Healthy eating is part of the equation to get fit and stay fit, which is why we produced the Strategic Nutrition Guide. If you live in a developed country, you will know that combating bad eating habits is a massive challenge. As such, we have invited nutrition expert Luke Douglas from Ripped.me to offer us some tips when it comes to choosing alternatives to junk food. Here goes:
With fast-food restaurants on every corner and busy schedules, more and more people are turning to junk food as their primary type of diet. On the other hand, some individuals are simply tempted by tasty cheeseburgers or crispy French fries. However, addiction to junk food is an unhealthy habit and a true problem because it can lead to obesity and, consequently, a series of other health problems. Eating junk food every now and then isn’t such a big deal, but a regular consumption can affect your entire lifestyle. Thus, it’s important that you stop eating junk food altogether and turn to healthy alternatives.
Junk food and its negative effects
What is actually junk food? When we say junk food, we all think of burgers, French fries, pizza, potato chips, deep-fried chicken wings and many more. However, that’s only a mask. What junk food actually is what hides inside – flavour enhancers that can cause headaches, nausea and even chest pain, caramel colouring that is actually synthetically made reaction of ammonia and sulfites linked to leukaemia, liver, thyroid and lung cancer, artificial dyes that have been also linked to cancer, sodium nitrate, a preservative and flavouring associated with colorectal cancer and higher risk of heart disease, feathers and hair – yes, you heard it right – and although this isn’t harmful, it’s certainly gross. The list of unhealthy ingredients unfortunately goes on and a lot of them are hidden right inside your tasty burger.
Changing your dietary habits
Completely changing your diet is difficult, but not impossible. With a well-developed plan and determination, you can completely switch from junk food to a healthy diet. Start with a diet plan that will help you control your cravings for junk food. If you have a healthy meal already prepared and waiting for you, you won’t order a pizza. In addition, you won’t have to worry about your meals and resort to junk food when you don’t have time to cook.
Your diet should also include healthy snacks. Instead of reaching out for a bag of potato chips, you should snack on delicious almonds, fresh fruit or no-fat yoghurt. Always have some healthy snacks at hand because you can easily give in to the temptation and grab that bag after all.
Another important change you need to make is stop drinking fizzy and sugary drinks that are full of unhealthy sugars and calories. Instead, drink plenty of water, which will speed your metabolism. If you have cravings for juice, you can try drinking flavoured water. For example, add a slice of pineapple or strawberries to your water and enjoy the refreshing flavour. If you find it really difficult to stop drinking fizzy drinks, you should start with low-calorie and sugar-free beverages and then work your way towards eliminating them completely.
Getting enough sleep can also help you reduce and control your cravings for junk food. It has been shown that the lack of sleep can intensify your unhealthy cravings. You may feel hungrier and a bucket of cookie dough might sound just perfect as a midnight snack.
You can easily replace junk food with healthy alternatives that are equally tasty, but much healthier. For example, if you’re craving for potato chips, you can grab a bag of kale chips instead. Baking potatoes in coconut oil is a much healthier option than French fries. Frozen fruits instead of candy as snacks and banana pancakes for breakfast sound just perfect. If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll be glad to hear that you don’t have to stop eating it. Just switch to dark chocolate – not only is it delicious, but it also has a lot of health benefits.
Consuming nutrient-rich foods and all the necessary vitamins and proteins is of the utmost importance for your health. You cannot completely eliminate certain substances, such as fats or sugars, because your body needs them. The key is in consuming healthy fats and sugars that will provide your body with enough energy. If you simply don’t have the time to cook healthy meals, you should consider buying them. For example, Optifast products are healthy, easy to prepare and low in calories, which is a great alternative for those who don’t have a nutrient-rich diet. This way, you’ll consume all the necessary nutrients, boost your metabolism and start burning calories instead of storing them.
Junk food might seem delicious and an easy choice, but it contains high levels of unhealthy ingredients that may pose a threat to your health. Thus, it’s important that you change your diet and switch to healthy alternatives.
Luke is a fitness and health blogger at Ripped.me and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles. You can check out his profile on Facebook and Twitter.
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Also published on Medium.
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