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How to Resist the Temptation of Junk Food

Ah, it’s the end of a long week, and you’ve had a rough day. It’s tempting to stop by the supermarket, grab your favourite snacks, and give up on the healthy ingredients in the fridge waiting to be cooked… Is that the best decision though? How can we avoid the temptation of sugar and those persistent cravings?

If you’re focused on eating healthy foods and turning cheat days into single cheat meals, you’ll know that the odd craving doesn’t really go away. You can start by drinking water and checking in with yourself. Are you actually hungry, or are you just stressed or bored? Sometimes your emotions can confuse you into thinking you’re hungry when you might just need some water and time to decompress.

You can also plan your meals for the day or week. Coming home to a meal that you’ve already made takes the pressure off to have to cook, and you’ll be able to alternate what you eat each day. And when you do eat, focus on having foods with lots of protein, as it makes you feel fuller, and if you’re working out, it’ll help you build muscle too.

Substitute junk food for healthier alternatives. If you want a burger or pizza, try to make it yourself, that way you’ll control every part of the meal, from the ingredients to the preparation, and you will know exactly what you’re eating. If you want ice cream or a dessert, go for fruit. The natural sugars in fruit are far less harmful than added and hidden sugars in desserts, and have tons of vitamins and minerals that will satiate your sweet tooth without leaving you feeling sluggish after.

Speaking of controlling the ingredients, pick foods and drinks that you can sweeten and season yourself. And if your cravings are really consistent, avoid the junk food when you go shopping – out of sight, out of mind after all. You’ll be less tempted if you don’t have the food or snacks in your immediate reach.

And of course, get plenty of sleep. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours a night, and if you’re not getting enough sleep you’ll find yourself craving foods that could give you an energy boost.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have the occasional treat, but it does mean that not every craving is actually worth giving in to. You have to listen to your body and recognise when you need to exercise self-control to beat cravings. If you want some chocolate, maybe melt it down and have it with strawberries, or pick a low to no sugar option to satisfy the craving while still being healthy.

Sources:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/healthyliving/healthy-eating

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/how-to-stop-eating-junk-food  

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-break-the-sugar-habit-and-help-your-health-in-the-process