For most of us, the everyday ritual includes a trip to the vending machine or our favorite pizza place in town. And, if you have at least one type of junk food every day, you probably have a small voice at the back of your head telling you to eat healthier.
Giving up junk food isn’t just vital to every fitness regime, it’s also vital to your heart health. And, if you’re anything like us, getting to the gym might seem easier to achieve than giving up our favorite burger. But, a few tips might just help. Here are 7 tips that might help you lessen your junk food consumption.
1. Chew Slowly
If you’d like to avoid going through boxes of donuts in very little time, the best place to start would be to chew slowly. Studies state that doing so increases the time of eating and reduces the rate at which you’re eating, helping you feel full faster.
If you feel satiated faster, you’re more likely to avoid eating too much. This will help you slowly reduce the amount of junk food you consume on a daily basis.1
2. Snack On High Protein Foods
When you feel gorging on a chocolate cake, snack on something high in protein instead. Studies indicate that high protein foods make you feel full faster, hence killing the need for you to gorge on unhealthy junk food.
High protein snacks will also supplement your fitness regime, lower cravings, and add to the nutritional quality of your diet. Some snacks that you could go for are hummus with vegetable sticks, nuts, hardboiled eggs, and greek yogurt (unflavored).2
3. Replace Desserts With Fruits
Stock up your fridge with fruits and each time you’re hit with a sugar craving, snack on them instead. Fruits are rich in essential nutrients that are otherwise under-consumed, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).3
Not only do they provide you with these essential nutrients, the fiber in fruits also makes you feel full, manages your weight, and aids in gut health. Good dessert options include frozen grapes and peanut butter with banana.4
4. Manage Stress
If you’ve had a particularly long and hectic week, you’re bound to crave unhealthy food. Stress is known to increase your cravings, especially for sugar. And, if you’re a woman, then according to studies, you’re more likely to crave chocolate cake than men.5
Additionally, stress contributes to obesity and mental health problems. So, be sure to avoid too much stress at your place of work and incorporate stress-busters like meditation and yoga into your routine.6
5. Eat Before Grocery Shopping
Reading the ingredients list isn’t the only prerequisite to stocking up on healthier foods. If you tend to linger in the snack aisle and stock up on everything from chips to candy, then it might be a good idea to eat before you head to the grocery store.7
Studies indicate that going to a grocery store on an empty stomach might prompt people to stock up on high-calorie, unhealthy items. This is because when you’re hungry, your brain tends to think of what will taste the best as opposed to nutritional quality. And, since you’re hungry, you’re not going to spend too much time dwelling on this decision.8
6. Plan Your Meals
A good way to avoid impulsive eating and lower the amount of junk you eat is to plan your meals for the week ahead of time. This will help you think about all the nutrients that you consume and aid weight loss.
You could also make your food ahead of time on the weekend. Store it in airtight containers and refrigerate until you’re ready to consume them. Additionally, if you tend to crave unhealthy snacks, plan healthier snack alternatives along with your meals as well.9
7. Break Your Habits
On an average, it takes anywhere between 1–2 months to form a habit. And, in order to form healthier habits, it’s important to break the old ones.
So, if your snack time is around 4:00 pm, take a walk instead of reaching for a bag of chips. Similarly, if you tend to watch your favorite TV show after work while munching on popcorn, switch it up for a fruit instead. Ensure that you make this switch every day until it just becomes a habit.10
With all the fast food joints around us coming up with new (delicious) food options every single day, it might seem like giving up junk food is impossible. But, incorporate the above tips into your lifestyle and you’re sure to notice a change in no time.
|↑1||Zhu, Yong, and James H. Hollis. “Increasing the number of chews before swallowing reduces meal size in normal-weight, overweight, and obese adults.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114, no. 6 (2014): 926-931.|
|↑2||Leidy, Heather J., Minghua Tang, Cheryl LH Armstrong, Carmen B. Martin, and Wayne W. Campbell. “The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men.” Obesity 19, no. 4 (2011): 818-824.|
|↑3||Why is it important to eat fruit? United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑4||Clark, Michelle J., and Joanne L. Slavin. “The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 32, no. 3 (2013): 200-211.|
|↑5||Macedo, Danielle Marques, and Rosa Wanda Diez-Garcia. “Sweet craving and ghrelin and leptin levels in women during stress.” Appetite 80 (2014): 264-270.|
|↑6||Björntorp, Per. “Do stress reactions cause abdominal obesity and comorbidities?.” Obesity reviews 2, no. 2 (2001): 73-86.|
|↑7||Tal, Aner, and Brian Wansink. “Fattening fasting: hungry grocery shoppers buy more calories, not more food.” JAMA internal medicine 173, no. 12 (2013): 1146-1148.|
|↑8||Grocery Shopping While Hungry? Penn State University.|
|↑9||Meal Planning. Australian Government Department Of Health.|
|↑10||Gardner, Benjamin, Phillippa Lally, and Jane Wardle. “Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit-formation’and general practice.” Br J Gen Pract 62, no. 605 (2012): 664-666.|