Consumption of calorie-rich, fatty and sugary foods have become popular among people today - especially the younger generation. The binge-eating culture, too, has gained popularity. Cravings for unhealthy food are at an all-time high. However, we must understand these have a negative impact on long-term health. Unhealthy or junk foods are laden with saturated fats, high sodium and sugar content which make us more prone to health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity etc. Adding to the problem, these foods are made in such a way that can stimulate the feel-good centres in our brain triggering us to eat even more. The urge for eating unhealthy food is caused by several reasons such as stress, emotional eating and food euphoria. Another reason behind this is its availability at our convenience.
The first step to eating healthy is to remove all the cues that can lead to eating junk. Besides, having a healthy meal plan and stocking our kitchen pantry with healthy snack options can prove to be beneficial.
Here are three food alternatives to junk food cravings:
Almonds are healthy and tasty and can be eaten raw, soaked or roasted. They are very convenient to carry and store in the house. Undoubtedly, they make for a healthy snacking choice. Almonds are low on the glycemic index and contain nutrients like fiber, good fats, vitamin E and minerals like magnesium and potassium. Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) has been shown to impart anti-ageing properties that may benefit skin health. A recently conducted research by University of Leeds, focused on the influence of almonds on appetite control, established how almonds can be beneficial for weight management. The results indicate that snacking on almonds also led to suppressed unconscious desire ("implicit wanting") to consume other high-fat foods, which is great for anyone trying to control their weight. Almonds are a good dupe for your sweet or savoury craving.
2. Fresh fruits
Fresh fruits like berries, bananas and apples are good alternatives to junk food. They are packed with essential nutrients, fiber and antioxidants that make a good addition to our diet. Berries are high in fiber and contain less sugar. On the other hand, bananas serve as a rich source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, dietary fiber and potassium. Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants, like vitamin E, and polyphenols that contribute to the fruit's numerous health benefits.
Plain yoghurt is a great source of protein and calcium beneficial for our bones and muscles. It also contains vitamin B complex, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium making it a great addition to our diet. In addition to this, given its probiotic bacteria content, yoghurt is also good for gut health. Eating yoghurt improves metabolism and provides a feeling of satiety thereby, making it a great substitute for our junk food cravings.
About The Author: Ritika Samaddar is the Regional Head-Dietetics in Max Healthcare – Delhi
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