Reading Time: 5 minutes
So many people easily fall prey to the allure of the sweet and easy-to-find junk foods. Unfortunately, once you get started on this path it becomes quite difficult to stop. Some people will even tell you that junk food is addictive due to the sugars in it. Either way, if you are eating too much junk food, it can ruin your health and expose you to risks such as obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes , and many others. Whether you simply want to eat a little bit healthier or want to start a weight loss management program, the tips below will help you to eat less junk food and more protein. While we are not recommending a diet which can be considered very high in protein, we do aim to educate people that there current diet may consist of insufficient protein sources. In most cases a normal, modern diet will contain too much sugar and poor fats, while neglecting protein and good fats. We will aim to reverse that trend and promote a balanced diet, with the correct ratio of protein, fats and carbs, this simple change will go a long way to making correct food choices and assist with weight management and even weight loss.
Learn to cook delicious, balanced, protein rich diet meals
If you are eating too much junk food, chances are that you rarely prepare your own meals. Cooking your own balanced diet meals will not only get you to eat less junk food, it will allow you to consume more proteins. Foods rich in protein include meats (beef, mutton, chicken, fish), dairy products (cheese, butter, ghee, milk, yogurt), and legumes, e.g. beans.
It’s simple really. Start by preparing healthy meals consisting of a portion of meat, 2 – 3, or more portions of vegetables. Make them simple and easy to prepare, grill the meat in a little oil or butter (less than a teaspoon, or 5ml) brush it over the meat before putting it on the grill or broiler. This is by far the easiest method, add a little salt and pepper for flavor.
While the meat cooks steam some vegetables. Spinach, peas, carrots, broccoli, bell peppers and onions are all a great choice for a simple meal. Each is full of flavor and packed with vitamins. They just need to be steamed long enough so they are a little tender, they will stay crunchy and fresh tasting. Once everything is done plate it up and enjoy. The vegetables and meat will retain their own flavor so you shouldn’t need any high calorie sauces or anything, but if you do need an extra flavor then you can make this simple dressing:
- 1 Spoon of vinegar – This can be any type of vinegar, rice wine, apple cider vinegar, citrus juice (lemon, lime or orange). You can even use Mustard or pureed fruit! Any thing with a high acid content and pleasant flavor is a great choice.
- 3 Spoons of oil – simple extra virgin olive oil, or nut oil (walnut, hazelnut etc), sesame oil, butter, or avocado! Just mash a bit of avocado into the vinegar and make a smooth creamy dressing.
- Add a flavor (optional) dressings can be flavored with almost anything, just remember that the oil and vinegar will have their own flavor – so avoid mixing too many flavors if you use strong smelling oils and vinegar. Salt, pepper, chilli flakes are an easy option. Soy sauce, ginger, grated lime add an asian kick. Just add your favorite flavor to taste.
- This will be enough to make 2 servings, so go sparingly on your meal. A little goes a long way.
Once you have mastered this simple and healthy dish progress to full meals. The trick is to ensure that your meal contains 30% protein/meat and 70% vegetables. For example, you can prepare fried chicken, served with mashed potatoes and spinach on the side. Another example is rice served with beef stew and kale on the side. Once you get the hang of it, it gets very easy. Start by cooking your own meals 3 days a week and see how it goes.
Replace junk snacks with fruit snacks
If you eat too much junk food, you may also snack a lot. This could possibly be because you’re not eating healthy meals that provide you with enough energy in the first place. Or you could be snacking too much due to stress. In essence, snacking is not a crime. The problem is snacking on junk foods such as cakes and chocolates which are high in sugar and the wrong types fat. Instead, start snacking on fruits, nuts and vegetable. Fruits and veg are very nutritious and are loaded with vitamins that help your body function and help fight off diseases. Some of the favorites you can carry and snack on include apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, pears, and berries. Nuts such as peanuts, cashew nuts, and almonds are especially high in proteins, but also good fats. Fruit and nuts can be high in calories, so do not go over the top. Just a small handful once or twice a day is more than enough.
Carry your own lunch to work
One of the many reasons why people eat junk food a lot is because they do not have a healthy meal to eat at work. They then opt for easy junk food that is cheap, tasty, and readily available. To ward off this temptation, carry your own healthy meals to work. An example of a healthy packed lunch is a salad and a fruit, possibly an apple or a banana. You can also throw in a packet of milk or yogurt for extra protein.
If may be easier to cook a meal in the evening and make a double portion, packing one for work the next day.
Start counting your calories
You have probably heard of calorie-counting before. Basically, anything you eat contains a certain amount of calories. On average, men are supposed to consume 2500 calories a day while women only need 2000 calories. If you exceed this limit, the excess calories will be stored in the body as fat. Junk foods are notorious for having way too many calories. If you start counting calories, the plan should be to ensure that you do not exceed the recommended daily limit – because you do not have to. You can read food labels and search online to see what amount of calories each food contains. You don’t have to get calorie-counting down to an exact science. Just start and keep tracking the calorie content of anything you eat.
Make better food choices when eating out
It is unavoidable that you will have to eat out. When you do, ensure to eat healthy meals. Avoid fast food joints that serve burgers, pizzas, and fried foods. Instead, frequent establishments that serve proper healthy meals. As mentioned earlier, ensure your meals contain 30% meat/protein and the rest vegetables. Try to get extra vegetables as a side dish rather than fries. And remember that dressings and sauces tend to be very high calorie, so try to eat them sparingly. Desserts will be tempting and often take the blame for destroying a diet. However, what we aim to achieve is a balanced diet. If the rest of your diet is balanced and is made up of fresh meat and vegetables then there is no reason why an occasional dessert treat couldn’t be permitted.
Lastly, think about starting an exercise regimen. Exercise will help you burn some of those calories that you have accumulated eating junk foods. Exercising will also help you build some muscle and tone up a bit. You do not have to get into any of the hardcore stuff. Start easy with exercises such as swimming, aerobics, jogging, taking long walks, cycling or skipping rope. Once you hone these, get into more intense stuff such as running, lifting weights, and targeted exercises such as crunches, squats, push-ups, etc.
Note: – This article guest posted by Northern Irish-born Claire Jackson. She works as an adviser for Motivation.ie where she uses her expertise and experience with weight loss to help clients who want to embrace their new shape and size with the correct clothing. Claire has featured on local television and radio discussing various elements of the unique Motivation Weight Management program and how it works.Want to submit a guest post? Read HealthResource4u guest submission guidelines.