Today I’m speaking specifically to breaking the junk food habit, beginning to eat more whole foods and including healthy alternatives to junk food cravings.
Breaking habits can be even harder than starting new habits — wouldn’t you agree? Especially when those habits are related to your health. Let’s jump in!
Let’s Look at Some Alternatives
Crowd out the bad stuff
Junk food is loaded with sugar, and your body gets hooked on it. Start by cutting down on these junk foods and adding fruits or vegetables in their place. You’ll get less of a sugar high from them, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your healthy eating goals. Then keep adding more of the fresh foods in place of the junk – you won’t feel deprived and will begin to enjoy the new options. Whatever small step you choose, stick with it until you’re comfortable with your new healthy habit — then move on to your next healthy habit. It works like a charm!
Avoid foods with more than five ingredients
When shopping in the supermarket, focus on the perimeter where the produce and perishable foods are found. I realize there are staples you’ll need from the inner aisles. For those foods read the labels and try to find the healthiest option possible of what you’re shopping for — the fewer ingredients and the more you can pronounce those ingredients, the better.
Add colors and textures to your plate
A salad is really boring if you just throw soggy lettuce in a bowl. Instead, use a variety of greens as the canvas and add a rainbow of colors and a playground of textures. Tomatoes, shredded red cabbage, colorful peppers, crunchy nuts, and even a bit of goat cheese to please your palate.
Break your bad habit cycles
If you often venture to the vending machine at work in the mid-afternoon, break the association with that machine by starting a healthier habit. Take a walk that keeps you away from that vending machine, for example. And bring fruit or vegetable to eat instead of the food-like substance you would find in the machine. Eating real food, coupled with a short walk, will refresh your body and your mind and carry you through the rest of the afternoon. You’ll be feeling so good about your swapped habit that you’ll be ready to tackle your next habit swap.
Make healthy foods more accessible
You’re more likely to eat right when you’ve got a healthy snack ready to go. Bag up portions of mixed nuts, make your own trail mix without candy and dried fruit, or keep cut up veggies with hummus around and you’ll always have a healthy go-to snack.
Don’t keep junk food in the house
To make the switch complete, keeping those junk foods out of your house is best. That way if you get a craving at midnight, the junk won’t be readily available. You’ll train yourself to save sweets and treats for special occasions rather than late-night snacks.
Allow yourself to be disgusted
A great way to make the change to eating less processed foods is to learn what’s in them. Go ahead, pull those packaged foods out and research the labels. There’s a lot less food in those packages than you think. Look up all the ingredients you can’t pronounce. They sound much less delicious now, don’t they?
Be patient with yourself, too. When you know why you are pursuing change, and what benefit it will provide, you can press through the challenges that accompany change. YOU are worth it!
Looking for Help?
Interested, but need more support? You can like my Pursue Wellness Facebook page or perhaps my book would motivate and encourage you. Don’t go it alone … successful habit changes are more likely in the company of a community.