A 17 year old girl, fitness enthusiast and dedicated Olympic style weightlifter and non-competitive Irish dancer. I'm determined to live a healthy lifestyle and take care of my body whilst influencing other young people to do so. I never doubt my ability to achieve something; I just change what I'm doing until I succeed.
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You may be the type of person who struggles to avoid unhealthy junk food or now and again becomes influenced to eat junk food whenever you’re trying to be healthy. If you aren’t sure how you can permanently cut back on junk food please continue reading. Junk food can become addictive and comforting but you’ll thank me later when you’re eating healthier and seeing the benefits good food can do.
What is junk food?
I view junk food as any food which doesn’t make you feel good about yourself and anything that’s addictive. Some examples could be chocolate, sweets, crisps, ice cream, cake, takeaway, pizza, chips, and fried food. If you aren’t sure whether a food is healthy or not, take a look at the sugar contents and the main ingredients as it’s not always about calories. I’m not saying to try and avoid sugar at all costs as you’re bound to find sugar in the majority of food, but you should try to limit your sugar content. Examples of what you don’t want to see in the food ingredient lists are: A sugar content higher than 10 grams, artificial colours and flavourings, large lists of unfamiliar ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, high contents of sugar, saturated fats and trans fats.
Before your plan
In order to truly battle your addiction to junk food, creating a plan of what you are going to eat will motivate you to continue eating healthy. Before sticking to any plans, you should create a food diary of what you’re eating every day for a couple of weeks. You might not be eating as unhealthy as you think, there’s no need to cut back on things which are good for you. Once you’ve recorded what you eat, you’ll need to create quite a few lists. The first list should be of foods which you should eat not very often or as a treat, this can include ones you’ve been eating regularly or not at all. The second list should include healthy foods which you can continue eating. The third list should include foods which you want to try, and replacements for unhealthy foods, the third list can be used when you need to purchase different types of food. This also gives you a chance to try new foods which you may not have tried before, why not try cooking some new and healthy meals?
Creating a plan
Here’s an example of how you can create a healthy plan by using the lists you’ve made. Write out the days of the week from Monday to Sunday followed by four boxes saying Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks. For each meal, you could write two options per day which will give you a choice of what you could eat that week. Therefore, if you aren’t in the mood for something, you can choose the other option or eat something else. Because you’ll be buying food weekly, making different varieties of healthy food won’t be difficult if you purchase the right ingredients.
Some replacements for sugary breakfast cereals could be bagels, fruit, porridge oats, greek yogurt, almonds, raisins, egg, protein pancakes, granola, avocado on toast, and plain non-sugary cereals such as Weetabix.
Some replacements for a unhealthy lunch (processed ham sandwich, crisps and chocolate) could be a chicken and lettuce brown bread sandwich with fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds or healthy trail mix.
Some replacements for a greasy takeaway dinner could be fish with brown rice, grilled vegetables with chicken, stuffed avocado, chicken and vegetable pasta, an omelette and more! Ideas for healthy snack replacements can be nuts, seeds, fruit, veg sticks with dip, dried fruit, popcorn, pretzels, cheese and crackers. Remember you don’t have to stick to these ideas, go ahead and create your own personal plan.
I sincerely hope that my ideas and useful tips on how to create a healthy eating plan has helped you to become inspired to eat better. Remember that you can pick a day a week which you can eat some unhealthy foods (unless you don't want to) just make sure you don't binge as it will become more difficult to eat healthy again. Fruit and veg are my personal favourites when it comes to eating healthy; I always make sure I eat between 5 and 7 portions per day. It will be difficult at first, so don't give up and remember that its not about losing weight but mainly eating healthier so our bodies can grow stronger.