Junk food… pervasive, insidious… cunning. Whether you’re on the road to weight-loss, improving your fitness, or a healthy, more natural lifestyle, junk-food is a dangerous foe. It often masquerades as sensible snacks – granola bars, small chip or cracker packs, convenience meals – which are in fact packed with empty calories and un-pronounceable chemicals! You have a busy life, with a family, a career, and interests that (probably) don’t include cooking every meal you eat, but that doesn’t mean you’re not concerned about your diet. (Or your kids’ diet!) So what can you do?
Here are seven tactics for breaking the junk-food cycle. Not only are they guaranteed to help you combat the monster in the fridge, but if you instill these thought processes in your kids at a young age, they won’t grow up craving all the garbage currently plaguing our society!
1. Plan your meals for the week. If you know what you are going to be eating, it makes creating your grocery list a breeze, which eliminates the temptation to toss unnecessary items into the cart when you shop. If it’s not in the meal plan, it’s not going to get eaten, so why buy it? This is also a major money saver! Additionally, it takes the pressure off what to pack the kids for Thanh ly van phong tai Da Nang lunch, as well as the dreaded “What’s for dinner?!” Your meals are planned, so all you have to do is make them, saving you time and stress! You can even plan meals to be made ahead and frozen for convenience when schedules get hectic. (Note: Meal planning does not have to involve actual cooking! It could be frozen dinners, or salad, or sandwiches, or whatever!)
2. Go grocery shopping regularly, before you totally run out of food. Figure out how long your groceries last so that you can plan accordingly. If you go shopping before you are at the dregs of the cabinets (I’m sure the canned beets seemed like a good idea at the time), you won’t be tempted to grab fast-food out of desperation.
When you go grocery shopping:
3. Never go hungry. Have a real meal and at least one glass of water before you head out. If this is not possible, take a couple of healthy snacks (fruit, crackers, low-fat cheese) and a bottle of water with you in the car to eat on the way. If your stomach is growling, everything will look good, and your barriers of resistance to the junk-food siren song will be significantly weakened!
4. Try to leave the kids at home. Face it, this is not fun for them, and if it is, it’s probably for the wrong reasons. There’s nothing like 30-60 minutes of a whining toddler to get the fruit snacks tossed in the cart for the sake of silence, and do you really want to face the argument of why soda is one of the worst beverages ever with your teenager (again)? If you are by yourself, you are much more likely to stick to your list, which has the added benefit of getting you in and out much faster.
5. Don’t BUY junk-food. You can’t eat what you don’t have.
6. When you cook, cook more than you need. Leftovers can be a life saver! This is the absolute best way to have ready-to-grab lunches through the week, and the afore-mentioned frozen meals for weeks when things are too crazy to make a meal. For most things, it takes the same, or nearly the same amount of time to cook a double batch as a single. Making sandwiches? Make twice as many and shove them in baggies. Chicken? Bake a couple extra breasts and shred them for salad or pasta.
7. Track your calories. This can be life-changing. Without changing your eating habits, track your calories completely for one week. This is very simple to do with the assistance of any number of online diet trackers. Sparkpeople.com and Thedailyplate.com are two of the most popular free sites available, and both are very effective. If you’ve never done this, you will be shocked to discover what’s going in your mouth. 2000 calories is the old recommended standby for daily intake, but in fact, most people don’t need nearly that many. Wait till you see how many you’re eating!