Whether you call it fast food or junk food, there’s no denying these snacks are bad for your body in multiple ways. Junk food is notoriously low in nutritional value and makes up for it in grease. However, the food may not be the only cause for worry. A recent study found high levels of “forever chemicals” or PFAS contained in fast food packaging. Aside from harming the environment, PFAS can damage the immune system and reduce one’s resistance to infectious diseases.
So why do we love and crave junk food so much? Aside from taste, it’s the lack of effort to prepare them and their low costs. Before you know it, you might consume them more frequently in a week than you initially planned. Whether you’re planning to cut down the junk food consumption for health or financial reasons, we can all agree that the occasional craving is a big obstacle. Today, we’ll go over four essential tips to fight junk food cravings:
Tap into the right motivation
When it comes down to it, cravings start in your mind. With enough mindfulness and determination, it’s possible to control your cravings as they come. Of course, it helps to have the right motivation for staying on track with your diet. A snide comment from your mom or a friend asking you to join her on a new diet isn’t the right motivation. To beat cravings, the desire to trim down must come from within for long-lasting change. Don’t think about losing weight as a quick fix, but a progressive journey that changes alongside you and your body’s needs. Most importantly, try to pair weight loss — and the desire to curb snacking — as motivation with other goals, such as getting better sleep or becoming more physically active.
Think of how much you’ll save
A common misconception about eating healthy is that the dietary change would be more costly than the less healthy alternative. However, with proper meal planning, budgeting, and smart shopping, you can avoid overspending while still eating healthy. Meal planning for a week’s worth of food will save you more money than having junk food one meal at a time. Cravings are unpredictable, and one way to ensure they don’t sneak up on you is by having a set meal plan for the week or even the month.
Drink enough water and stay hydrated
Everyone’s cravings differ depending on various factors — from proximity to junk food to the availability of junk food in your home as you contemplate. But most cravings can be divided into two categories: the sweet and the savory. Scientifically, the reason you crave salty foods may be related to signs of dehydration. Our body needs to maintain a balance of electrolytes daily, including sodium. So if you find yourself craving something salty and don’t quite know why, do yourself a favor and drink more water. More than likely, your body needs it, and best case scenario, it calms down the cravings.
Be smart about rewards and punishment
Finally, as mentioned in our first tip, your cravings start in your mind. A slight change in mindset can nip those cravings in the bud before you get the chance to act on them. Instead of thinking of those cravings as a negative, try to frame them as a potential reward for completing a physical activity or trying a new healthy recipe. Living a much healthier life doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself at all times, and on bad days, we tend to give in to those cravings. Don’t punish yourself when that happens; instead, balance it with a healthy activity, like going for a jog after a fast food stint.