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Eating healthy need not be boring. Did you know there are several healthy alternatives to junk food? The name says it loud and clear, because junk food needs to be trashed and replaced with better, healthier, and sustainable lifestyle choices.
Here are some simple and interesting ways to eliminate junk food from your diet:
You can simply plan your meals a day in advance, which will go a long way in helping you eliminate junk. Since junk food is easy to access and doesn’t involve planning, it quickly becomes the ‘easy’ choice. With a few mindful changes, you will be able to transform things within your house, giving you less scope to cheat. I believe food is medicine, and we owe it to our body to nourish it with nutrient-packed food.
It is just about being innovative and eating mindfully. Choosing to eat whole foods, mostly plant-based, and the least out of a bag or packed containers is an easy start. Eat a rainbow, which means that the easiest way to get all nutrients and vitamins is to eat fruits and vegetables of all varieties, such as green leaves, carrots, beetroot, berries, eggplants and more.
Bake kale chips or lotus-stem chips at home with your favourite flavour, instead of eating a store-bought pack of potato chips.
Carry nuts and seeds in your bag to snack on, instead of impulse buys. Develop a taste for sparkling water with lemon, ginger juice, mint or berries, instead of aerated or fizzy beverages. Keep ginger lemon tea concentrate refrigerated. Mix with some soda, date paste, fresh lemon, salt and enjoy!
Most often, we mistake thirst for hunger. So, the next time, whenever you think you are hungry between meals, pause and drink some water first. This is because thirst signals to the brain are usually very weak, and can be misinterpreted as hunger. Be quick to reverse it.
Yes it’s true, refined sugar has absolutely no nutritional value and causes the insulin levels in your body to skyrocket. You can replace your sugar cravings intelligently with homemade date paste. Just soak them in warm water, and then blend it all. This makes it a healthy alternative, since dates have a low glycemic index and are packed with antioxidants.
Try creating homemade energy truffle balls made with cacao, nut butter, coconut flour and date paste; you can keep them refrigerated for weeks. This will help you manage the sweet cravings.
You can also have a bowl of berries with unsweetened nut butter. Berries are loaded with antioxidants and boost brain function. All the ice-cream lovers out there need not worry either; a good alternative is homemade frozen yoghurt, which can simply be made by mixing some date paste, berries and nuts in yoghurt, and then simply freezing it.
Another clean and healthy dessert is overnight-soaked chia pudding that can be made with various flavours.
Try attempting to do 16 hours of intermittent fasting, a few times a week, as it gives our digestive system a healthy break. Fasting is a great way to improve focus. We look forward to having an entire plate of healthy, nutrient-filled foods, as opposed to binging on something unhealthy. It disciplines us to eat mindfully, centres our minds, and forces us to stop snacking.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern, where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It also helps to blood sugar levels, improves brain function, and kills harmful cell growth, thereby offering protection from Alzheimer’s, cancer and many other illnesses
The easiest test to perform is the ‘ingredients test’. Read the ingredients and, if more than a couple of them sound gibberish or like a tongue-twister, don’t buy them at all.
Depriving yourself of sleep or staying up late can wreak havoc on the normal functions of the body, and cause urges that make you eat junk and sugary foods more often. It is rightly said sleeping well can rejuvenate your life, and help you avoid urges to eat junk food. It will also lead to a healthy and more balanced life.
A good night’s sleep keeps our cortisol levels in check, and can also help reduce and ease stress, which is another factor associated with eating disorders.
Mindless bingeing and loading up on junk decreases the serotonin production in your body, which often increases cravings and can result in low self-esteem as well. Keeping the gut clean, eating mindfully and changing your palate to nutrient-dense whole foods along with good sleep, low stress levels, and positive conversations and relationships is the secret for a happy mind, body, soul and life.