They can challenge your willpower, but with these food swaps you don’t have to miss out.

Noodles – save 240 cals per serving

Egg noodles can set you back 240 cals per 75g serving. Instead, try Sato Shouten Low Calories Shirataki Yam Noodles (£1.85 from Asian supermarkets or which contain 5cals per 75g or calorie-free zero noodles (£1.33 Holland & Barrett).

Mashed Potato – save 120 cals per serving

You can swap buttery potato mash (200cals for a 200g portion) for sweet potato. It’s healthier but has around the same calories per gram. For a low-cal option mash 200g swede with a knob of butter (80cals). TO zing it up, add garlic of smoked paprika, or 1tsp Parmesan (20cals)

Chips – save 300 cals per serving

Sometimes only fries will do, but at 380 cals for a 200g portion, they could ruin your diet. Instead slice 200g butternut squash and roast for 20-30 minutes with FryLight spray oil and herbs (80 cals).

Rice – save 215 cals per serving

Healthy options such as quinoa and couscous are great but have a similar number of calories to rice (240 cals per 75g dry weight serving). So why not make your own? Finely grate 75g of cauliflower, then saute for 4-5 minutes in FryLight spray oil, or microwave for 3 minutes without water (25 cals).

Biscuits – Save up to 280 cals per serving

A cup of tea is incomplete without a couple of biccies, but a bakery cho-chip cooie can set you back by up to 320 cals. At just 70cals each, fig rolls are a good alternative, as are garibaldi biscuits (40 cals). If you need a choccy fix with your carbs, try Kelkin Milk Chocolate Coated Rice Cakes (85 cals each £1.40 for six) or Nairn’s Dark Chocolate Chip Oat Biscuits (44 cals each, £1.10 for 200g)

Bread – save up to 110 cals per saving

It’s hard to resist eating a sandwich for lunch, but just two slices of buttered bread alone comes in at around 240 cals. Switch it to Sainsbury’s Be Good To Yourself Tortilla Wrap (130 cals, £1.25 for 8).

Pasta – save 190 cals per serving

At just 40 cals for a 150g serving, spaghetti squash is one of the US’s best-kept secrets. It cooks like any winter squash, but the flesh resembles that of thin ribbons and is a great alternative to spaghetti (230 cals for 150 g cooked weight)

Cheese on toast – save up to 140 cals per serving

Just one slice of cheese on toast tots up to around 200 cals (if it’s made with 30g Cheddar). As an alternative, try a grilled Portobello Mushroom (20cals) topped with 30g ricotta (40 cals).
Appeared in Woman’s Own Magazine 28 January 2013