6 Tips To Stop You Reaching For The Junk Food
Here it comes, can you feel it? That craving for caffeine, salt or sugar? It’s not unusual, because most of us all feel it at some point during the day. Unfortunately these cravings for sugar and salt laden junk food are hard to escape from. Especially considering many food manufacturers want to ignite that cycle of addiction, through producing even more tempting junk foods.
When we get that heavenly hit of salty, sweet, and fatty flavours, our brain chemistry is actually negatively affected. It leads to that familiar yearning for junk food when our stomach is already full, driving us to overconsume.
Thankfully there are things you can do to quash these cravings and stop you from reaching for the junk food. Meal planning is hugely beneficial but it’s not the only solution, so here are 6 of our top tips…
#1 – Start sleeping better
Yes, the first tip is actually nothing to do with food or meal prep, but it’s just as critical.
Many of us lead busy and hectic lifestyles and this often results in not getting the chance to get enough sleep. You may already know that a lack of sleep can seriously effect energy levels and your overall mood. However when it comes to junk food cravings, depriving yourself of sleep can result in increased hunger and actually weaken your ability to control your intake of snacky foods.
Train yourself to go to bed earlier, and avoiding eating a few hours before you intend to go to sleep. You’ll soon see the positive difference in terms of your ability to fall asleep, and to resist your cravings.
#2 – Make use of meal planning
One of the most effective ways to crush those junk food cravings is by drawing up a solid meal plan ahead of time. Meal prep some healthy meals and snacks and pack them up ready for an afternoon lunch, or an evening meal when you get home. With your nutritious options already made, you’re less likely to reach for that slice of takeaway pizza, or those chocolate biscuits at the office.
We are bombarded with junk food advertisements all the time, so without any meal plan in place we’ll be quick to succumb to suggestion and grab whatever’s easiest. If you train yourself to start meal prepping every night, or start planning out the week’s meals at the weekend, you’ll soon see those cravings disappear.
Don’t worry, meal prep doesn’t have to be complicated. You can prepare large batches of food using easy and accessible ingredients. Try brown rice, beans, roasted chicken and vegetables, or some simple salads. Don’t forget fruits, such as apples, oranges and bananas, as these can all travel well. Make sure you have plenty of food containers of different sizes so that you can store your meal prep foods, ready to grab the next day.
#3 – Focus on healthy fats and proteins
Speaking of getting the right ingredients for your meal prep plans, you always need to make sure you’re getting plenty of healthy fats and proteins. Healthy fats might sound like a strange notion, due to the common nutrition myth that eating fat always makes you become fat. In fact, there are various types of nutritional fats that are important to include in a diet.
Heart-healthy fats, such as those found in avocado, fatty fish like salmon, or mixed nuts, can help reduce your cravings, as opposed to unhealthy trans fats and limit saturated fats. Also, including plenty of protein into your meal plan is essential for fighting the junk food urges. Healthy sources of protein, like beans, fish, vegetables and nuts will leave you feeling fuller, compared to carbs. Leaving you with literally less room for sugary and salty snack foods.
#4 – Never forget about fruit
As mentioned, an essential part of your junk food fighting healthy meal prep plans should be a rich variety of fresh fruit. But fruit has sugar you say? This is true, however unlike junk food, fruit is also loaded with a rich variety of vitamins, and antioxidants.
Plus there’s always an abundance of fibre in fruit, which is key to slowing and balancing out your blood sugar levels, whilst improving your overall digestion. This all goes towards stopping that sugar crash you get from snacking. Start replacing those manufactured sugar sources with fruit, and the healthier option will soon taste a lot sweeter and more satisfying.
Sweet healthy fruits to add to your meal plan include, watermelon, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, pomegranate, mango, and strawberries.
#5 – Take steps to reduce stress
Thanks to most of us living busy lifestyles, high stress is almost synonymous with a lack of sleep. When our emotions are compromised because of stress, then the cravings for junk food are one of the side-effects. Stress causes blood sugar levels to crash, making that brownie or chocolate bar suddenly very appealing when you need a quick energy boost.
Unhealthy eating habits can stem from a need to plug these feelings of stress, as all you want is a distraction from the procrastination and negative thoughts. It’s not easy, but it’s important to be compassionate to yourself, and to practice redirecting your urges for junk food towards doing something else that makes you feel good.
Simple things make a big difference – like going for a quick walk or run, meditating for a few minutes, spending quality time with friends and family, doing something creative, or just taking some deep breaths as you grab a few moments to yourself. If your stress levels remain high, consider consulting a doctor or mental health professional for other healthy coping methods that don’t involve junk food.
#6 – Use variety to stop the vicious cycle
We are all wired to want to eat a variety of food, but constantly binging on junk food can actually negate our culinary curiosity and reduce our innate desire to experiment or try new things. Before you know it, you’re seemingly trapped in a vicious cycle of unhealthy meals and snacks.
The solution is to keep adding a rich variety of diverse foods to your healthy meal prep plan. Make it routine to introduce new colours and tastes into your weekly meal prep, as this will soon stop you from becoming bored and craving junk food. For example, try a new type of fish like tuna, or some new greens like kale. You could always mix your meal plan up with some peruvian purple potatoes, or maybe even some potassium boosting beetroot.
Focusing on the many positives of eating healthier and including diverse, nutrient rich foods into your meal planning is far more effective than just trying to go cold turkey on junk food. Following these tips will get you off to a great start if you want to cut out cravings and lead a healthier, happier life.
#7 – Prep can help you plan ahead
That’s right, we’ve included a seventh secret tip! But don’t worry it’s far more straightforward and a lot less mysterious than we’ve just made it sound.
As tip 2 mentioned, healthy meal prep plans are the key component to fighting off those junk food cravings. However, many of us who start meal planning ahead of time will still struggle due to time constraints and other factors. Which is why a healthy meal prep delivery service could be the ideal solution to make sure you’re hitting those junk food busting goals.
Healthy meal prep delivery can make sure you’re getting all the nutritiously rich, balanced and diverse foods you need, delivered to your door. This won’t only alleviate that extra bit of stress, it will also free up even more time for you to focus on other things.
At Prep Perfect, you can take advantage of our Gourmet dishes, weight loss, maintenance, and muscle gain packages, along with our low carb high fat keto meal plan to help with weight loss. Whatever you need in terms of fresh, well balanced meals that are designed to keep your body and mind healthy, we can bring it to you hassle free, with our healthy meal prep delivery.
All our wholesome meals are tailored to suit all tastes and dietary requirements, made by Michelin trained chefs, using locally sourced, all-natural ingredients.