Weight gain is more about what you eat, rather than how much you eat. Eating a couple of jelly filled donuts a day may not seem like a big deal, but when you consider each donut contains between 250 and 450 calories, you’ll be eating almost a half day of food for most people. Sadly, those two donuts don’t fill you up, since they have little fiber, so you’ll still feel hungry. When you cut out junk food, you not only cut out those high calories, you also leave calories for food with bulk that fills you up, not out.
What is junk food?
Most people have a vague idea of what junk food is and can probably identify at least three or four items in their diet that fits their description. The best definition is a high calorie food that has little or no nutritional value. While donuts may taste delicious, particularly fruit jelly donuts, that fruit in the jelly doesn’t have enough nutritional value to make it a healthy option. Not only is junk food high in calories, it’s often high in sugar. High sugar content spikes your blood sugar and increases insulin levels, which makes weight loss even harder.
Highly processed food is also junk food.
That sandwich made with white bread would be far healthier made with whole grains. While white bread isn’t the epitome of junk food, it isn’t exactly healthy either. It’s made with white bleached flour that has had all the nutrients removed in processing. Do you want a hot dog at lunch or some fries? There may be some nutrients and definitely more bulk than a donut, but you’ll still be getting loads of additives, a lot of fat and very few nutrients for the amount of calories you consume.
Not all snacks are junk food.
If love nuts, good news, nuts contain a lot of nutrients. They’re high in fiber, healthy fat and protein, so you’ll feel fuller longer. How about some popcorn? I’m not talking about theatre popcorn with butter dripping out of the bottom of the box. I’m talking air popped, maybe with a little seasoning for added flavor. Popcorn is a healthier option that is lower in calories and has plenty of fiber. If a sweet treat is in your future, make it fresh fruit. Your body will love you for your choices.
- Junk food is often food that’s convenient and ready to eat when you’re hungry. You can do the same with healthy food. Have melon cubed or grapes in a bowl in the refrigerator or make parfaits in jelly jars of Greek yogurt, chopped fruit and nuts.
- Have a grocery list and shop after a meal. It will help you avoid impulse buying and checking out a cartful of junk food.
- Plan your snacks ahead to ensure you don’t grab a candy bar at the checkout counter. Make mid-morning and afternoon snacks or take fresh fruit with you to work. If you’re prepared, you’ll be less likely to eat junk food.
- Junk food can include drinks. Soft drinks, fruit drinks and fancy coffee can pack on the pounds. Opt for black coffee, plain tea—particularly green tea for extra health benefits—or water.
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