How to stop eating junk food

What is junk food?

    A perk of modern life is that food is readily accessible to us, in the form of vending machines while you are waiting to catch a train, numerous food stands you walk past on the way to work or even a café at the gym, wherever we go, food is there! A lot of the food we come into contact with on a daily basis is ‘junk food’, junk food is defined as pre-prepared or packaged food that has low nutritional value.

Why do we eat it?

    Many of us know that consuming junk food can leading to health issues such as heart disease and diabetes, but we still eat it! Junky food is highly processed and normally consists of a deadly concoction of salt, sugar and fat which results in a delicious calorie dense food that leaves us wanting more. So, how do we avoid buying and eating this unhealthy junk food?

Tips on staying away from junk food

    1. Be wary of marketing tricks
    The food industry is clever at making junk food look appealing. Techniques such as bright packaging and the use of images that evoke a positive association are commonly used. The use of phrases such as ‘take a break’ or ‘you’re worth it’ tap into your need for self-care and may influence you buy certain food products.
    2. Watch out for misleading buzzwords
    The use of the words ‘organic’, ‘vegan’ and ‘gluten-free’ give the illusion that the food product is healthy, but these terms just refer to the way the food was processed and specific allergen ingredients. These terms do not mean that the food item is healthy, for example a cake could be organic, vegan AND gluten-free but it is still unhealthy junk food.
    3. Choose quality over quantity
    With processed foods you often get more volume (and more calories) than the healthier options. With junk food although it might seem like a good deal you will eventually end up paying a “health tax” in the form of fat gain and poor health.
    4. Look for habit patterns
    Next time you indulge in some junk food, think about where you are, what you are feeling and who you are with, these things could be reasons why you are reaching for this food as these factors could be triggers. This self-knowledge will help you prevent triggered eating in the future.
    5. Plan your meals
    If you meal plan and know what you are going to eat on a daily basis you won’t have to think about what to eat and will be less tempted to buy junk food.
    6. Avoid getting extremely hungry
    Hunger is one of the biggest reasons we experience cravings. When you are out of the house try and bring healthy snacks and a water bottle which will keep you full and prevent you from impulse buying junk foods. Avoid going to the supermarket hungry as you may end up being enticed into buying junk foods.
    7. Practice the ingredient rule
    If there are ingredients on food labels that you cannot pronounce the likelihood is that they are chemical compounds used in processing stage of the products. Whole foods will have few and simple ingredients, so you should opt for these.
    8. Keep healthy convenience foods on hand
    When we are hungry and can’t wait for food to be cooked, we may turn to junk foods, that’s why it’s important to have healthy convenience foods on hand for when we get peckish, for example nuts or vegetable sticks.
    9. Look for habit patterns
    Next time you indulge in some junk food, think about where you are, what you are feeling and who you are with, these things could be reasons why you are reaching for this food as these factors could be triggers. This self-knowledge will help you prevent triggered eating in the future.

    Next time you feel like enjoying some junk food, check out Studifuel’s recipe section which has a range of delicious healthy foods that offer plenty of health benefits.
By

Anna Redmayne-Porter

Check her Instagram out here

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