Many of us have been guilty of this: dining in a fast-food restaurant after a long day of work or eating chips and drinking soda while bingeing our favorite TV show on Netflix. It’s understandable since these foods are made to be addictive so that you crave, buy, and eat them all the time. In fact, food manufacturers ensure that they create delicious products that leave you wanting more. Unfortunately, these types of food—junk food—are bad for you.
What is junk food, anyway?
Junk food has low nutritional value and has high empty calories. These foods are also high in added sugar, trans fat, sodium, and preservatives. Unfortunately, most fast food joints serve junk food like fries, ice cream, soft drinks, and more. So, what does all of these mean? What does junk food do to your body, and why is junk food bad?
As mentioned earlier, junk food has a lot of added sugar, high sodium, and trans fat. These translate into increased calories, bad cholesterol, and blood sugar, which are all detrimental to your cardiovascular system. Eating tons of junk food can also result in excessive weight gain and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
How do you stop eating junk food?
Now that you know why junk food is unhealthy, you probably are still wondering how to stop yourself from craving junk food. After all, it can be difficult to say no to a juicy hamburger, deep-fried French fries on the side, and a large glass of soda. Here are some ways on how you can stop yourself from eating another bag of chips and more:
Plan your meals
Plotting out your meals for the upcoming week can help you manage your cravings. For example, if you have a planned healthy meal for the day, it will help eliminate the possibility of buying food from a fast food joint or going to a convenience store to buy some unhealthy snacks.
You can also opt to bring packed lunch to work to avoid dining out. Try cooking by batch so that you’ll have some food prepared for the whole week. There are many recipes online that you can follow that are both sumptuous and healthy. Cooking and bringing your own food saves you money too!
Drink plenty of water
Drinking plenty of water can help minimize your cravings. If you find yourself wanting to eat chips, sweets, or drink a sugary beverage, drink a glass of water instead. It may wash away your cravings for junk food.
One way to increase your water intake is having a large water bottle (around 500 milliliters to 1 liter) near your workspace. This way, it’s easy for you to keep your cravings in check. Simply take a huge gulp of water every time the urge starts to kick in. We recommend taking at least eight glasses or two liters of water a day.
Distract yourself from your cravings
Aside from drinking water, you can also take your attention away from your cravings by making yourself preoccupied with other things. For example, taking a walk can take your mind away from eating unhealthy snacks. Even doing simple household chores or rearranging your workspace can do wonders in keeping your cravings at bay.
Have proper and healthy meals
Starving yourself is never a good idea and will only increase your cravings. Instead, you can have proper meals with high proteins like fish and beans. These foods can make you feel full and keep you from overeating. Additionally, you can add more fruits like berries, bananas, and watermelons to your diet if you’re craving sweets. They have natural sugars, full of vitamins, and are free of preservatives.
Manage your stress levels
Stress eating can get out of hand if you just accept it. You’ll find yourself eating chips or buying a tub of ice cream more often because you’re upset or stressed about work. When this happens, you might find yourself eating more unhealthy foods or overeating.
To avoid stress eating, try redirecting your stress to doing other healthier activities. There are many ways to cope with stress. For example, you can do breathing or meditation exercises to calm your nerves and focus on what needs to be done. You can also try writing in your journal, talking to a loved one, or seeking the help of a mental health professional instead of stress eating as a way of coping.
Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation can also lead to strong cravings. You’re more likely to feel hungry and give in to your cravings if you lack sleep. This is why it’s important to go to bed early and try to get eight hours of sleep every night.
Once you’re in bed, avoid checking your phone. The blue light emitted from your devices can result in you taking longer to fall asleep at night. Of course, you should also avoid taking caffeine hours before you go to sleep. It’s also recommended to avoid heavy dinners. A full stomach may make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep.
Manage your cravings effectively.
Eating junk food is unhealthy. This is why it’s vital that you put your cravings in check. Doing the tips we’ve mentioned can help you manage your cravings effectively. This will help you live a healthier lifestyle and take care of your body better.
While following these tips can surely help, remember to take it slow. Be kind to yourself when you find yourself struggling to manage your cravings. Set yourself up for success by building on healthy habits and managing your junk food intake slowly. Before you know it, avoiding junk foods will become second nature to you.
Want to learn more? Visit the LifeClinic blog for more tips on health and diet.