Almost everyone knows that eating whole foods is healthier than eating processed foods. But with your busy and tiring lifestyle, you can end up relying on processed food as part of your daily diet. Stopping by a convenience store, dropping some change in a vending machine or just ordering takeout from a fast food chain can be tempting. However, you should know that a diet with large quantities of processed foods has its risks. Even with all these threats, people still have difficulties in cutting out processed foods out of their lives. Gladly, we have gathered the critical tips on cutting out processed foods for a healthy living just for you.
1.Keep a Food Journal
For a week, try to record every single food that you eat. This will help you gain insight into why you’re choosing to eat processed foods and your processed food eating habits. Maybe you ate processed food because you were too tired to cook, or your favorite fast food chain is near where you live.
Make sure to jot down:
- What you ate
- The size of the proportion (how many servings)
- The nutritional value
- The time you ate
- What you were feeling before you ate
- Where you ate
2.List all your favorite processed foods
If you’ve identified your favorite processed foods, it would be easier for you to know what foods to avoid. You can manage your cravings for them and plan for a healthier alternative.
After you’ve listed down your favorite processed foods, go to your kitchen and food storage spaces and remove them. If they’re not within your reach, it would be easier for you to avoid them.
3.Manage your stress
Have you ever noticed that when you get stressed, you tend to eat more junk? It’s normal to crave comfort food when you’re feeling down or upset. However, you can choose to eat something healthier.
You can figure out which emotions can trigger you to crave processed foods and plan on what activities you can do instead of eating.
4.Pump up your routine
If you’ve noticed that you keep eating junk during specific activities, try to change those actions. For example, if you tend to stop by a vending machine during your break at work, why don’t you go walking up and down the stairs instead? This exercise will not only help you avoid the processed food but will also help you stretch your muscles.
5. Swap for something healthier
If you can’t avoid eating processed food, try looking for a healthier substitute. For example, if you crave something sweet, instead of eating milk chocolate, eat dark chocolate.
Choosing to eat healthy doesn’t mean that you should ignore your cravings; it just means that you only need to pick something better.
6. Make a meal plan
If you want to avoid eating junk, plan out in advance what you should eat. Plan out what would eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even your snacks. Don’t go for three big meals, but choose to eat six small meals a day, which will help prevent your body from craving.
If you’re too busy to keep cooking every day, you can prepare them during the weekends and freeze them. This way, you can reheat them when you want to eat them.
7. Choose healthier restaurants
Every once in a while you’d go eat out with family or friends, and even if this could be a time for indulgence, you should pick out healthier choices. Instead of picking out deep-fried or battered foods high in added sugars or sodium, try ordering something grilled, a fresh salad, soup, vegetables or fruits.
8. Shop regularly
- Avoid shopping when you’re hungry
- Try to stick to fresh produce aisles
- Shop in farmer markets
- Avoid canned goods as much as possible
- Pick out whole foods
9.Prepare healthy food and snacks
Always include vegetable and fruits in your every meal. If you love eating meat, go for steamed, grilled or broiled and pair it with veggies and a slice of fruit or two. If you like to munch something at work, you can try carrot sticks with a tahini dip or celery sticks with peanut butter.
10.Eat your favorites in moderation
You may think that to avoid processed foods you have to wipe them out completely; this is not necessary. You can still eat your favorite processed food every once a while, just learn to eat them in moderation. You can eat your favorite dessert once a week, or have a little piece of your favorite candy once in every three days.
Cutting down your processed foods consumption is a move that you won’t ever regret. Going healthy doesn’t have to be hard especially when it comes to your family’s health, you just need to be motivated and willing. You don’t have to spend a lot of time and money, just follow the tips above and you’re good to go. There could be no more reasons for you, no matter how busy you are. No one can be too busy for healthy living.
About the Author
Jessica is a professional health expert who works for some major health industry giants. She currently writes for Membersown and is dedicated to helping people learn more about health related topics along the journey. When she’s not a health advocate, she enjoys some down time traveling or talking with family.
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