A staggering 1 in 6 children eat fast food twice a day in Britain while 57% of Americans admit to eating junk food at least once a week. We know that junk food isn't good for us, but most of the time we just can't help ourselves. Try our healthy food swaps to help you eliminate junk food from your diet and follow our tips to learn how to stop craving it.
Swap potato crisps for vegetable crisps
Crisps (or chips as the Americans call them) can be the downfall of many people. These salty snacks are always popular, and crisp brand giant Walkers produces an incredible 10 million packets of crisps every single day. However, the salt and fat content of this snack can be very high and they can cause unwanted health issues such as acne and weight gain.
Instead of reaching for a packet of crisps when you get the craving, reach for a packet of vegetable crisps instead. Brands like Emily Crisps produce delicious vegetable snacks which are just as tasty as your favourite crisps but instead will contribute to your five-a-day and will help you boost your vitamin and mineral intake for the day.
If you do get constant cravings for salty snacks, it could actually be because you're dehydrated or that you have an electrolyte imbalance. Before you give in to the craving, try drinking a glass of water and wait a while to see if the craving subsides.
Swap takeaway pizza for homemade pizza
Takeaway pizza is one of the nation's favourite and our consumption of takeaway pizza has grown by almost half since 2006. However, takeaway pizza contains a lot of added sugar and salt and an inordinate number of calories. Ever feel sluggish and bloated after eating a takeaway pizza? Try making your own!
By making your own pizza, you know exactly what has gone into it and you can even use it as an excuse to increase your vegetable intake by including things like peppers and spinach to make it even healthier.
If you are craving something carb-rich and starchy like pizza, it could mean you are suffering from a low mood or even depression. We tend to crave carbs when our body wants an energy boost, or even just when we are feeling cold, so try taking a hot bath to solve both of those problems at once by relaxing and warming your body.
Swap sweets for fruit
We all know that too much sugar is bad for us and that there is lots of added sugar in many of the foods we enjoy. However, sometimes you just feel like grabbing a bag of sweets (candy to our American cousins) and enjoying the flavour. When you want to grab a bag of sweets and release your inner child, try having some fruit instead. While it's true that fruit is still high in sugar, it contains far less than your average branded bag and you will benefit from the vitamins and minerals. Additionally, certain fruits like apples contain pectin which is a natural appetite suppressant, so you are less likely to continue on to a full-blown junk food binge.
If you constantly crave sugar, it could be because you're already eating too much and your body is becoming dependant upon it to release serotonin. Try cutting out foods which contain a lot of added sugar and beware of foods which seem healthy but actually aren't. By reducing the amount of sugar you have each day, your blood sugar level will have a chance to re-balance and you won't get so many severe cravings and mood swings due to blood sugar spikes and drops.
Swap donuts for energy balls
Our final healthy food swap is for donuts. These delicious sugar-laden snacks can be all too easy to overindulge upon and it's easy to see why. With their melt-in-the-mouth texture, the body doesn't have much of a chance to realise you're getting full, and so we tend to overeat and suffer the consequences. If you are partial to enjoying donuts, try swapping for energy balls instead. Brands like Boost Ball and The Protein Ball Co create delicious protein balls which are full of healthy, natural ingredients and will satisfy your cravings much better than donuts. Not only this, the high protein content will mean you're not left still feeling hungry after eating them!
If you're constantly craving melt-in-the-mouth foods, it could be because the food industry has geared it that way. Try to get out of the vicious cycle by quitting cold turkey, and adhering to the healthy food swaps outlined above.