By Angelica Bottaro

The body is what you fuel it with so when all you eat is unhealthy food full of sugar, salt, and starchy carbs, it’s basically the equivalent of putting low-grade petrol in your luxury vehicle. And who would do that? But…junk food is delicious! There’s no getting around that! Aggh!

However, knowing how to ease out of bad food habits can help you kick junk food to the curb once and for all. It’s all a matter of training your brain to not only enjoy healthy foods but crave them.

Research shows that when a person begins to eat healthier, their body will end up wanting healthy options over the junk food it usually longs for.

Planning Is Key

Nothing ever gets done without a solid plan. Eating healthily isn’t just going to happen because you want it to. You have to sit down and figure out how to do it. Before you implement the strategies for training your brain to hate junk food, you have to devise a plan on how to keep it out of your mouth. You can do this by creating a grocery list every time you go shopping and sticking to it. You’re more likely to keep to healthy foods if you aren’t wandering around the grocery store considering all the food options you have.

After you’ve bought all the healthy stuff, it’s good to incorporate a plan where you can indulge in something once a week. The “one fun thing a week” eating strategy will satiate your desire to eat something just for fun without going overboard.

Knowing Yourself Is Half The Battle

The psychological aspect of unhealthy eating may be overlooked a lot of the time, but it’s one that should be taken into account. After all, people don’t reach for unhealthy foods for no reasons. There’s always something driving that need. Stress eating is an excellent example of this.

Many people reach for the tub of ice cream or fried food when they’re experiencing negative emotions. For women particularly, stress can induce cravings for high fat and high carb meals or snacks. If you know your food triggers and what drives you to eat junk food, it will be a whole lot easier to avoid it.

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a term that’s been popping up everywhere because it’s a useful and foolproof tactic. Often, people find themselves munching away without taking a second to think about it at all. During mindful eating, you’re sitting down focused on the meal and taking each bite with intention.

While you do this, chew your food more than you usually would. This will help you eat less because it takes the brain 20 minutes to register its fullness. If you slow down, chew longer, and really focus on the task at hand, you’re far more likely to consume less than if you were just hand to mouthing in front of the TV. So even if you are eating junk food, you won’t be eating as much of it. 

Educate Yourself On What Junk Food Is All About

You want to know what’s going in your body! When you start to really look at all those extra ingredients, the shocking amounts of sugars, what they do to your body and the health repercussions, it will be a whole lot easier to pass up.

Essentially, you want to know so much about the junk you’re eating that the thought of putting it in your body will actually gross you out. What you don’t know could actually kill you when it comes to food, because it is what keeps our bodies at their best. So get educated, and your brain will be completely turned off junk food.

Mix Things Up

Another great way to train your brain to hate junk food is by shaking things up a bit. If your afternoon snack is always a sugary pastry, do something else at that time. If you mess up your routine, it will change what your brain craves at certain times.

After you’ve shaken the routine, you can begin adding in healthy snacks that you should have on hand at all times. Incorporate different healthy foods into snacks or meals. Research shows that eating has its own little rule of 3—3 different colours, textures, and types on the plate. Replace that afternoon candy bar with some nuts, a piece of dark chocolate, and a bit of fruit and voila! You have a healthy snack that satisfies the craving for sweet, salty, and delicious!

Breaking a habit isn’t easy, but it can be done if you take small steps and one day at a time. Cliché, I know, but it works. Eventually, your brain won’t even think about all that junk food anymore, and you’ll have developed a brand new habit that takes care of you for years to come.