The American diet has become saturated with junk food. Junk food includes soda, candy and anything ultra-processed and even includes fast foods. Unfortunately, junk foods are detrimental to our health.
Junk food consumption has been linked to depression, digestive issues, heart disease, obesity and cancer. Junk food also raises inflammation in the body. Here are some tips for moving away from that junk food in your diet and making healthier food choices.
Swap out the bad for the good
Take an inventory of your pantry items. If it's loaded with ultra-processed goodies, try removing these temptations and replacing them with fresh fruits and protein packed nuts. Having healthy options available for snacking will help reduce the impulse to select junk food.
Prepare some good home-cooked meals
Reduce your reliance on ultra-processed foods by prepping meals and snacks at home. This can help to ensure you have a greater intake of fresh fruits and vegetables while helping you monitor your sugar and salt intake. Baking food dishes from scratch can help you save money if you tend to eat out a lot.
Pack a punch with protein
If you want to nip that junk food craving, try boosting your protein intake. Restricting your carbs consistently can decrease your cravings for sweets as well as fast food. Feelings of hunger are also reduced when following a high protein diet.
Don't be restrictive
Starting restrictive fad diets can actually harm your health as well as affect your relationship with food. Restrictive diets can lead to yo-yo dieting, which has been found to lead to high blood pressure and increased risk of diabetes. Putting parameters on what foods you can eat and deeming foods to be"off limits" can have the opposite effect of increasing your cravings for that particular food. This can then create cycles of overeating.
While occasionally indulging in that favorite junk food is fine, making healthier food choices on a daily basis will help to reduce your cravings, and inflammation and put you on a healthier path.