How To Replace The Junk Food In Your Kitchen
For many of us, it’s pretty easy to open our cabinets and find tons of junk food. It accumulates in refrigerators, freezers, drawers, and everyone else in the kitchen. And it’s no surprise, either; junk food is cheap and delicious, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a lot easier to eat a bag of chips than a bag of carrots, but it really is terrible for your health.
Instead of buying more sugary, processed, and unhealthy food, here are some ways to break that habit and start replacing all that junk with stuff that’s actually good for you!
Step 1: Throw Out The Worst Stuff
While this is probably the simplest step, it can be one of the hardest. Especially if you’ve just bought a bunch of food and snacks that you know are bad, it can feel like flushing money down the toilet to throw them all away. However, you’ll be thanking yourself for it in the end!
Go through your fridge, freezer, and all your cabinets and throw away stuff that you know is terrible for you. This includes foods with a ton of sugar or sodium, such as ice cream, soda, candy, processed chips, and other foods that are very obviously unhealthy. It’s okay if there’s some stuff that you’re not sure about; just focus on the stuff that you know for a fact is unhealthy junk and get rid of it ASAP!
Step 2: Change The Way You Grocery Shop
Grocery shopping can quickly become a routine that we don’t even think about; we just buy the same stuff every time without putting much thought into what we’re really buying. Next time you go shopping for groceries—which will probably be soon since you’ve likely just thrown out a bunch of food—have specific, healthy items in mind to buy.
Look up some healthy recipes beforehand and make sure to get the ingredients to make those meals. Also, buy fruits and veggies instead of unhealthy snacks like chips and cookies; if you only have the option of healthy food in the house, you’ll have no choice but to eat it!
Another pro tip is to stick to the edges of the grocery store when shopping; most grocery stores are laid out with the unhealthy foods more in the middle of the store where all the aisles are. Produce, dairy, and other healthier options are usually around the edges of the shop!
Step 3: Educate Yourself
This will come in handy when you’re grocery shopping, but being educated on which foods are healthy and which foods aren’t will make it a lot easier to replace your junk food and choose better alternatives. It’s when you don’t know if something is bad for you, so reading nutrition labels and doing research on what to buy is an important part of this whole process.
Step 4: Find Healthier Savory Options
When you’re in the mood for a savory snack and you’re craving Doritos or Cheetos, resist the temptation and opt for some healthier alternatives instead! Here are some savory snacks that will help with those cravings:
- Unroasted and unsalted nut mixes, such as peanuts, almonds, and cashews
- Air-popped popcorn (with a sprinkle of sea salt)
- Whole wheat tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole
- Pretzels and hummus
- Carrots and dip, such as a hummus or veggie ranch
- Turkey jerky
While you might be thinking that these snacks just aren’t the same as your favorite brand of chips, they’re much better for you and over time, you’ll enjoy these snacks just as much as any kind of chip!
Step 5: Find Healthier Sweet Options
Instead of reaching for that tub of ice cream or bag of candy at night, try out some healthier snacks to curb that sweet tooth craving. Here are some delicious ideas for you to try out:
- Greek yogurt with honey and berries
- Dried fruits, such as figs, raisins, dates, and dried cranberries
- Frozen grapes
- Dark chocolate, or dark chocolate-covered fruits (i.e., banana slices, strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
And if ice cream is your main craving, try a healthy alternative recipe instead! Simply freeze a few cups of sliced bananas overnight, and then place them in a food processor when you’re struggling to combat that ice cream craving. You’ll end up with a yummy, banana soft serve! To make it taste even better, add any of the following ingredients into the food processor with the frozen bananas:
- Cocoa Powder
- Vanilla Extract
- Peanut Butter
- Almond Butter
This is a way healthier option than a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and much like the savory options, you’ll likely find that after a while, you enjoy these sweet treats more than all those processed goods.
Step 6: Start Your Day Off On The Right Foot
One of the main reasons we tend to crave junk food, especially later in the day and at night, is because we don’t often eat a hearty and healthy meal at the beginning of the day. Starting your day off right with a good breakfast and a healthy, mid-morning snack is a crucial part of setting yourself up for success throughout the rest of the day.
Yogurt with granola and fruit is great thing to eat either early in the morning, or a but before lunch. It’s light but filling, and it provides you with a lot of the essential nutrients needed to kickstart your mind and body.
Step 7: Everything In Moderation
Even if you’ve found some healthy alternatives to your favorite junk food, remember that everything should be enjoyed in moderation. Too much fruit isn’t good for you, just like too much candy isn’t good for you, either! Take it slow and follow the suggested serving size for everything you consume.
Replacing all the junk food in your kitchen is a long process, so be kind to yourself and learn as you go through each step. Start with the basics and work yourself up to being at a place where junk food doesn’t find its way into your home anymore, and someday you’ll be thankful for all the changes your made to your diet!