep hunger staved off. Unlike cheese puffs and other snacks with a similar mouthfeel, popcorn is more likely to fill you thanks to its high fibre content.

6. Substitute chocolate protein powder for cocoa

Chocolate protein powder makes a nutrient-packed sub for cocoa in smoothies, brownies, cookies and energy balls. You get the same burst of intense chocolate flavour, but with the added bonus of up to 25 grams of protein per serving (which means you’ll feel satiated long after you've eaten).