If you’ve ever tasted packaged junk food (and who hasn’t) then you know just how addicting it can be. There’s a reason for this – the food companies actually formulate each bite for maximum craveability. This is done with a special tantalizing balance of sugar, fat and salt.
But while junk food tastes pleasing…it’s detrimental to your fat loss results.
Unclear on what exactly classifies as junk food? You’re not alone, especially these days as many junk foods are being deceptively marketed and packaged as healthy choices.
Here’s the checklist on what classifies something as junk food:
- Junk food has little to zero nutritional value
- Junk food is processed and packaged
- Junk food is high in sugar, fat and salt
- Junk food is high in calories
- Junk food is rarely eaten out of hunger
- Soda pop, convenience foods, packaged snacks, frozen treats…
4 Steps to Kill Junk Food Cravings
Picture the next 30 days of your life being 100% free of junk food. How would your results improve? How would you feel? How many empty calories would you save yourself from? Now let’s take some action!
Step #1: Clear Out the Junk
Step one is simple: get rid of all the junk food that you currently have in your home, office and car. Go through with a big garbage bag and toss anything that remotely resembles junk food. Remember, junk food is stuff that is high in empty calories.
Step #2: Stock Up on Healthy Snacks
Now you didn’t think I was going to let you starve, did you? Step two is where you go to the store and stock up on delicious, nutritious foods that will take the place of the junk food. Nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies, hard boiled eggs, meatballs, and hearty salads or burrito bowls (like the recipe below) are great items to have on hand. You’ll eat less of these healthy snacks, since these aren’t empty calories, but rather nutrient-filled calories that satiate.
Step #3: HALT!
When the next craving strikes you, tell yourself to HALT! This word is actually a handy acronym. Ask yourself, “Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?” If you’re hungry then reach for one of the healthy snacks from step two. If you’re angry, then explore the issue and seek resolution. If you are lonely, then reach out to a friend, instead of reaching for junk food. And if you are tired then make the time to grab a nap or get to bed early to catch up on sleep.
Step #4: Stick With It
The first day that you go without junk food will be the hardest day. The second day will be a smidge easier. The third day will be a smidge easier than the second…and so on. The fact is that your taste buds adjust to the foods that you exist on. When your diet is filled with junk foods then that is what your taste buds will crave, but as you shift to a diet that is filled with fresh, nutritious foods then your taste buds will forget all about that old junk food. Stick with it, one day at a time, and you will break free from the grip of junk food addiction.
When it comes to your diet, small and steady changes made in the long term will make the biggest impact on your fat loss goals. Take this fiesta bowl, for example. We’ve taken a traditional burrito bowl and have lightened it up by using quinoa instead of rice. Feel free to top this flavorful bowl with chicken or steak, if you’d prefer rather than tofu. Enjoy!
Here’s what you need…
- 1 (14oz) extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced
- ¼ cup BBQ sauce
- 2 cups red quinoa, cooked
- 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- ½ cup canned corn
- ¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a casserole pan with olive oil. Arrange the tofu slices in a single layer in the pan and bake for 30 minutes, flipping each slice halfway through. Cover the tofu with the BBQ sauce, turning each slice to coat each side. Bake for 15 more minutes. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine all of the remaining ingredients, and top with slices of the BBQ tofu. Enjoy!
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 266 calories, 4g fat, 67mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, and 15g protein