By Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D., Board Certified Bariatric Physician, Board Certified Family Physician
There is no real technical term for “junk” foods, though they tend to be high in calorie without offering any sort of health benefits in the form of nutrients and fiber. Despite the variety of salty and sweet, junk foods are well-known to come prepackaged on the shelves of convenience stores. Though their intake may seem like the right action in the moment, consistent intake can lead to an unhealthful weight and the potential development of chronic diseases. Fight junk food cravings once and for all with these six simple steps!
1. Start with A Balanced Breakfast
Kicking off the morning with healthful foods can help pave the way to more healthful decisions the rest of the day. If not an avid breakfast eater, start small with a protein shakes, slice of high fiber toast with peanut butter or a cup of Greek yogurt. When breakfast becomes more enjoyed and tolerated, start preparing eggs with turkey sausage or avocado or cottage cheese and fruit. As a general rule, always have a protein-rich breakfast item to keep hunger levels sustained until a midmorning snack or lunchtime. The key is actually to avoid traditional breakfast foods like cereal, waffles or pancakes which are high in simple carbohydrates and sugar. For the majority of my patients, eating such a simple carbohydrate breakfast will make them hungrier the rest of the day. Eating the right breakfast, one high in protein and fiber, both fuels metabolism and keeps sugar cravings at bay.
2. Keep Junk Food Away
The statement “Out of sight, out of mind,” holds so much truth when it comes to how to get rid of and fight junk food cravings! Research consistently shows refined sugar products can be highly addictive. Many find that once they start eating these types of foods, they crave them even more. Instead of packaged pastries and chips located in the comfort of home or in the drawers of your work desk, avoid their purchase altogether. I share with my patients the saying, “Better to say no (to a bag of chips of cookies) once in the store instead of one hundred times at home.” If problem foods are around and convenient, you will probably eventually give in to them.
3. Purchase Healthier Foods
Fill your diet with more whole grains, lean proteins, healthful fats, and fresh fruits and veggies. Start to appreciate the role of healthful foods and how they nourish the body. Make the nutritious journey enjoyable by exploring all nutritious foods and trying new products! When nutritious foods fill up the diet, little room is left for those “junk” foods!
4. Avoid Mindless Eating
Mindless eating commonly arises when partaking in other activities such as watching a movie or working in front of a computer. Bouts of mindless eating are often filled with non-nutritious snacks, easily having the ability to pack on calories and weight. We often reach for salty snacks because we need a break from something else we are doing. If you need a break from work, get up and take a walk. It leaves you more refreshed and burns calories instead of adding them.
5. Find Distractions
Most people will share that they snack not due to hunger but rather due to boredom or the fact they are tired. Many of us sit for hours at a stretch at our work and it is truly fatiguing. If you are bored, get engaged with something by moving your body. Do some stretches, take a walk or get in the pool. So many people graze on junk foods at night because they are exhausted from the demands of their day.
A more health promoting habit would be to take a warm bath, read a bit and get to bed earlier. The cycle of restless sleep from eating too much, too late and then being uncomfortable due to fullness once in bed only perpetuates the cycle of more fatigue.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. So instead of reaching for that snack, pour up a glass of water! Staying hydrated further aids in digestion and promotes a healthy metabolism. Additionally, drinking a glass before or with snacks and meals can reduce overeating and total caloric intake.
Cederquist Medical Wellness Center
Call Today: 239-734-4486
1575 Pine Ridge Road, Naples, FL