kid at farmers market

Junk food is food that contains little to no nutritional value and is often high in fat, calories, sodium, and sugar. Fast food is also considered junk food. Is your family full of junk food fanatics? Get them to kick the habit. Going junk free won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

Kicking the Habit
You can quit junk food either by going fast quit or slowly weaning yourself off. If you decide to go fast quit, the first step is to clean out your pantry, refrigerator, freezer, and any other place food is stored. Throw away opened packages and place any unopened products in a bag to be donated to a local food shelter. Getting rid of all the junk food in the house will eliminate temptations to indulge.

Weaning yourself and your family off junk food is a slow process. Previously purchased junk food can be eaten until it's gone, but no new junk food is allowed in the house after that. Next, stop frequent trips to fast food shops. How you'll decrease these trips will depend on how often you normally go. Let's say you eat at a fast food shop three times a week. The next week, only go two times, and continue to decrease the number of trips each week until you reach zero.

Replacing the Junk
Think of the reasons why you like certain junk food items. Is it the crunch? Do you crave salty foods? Do you like a sweet taste? The key to successfully eliminating junk food is to replace it with other, healthier foods that satisfy the taste buds. Here are some alternatives to some common junk foods.

  • Junk Foods: Chips and other salty, crunchy snacks; Healthy Alternatives: Vegetables with Curd, air popped popcorn with minimal salt, pretzels and humus or peanut butter, a serving of nuts 
  • Junk Foods: Sweet treats, like cookies and cakes; Healthy Alternatives: Angel food cake with fruit, granola bars, fruit and curd topped with granola 
  • Junk Foods: Ice cream and other frozen treats; Healthy Alternatives: Homemade fruit popsicles and smoothies made with curd and fruit



Basics of Grocery Shopping
Your first few trips to the grocery store might take a bit longer than usual. Take the time to read ingredients on packages before putting them into your basket. Stay away from food high in saturated and trans fats and loaded with sugar or sodium. Retrain yourself with a new route around the store so you don't end up heading to the same junk-food ridden passages. To do this, picture your local grocery store and where the food is placed. Produce, dairy, meat, and poultry are usually kept along the perimeter of the store, while processed food is usually located in the center passages and by the checkout. Shopping alongside the perimeter of the store will make it easier to fill your cart with healthy foods. To change it up, try shopping at the farmer's market, where local produce can be purchased without the temptations of junk food. To keep within your budget, purchase produce that's in season. Out of season items have to travel farther and usually cost more than locally grown produce.

All in Moderation
The key to staying on the right track is to remember that healthy eating is a lifestyle change. To stick with eating healthy on a daily basis, you may need to indulge once in a while. Pick a favourite treat each week and allow yourself to eat it on the weekend. This gives you something to look forward to during the week when you're tempted to go off track.