Even if you’ve chosen a healthier plant-based diet, you probably, like many of us, still love junk food because, frankly, it tastes darn good. But sometimes, you hate it because the high calorie, fat, and sugar content of that bag of vegan “cheese” puffs can often go straight to the hips.
This love-hate relationship between those “cheese” puffs, and pretty much every type of junk food, is one that might be hard for you to break up with. Letting go is hard! So, then, how can you overcome this addicting relationship and unlearn a habit you may have formed so long ago?
Well, for one, clear out that pantry and raid the fridge for any junk food in your kitchen. It’s hard to break up with junk food when it’s teasing you with its delicious “cheesy” crunch. Second, examine the timing and location of your tendency to indulge in junk food habits. Are you sneaking in a bag of chips during a 3 p.m. slump at work? Are you finding yourself checking the fridge during the night for some chocolate pudding perhaps?
Once you’ve identified why it is you eat a certain junk food or unhealthy snack, you’ll be able to change it. Say you feel compelled to eat those greasy vending machine chips during the work day because you’re exhausted at 3 p.m. and you’ve used your brain all day — you just want some fuel to finish your work strong. Well, a bag of chips isn’t going to cut it. You’ll need a fuel that will actually give your brain the right jumpstart to finish your tasks right. Ask yourself: what did you have for lunch? That could also play a factor into how you feel for the rest of the day. Did your lunch have enough fiber (which can keep you fuller longer)? How much protein did you include? Ask yourself these questions, and you may figure out some changes you need to implement to your lunch plan to keep you satisfied long beyond the 3 p.m. slump.
Next, implement replacements when you’re feeling a bit hungry. Here are a few common junk foods many people like to indulge in (even in their vegan form) and their healthier, more nutritious counterparts you can make yourself, saving on extra ingredients and perhaps a little bit of money, too:
Remember those nights before a big exam, where you stayed up and pulled an all-night cram session? You probably got hungry during those times and opted for a well-known college staple: ramen noodles. It’s cheap and the perfect choice for sleep-deprived students. Well, that was then. And this is now:
2. Vegan Ice Cream
Vegan ice cream, especially the one’s you buy at the store, are not necessarily the healthiest. Just because the word “Vegan” might be plastered on the box, does not make it healthy. In substitution for ice cream, try this instead:
I know…I know. It’s hard to break up with a convenient, tasty bag of chips. But, you must if you want to improve your diet, even if it’s labeled “vegan chips.” These Sour Cream and Onion Kale “Chips” are an excellent alternative. So, the next time you crave the greasy, salty bag of don’t-even-go-there, swap out the thought of it with this:
O.K., let’s put away that bag of candy that offers a “taste of the rainbow.” Now, let’s opt for something healthier, like the following:
5. French Fries
Here’s a major, addicting junk food that vegans love to hate. Not to say there’s anything wrong with eating a side of fries every once in awhile, but let’s stick to something a bit healthier — if you find yourself eating fries every other day, like this:
If you opt to make many of these dishes on your own, you’ll save on those extra ingredients that may be present even in plant-based snack foods. In the majority of cases, something homemade is better than its packaged counterpart! Also, be sure to remember the tips provided earlier in this post. These should help you to cut down on your need for the snacky stuff to begin with. Breaking up is hard to do, but with a little bit of planning and a little of your own time spent in the kitchen, you, too, can leave behind those packaged vegan junk food goodies and replace them with healthier counterparts and daily eating habits.
Lead image source: Crunchy Raw Vegan Protein Balls