Want to end your junk food junkie life? You can teach yourself how to stop eating junk food with these tips!
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In this article:
- Giving Up on Junk
- What Is Junk Food?
- RRR You Ready?
- More Tips on How to Stop Eating Junk Food
Goodbye, Junk Food Junkie | Hello, Healthy You
Giving Up on Junk
You may have already lost count of the number of times you said, “Good lord, when will I stop being a junk food junkie?” We know it’s hard.
Giving up junk food isn’t easy. There are so many reasons you eat it.
Junk food appears to be cheaper and quicker than making your own food. Just compare the price of a bag of Fritos corn chips to a kilo of broccoli.
Sadly, many people live on junk food and don’t even realize what they are doing to themselves. Why?
Junk food marketers know how to grab your attention and trick you. They use buzzwords like the following:
What is GMO? GMO stands for genetically modified food or plants and organisms with altered genes.
They make their junk foods sound healthy and good for you. At the same time, they have hidden lots of sugars, sodium, and chemicals to make you crave them.
From plain yogurts and cereals to salads and trail mixes, many of these foods are much worse for you than they may appear.
There’s a silver lining, however. We have some excellent tips on how to stop being a junk food junkie, make better food choices, and embrace a healthier lifestyle.
But before that, let’s talk about junk food more extensively.
What Is Junk Food?
Junk food can be defined as any food you consume that has zero to little nutritional value. It has typically been processed and packaged and has a very high calorie count.
Junk food can be found anywhere including convenience stores, restaurants, shopping malls, theaters, and sporting events.
You hear junk food advertised on TV, radio, billboards, and flyers. Every week, your mailbox is filled with coupons for special offers, tempting you with pretty pictures to eat out instead of making a meal for yourself.
It’s no wonder so many folks eat junk food without a second thought. If you want to eliminate junk from your diet, here’s our first tip: give the following RRR steps a try.
RRR You Ready?
One of the best ways to quit being a junk food junkie is to stick to RRRs:
For the next three months, begin applying these RRRs every day. Taking baby steps will keep you moving forward, especially when you start to see and feel the results of changing your junk food consumption.
If you take the time to journal during this time, you will have a place to reflect on what you’ve discovered about yourself. This can be an invaluable gift to yourself.
Have fun and be kind to yourself!
Step 1: Recognize
Starting today, notice everything you are eating. If you haven’t looked at the label before, start doing that immediately.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much sugar is in it?
- How about the sodium level?
- What about the dietary fiber or carbohydrates?
- Can you see any vitamins and minerals?
Check out our guide on how to read nutrition facts and labels. A quick tip: manufacturers list down their ingredients according to their content percentage.
Take a look through your cupboards, your pantry, and your countertops. Do you have junk food visible, handy, and tempting you to eat something quick and easy?
Open your refrigerator. Is there a pint of ice cream or creamy dessert telling you, “Hell yeah, come and get me!”?
How about in your car or on your desk at work? Is there anything handy and unhealthy there?
Hmmm, what to do? Now you are aware of these things, the choice is yours.
It is now up to you to decide what to do with these items. Do you keep them until they’re gone, throw them out, or hide them?
Listen to your body when you look at this food. If you want to eliminate junk food from your diet, you now have a place to start.
Step 2: Record
The best way—and only way—to really change something and end your junk food junkie life is to identify what it is you want to change and why.
I’m sure you agree that it’s hard to change something when you don’t know what that something is, right? This second step is where you will begin to identify the changes you want to make.
You can keep track of this in a journal, on your laptop, or personal device. You can even do it in your head (although we don’t recommend that as most of us tend to forget things).
Take note when you want or crave to eat junk food:
- What time is it?
- When was the last time you ate?
- Where are you?
- What are you doing?
- What are you craving: sweet, sour, salty, hot, cold, crunchy, or creamy?
- How much and where are you spending on food?
For the last question, break the answer down into the following:
- Convenience stores
- Fast food restaurants, ordering in or eating out
- Grocery stores
- Farmer’s market or health food grocer
If you log this information once a week, by the end of the three weeks, you should notice a difference. Recording daily is even better as you will notice your habits sooner.
Step 3: Replace
As you discover what you are eating, as well as where, when, and why, it’s time to start swapping things out. It’s totally up to you where you want to start, but the sooner you do, the better.
After reviewing your notes, you will be able to determine where you want to start and the steps you wish to take. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Commit to Eating at Least One Healthy Meal a Day
Pick the one you find challenging, but not as overwhelming, as your first task. The sooner you notice a win, the better.
2. Make Your Own
The Internet is filled with healthy, nutritious, and easy-to-make recipes. You can make your own cereals, trail mixes, muffins, bread, cookies, and chocolates — whatever your heart (and taste buds) desire.
The beauty of making your own treats is you know exactly what is in them. You can add or replace the ingredients as you please.
You can also make your own soups, salads, salad dressings, and sauces. There really is no limit to what you can make for yourself given the time and commitment you want to put into it.
3. Eat at Home
Instead of going out to a meal with friends, have a dinner party or host a potluck with a healthy theme. Not only will it be easier on your pockets, but you will find it much more relaxing.
There will be no loud conversations or music to distract you. There will be no more hidden calories and chemicals in your food.
Even better, consider organic cooking. Then pair your meals with a healthy drink.
4. Exchange Eating with Other Activities
Idle minds and hands can be your greatest enemies when you want to stop being a junk food junkie. Replace them with other worthwhile activities.
For instance, don’t sit, but walk around, during breaks. Stop and smell the flowers when you’re feeling down instead of grabbing a tub of ice cream.
Think of these RRRs as going around in circles. This process will take a while.
Your habits have been formed over many, many years. By repeating these steps — recognize, record, and replace — you will soon find yourself no longer consuming junk food.
You’ll be wondering why you ever thought eating junk was good for you. You may even find your wallet and bank accounts are growing healthy along with you.
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More Tips on How to Stop Eating Junk Food
When you follow the RRRs, you can stop yourself from being the junk food guy or gal. Why settle for this, though, when you can do so much more?
Here are more tips to help you throw away bad eating habits, lock and key:
1. Consider Eating Healthy Junk Food
While the term “healthy junk food” is confusing, it’s simply opting for a healthier option as a snack. Here are a few examples:
- Burger patties on lettuce instead of a Big Mac
- Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate
- Sweet potato fries instead of the regular French fries
There are even products called vegan junk food. A good option is a bag of kale chips over a tube of Pringles.
These choices can still have a good amount of sodium and even carbs. However, they’re less likely to have additives, preservatives, and artificial sugars.
2. Try the No Junk Food Challenge
If you want to quit being a junk food junkie cold turkey, you can join the no-junk-food challenge. The concept is simple: avoid anything junk for 21 to 30 days.
This can include the following:
- Pastries and cookies
- White bread
- Fast food
- Donuts and muffins
- Commercial peanut butter, spreads, dressings, and sauces
- Ice cream
- Sodas and alcohols
- Fried foods
In between, you can eat whatever you want and whenever you like. You can even avoid counting calories.
Instead, focus all your energy on trying to eliminate these types of junk food from your life. Before you know it, you’ll realize you don’t miss them.
You can even sweeten the deal. Grab a pottery jar or any container and put all the money in it you would have spent on junk food.
3. Make Healthy Foods Accessible
One of the reasons why people love to eat junk food is it’s easy to get. How about you apply the same idea to healthier options such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds?
You can begin having your own organic garden in your yard. If you don’t have space, try container gardening.
Fill your basket with low-glycemic fruits such as lemons, grapefruits, and pears instead of bread. Place some good snacks in your desk drawer.
Cook your own lunch. If you are a generally busy person, prep your meals during the weekends.
Stock your pantry and the fridge with healthy essentials:
- Green leafy veggies
- Healthy meats such as grass-fed beef
- Seeds and nuts
- Dark chocolates
- Beans and legumes
- Avocados and other healthy fats
Invest in alkalizing greens as well. They come in handy when you want to make your drinks and food nutritious in an instant.
4. Treat Yourself Once in a While
Junk food is bad, that’s a fact. It doesn’t mean you cannot ever have some of the good stuff, though.
You are less likely to binge on these bad foods if you give in to your cravings once in a while. If you’re feeling a slice of carrot cake is better than baked carrot sticks, do yourself a favor.
The most important thing is that you commit yourself to healthy eating as often as you can.
5. Train Your Kids to Eat Well
The chances of quitting being a junk food junkie are less if you don’t have the support of your other household members. Take your kids, for example.
As early as you can, train them to make healthier choices. It doesn’t have to be drastic.
For instance, you can substitute sugar-laden cereals with a bowl of oatmeal topped with berries and almonds. They can have maple syrup instead of fructose syrup for their pancakes.
It may not happen overnight, but you can learn how to stop eating junk food. Like everything you want in life, it requires commitment, perseverance, and patience.
It also demands a proper mindset. As long as you stick to these tips, you can get past being a junk food junkie.
How do you stop eating junk food? Let us know your tips in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 23, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.