The term junk food has been long used to denote cheap food that contains high amounts of calories usually coming from sugar or fat. These foods clench hunger very effectively and many of them also taste good, which makes them the preferred choice for those looking for quick meals. However, these meals lack nutritional value almost completely, what’s more they not only fail to provide the body with nutrients necessary for healthy functioning, but are also listed among the principal causes of obesity and are very harmful for the cardiovascular system as well.
Junk food has another characteristic that makes it very dangerous: excessive junk food consumption may alter the way the brain works in a manner similar to addictive substances, therefore eliminating these dishes from the diet of a person who has been consuming them for a long period of time is usually more difficult than one might think.
However, kicking the habit is not impossible–here are a few tips that can make the process easier.
How to Stop Eating Junk Food at Night
Eating junk food at night is a very harmful habit because it does not allow your digestive system to process the food you have consumed, which, in turn, may lead to stomachaches, poor digestion and sleep problems. If you have made up your mind to stop late-night snacking, here are a few tips to make it all easier:
- Have a hearty, protein rich breakfast–people who eat at night usually don’t have breakfast because they still feel full after their late-night binging. Try to break that cycle–start your day with a protein-rich, healthy breakfast, such as an omelet and a glass of orange juice or yoghurt with some cereals and frozen fruit–it will keep your blood sugar under control all day and you will not be craving junk food in the evening;
- Eat regularly–breakfast should not be the only hearty, protein rich meal of your day. Make sure you have lunch and dinner as well, you can even introduce regular snacks of fruits and nuts between the principle meals, that way you can be sure you will not feel hungry after dinner;
- Try to reduce stress–it is easier said than done, but elevated stress levels are among the principle causes of night-time eating. Try to relax more, that way you will sleep better and you will not start craving burgers in the middle of the night.
Tips to Stop Eating Junk Food Whilst at Work
Workplaces are full of junk food, some offices are like junk food mine fields. Everybody has secret stashes of chips and chocolate, the sandwich machine is there to supply you with the tastiest, most unhealthy things ever and the fizzy drinks machine is also thereto help you clench your hunger.
To be able to resist the temptation, stock up on sugar-free nuts bars, protein bars, you can even have a protein powder to replace one snack a day with a sweet and flavored,but healthy drink. You can also start planning ahead and cooking at home–in the evening you can prepare your meals for the following day, that way you can be sure you will be able to eat dishes that you like and you don’t need to worry about sudden attacks of hunger that get you running to the sandwich machine.
Will Cutting Out Junk Food Help Me to Lose Weight?
The simple answer is yes. And what is even better, you will start seeing the results very soon. Junk food contains huge amounts of calories in very small volume. It is very easy to forget about the calories when the portion in front of you is so small, but some of these small portions come, in fact, with the energy recommended for your entire day.
The daily caloric intake recommended for adults is around 2,000 calories. According to recent scientific studies, an average junk food meal contains more than 800 calories, which means that one meal supplies about 40% of your daily calories needs and one slice of pizza contains almost 300 calories, which is 15% of your daily calories needs.
If you make a quick calculation, you understand how quick and easy weight loss will before you, once you stop indulging on junk food. If you replace those 800 calories contained in a portion of junk food, most of which are so-called empty calories, with a savory and healthy meal that contains proteins, fibers and healthy fats in balanced quantities, but not more than 400 calories, you will create the caloric deficit sufficient for losing almost a pound a week–amazing, isn’t it?
Healthy Junk Food Alternatives
One of the factors that make junk food so attractive is taste, so if you want to replace those unhealthy dishes with meals that are good for you and promote weight loss, you need to look for alternatives that are tasty as well. Fortunately, there are plenty of choices when it comes to replacing junk food:
- Vegetable chips prepared in the oven, with only a drizzle of olive oil can replace ready-made potato chips from the store;
- You can easily replace your favorite pizza with whole grain wraps on top of which you lay a sauce made from veggies and chicken breast;
- Swap ice cream for yoghurt mixed with fresh fruits–you can even freeze the mix and make it resemble your favorite ice cream from the nearby parlor;
- Replace soda with water, tea or fruit juices, you can even combine fruits to make smoothies or shakes;
- Crackers can be replaced with healthier whole-grain varieties or crispy vegetables;
- Replace fatty meat like pork with lean meat, such as chicken, beef or fish and try to avoid thick sauces as much as possible.
When it comes to switching to a healthy diet by replacing junk food, the limit is only your imagination. In the beginning, you will miss your fast food meals, but the cravings will disappear soon and your motivation will surely soar when you see all those unwanted pounds melt away.