how to stop eating junk food

How to Stop Eating Junk Food: Practical Tips

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with junk food. We love it because it is delicious and it feels so good to eat it. But on the other hand, we also hate it because it is unhealthy and can make us feel totally blah and out of control. Still, many of us don’t know how to stop eating junk food.

Personally, my self control comes and goes when it comes to junk food. Holidays, hormone fluctuations, and just plain boredom seem to be my biggest triggers. And I know I’m not alone with these!

Today, I am bring you a few practical tips on how to give up your bad habit of consuming junk food (at least 80% of the time anyways- that’s what I strive for because no one is perfect!). But before we would jump right into it, let’s see why it is so difficult to stop eating it, and why you should avoid highly processed and nutrient-poor fast foods.

The reason why you crave junk food

Have you ever wondered why is it so difficult to stop eating junk food? It is because these foods are highly addictive. Manufacturers create foods to give you pleasure: they have a combination of sugar, salt, and specially designed flavors that are hard to resist. All these components make you crave junk foods and that’s why you can’t stop eating them (it’s so hard to have “just one”!)

Related read: How To Reduce Sugar Cravings For Good

Why you should give up eating unhealthy foods

As you’re probably aware, eating junk food regularly is not healthy. They contain a lot of sugar, salt, saturated fat, and a lot of calories, while they are also low in nutrients, such as vitamins, fibers, and minerals.

Plus, consuming fast food and sweets can lead to a higher risk of obesity and several chronic diseases, for example, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. If you would like to avoid these negative health effects, you should limit junk food in your diet as much as you can.

how to stop eating junk food

How to stop eating junk food

Now that you understand why junk food is bad for your health, it’s time to see some practical tips on how to stop eating junk food. I can’t say that it will be easy and you won’t eat any fast food or sweet desserts anymore but these ideas will definitely help you eliminate these unhealthy foods from your diet. They’ve helped me a ton!

Plan your meals

Planning and preparing your meals in advance is an effective way to swap junk food for something more healthy. When you create a weekly or monthly meal planner, try to choose healthy, nutrient-dense meal options instead of comfort foods (or figure out how to sneak in nutrient dense staples into your go-to comfort foods!). And don’t forget about the healthy snack alternatives as well! This way you will be less likely to go to McDonald’s to buy a hamburger or grab an ice cream from the freezer.

As part of the planning, write a shopping list. This will help you avoid buying a lot of unnecessary and unhealthy stuff when going grocery shopping.

And while we’re talking about shopping- my two biggest hacks are avoiding shopping when I’m starving (I know-duh) and totally avoiding the junk food aisles.

Related read: Budget Meal Planning Made Easy AND Healthy

Keep more healthy foods at home

You can much more easily avoid the temptation of junk if you keep more healthy foods at home. At the grocery store, make sure to buy more fresh fruits, vegetables (for example, green leafy vegetables), legumes, and other items that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibers. If you can’t decide whether an item is healthy, you can check the labels on the food products. If you see a lot of ingredients on the label that you don’t recognize, chances are that it is a highly processed food. Therefore, it is better to not buy it. Try to look rather for nutrient-dense whole foods.

Related read: Why Organic? The Pros and Cons of Shopping Organic

Keep sweets and other unhealthy foods out of sight

Besides keeping more healthy foods at home, make sure to keep sweets and other unhealthy foods out of sight. Studies show that people are more likely to snack on chips, chocolates, and donuts when these foods are at a visible and easily reachable place. It’s a better idea to hide them somewhere in the pantry or on a shelf out of sight. Or if you feel you are strong enough, you can even throw them away or give them to someone and then avoid buying them next time 😉

Know the foods that trigger you

Regardless of whether you have a sweet tooth for ice cream or you love salty snacks, you need to identify which foods can trigger you. Which foods do you eat when you are feeling down or feel bored? Once you figure it out, keep those foods out of your home as much as possible.

Eat more fruit

how to stop eating junk food

If you would like to quit eating junk food, consider making simple food swaps when you are craving sweets. You can opt for a bowl of blueberries, some watermelon, or even some mango. Besides the fact that fruits are healthier than brownies or donuts, the fibers in fruits can slow down the effects on blood sugar. This means that you can avoid having a sugar crash.

Fruits are also great because they are filled with vitamins, fibers, antioxidants, and water.

Maybe at first, it will be a little difficult to reach for some fruit instead of sweets but eventually, you will get used to it and your cravings for junk food will also diminish.

Consume enough protein from healthy sources

Paying attention to your protein intake can also help you stop eating junk food. This is because protein can give you the feeling of being full and kill your desire for comfort food. Simply try to consume enough protein from healthy sources like vegetables, beans, fish, and nuts.

Eat some healthy fats


Not all fats are bad. In fact, our bodies need some fat. So don’t think that you have to give up meals that are rich in fat. Simply, you should change unhealthy trans fats for healthy fats and limit saturated fats.

Although the following foods contain a lot of fat, they are still considered healthy as the fats are from the good kind:

  • avocados
  • chia seeds
  • coconuts
  • nuts
  • whole eggs
  • olive oil,
  • fatty fish.

These foods are nutritious and can help you reduce your cravings as well. Plus, they’ve been found to reduce onset of chronic disease and boost overall quality of life.

When you feel you want to binge, have some nuts (my go-to), make a homemade salad, or eat some fatty fish like sardines, salmon, or herring.

Have a balanced diet

One of the best tips on how to stop eating junk food is to have a balanced diet. When you focus on having a varied diet, you will not only eat healthier but your body will also get all the nutrients it needs to function properly. This way you will be less likely to grab a bag of crackers.

When you plan your daily meals, try to include foods from all of the following food groups: fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts.

Get enough sleep

Studies show that there is a correlation between the lack of sleep and junk food cravings. Make sure you get enough sleep each night so you can reduce your hunger and bring under control your desire for fast food and sweets.

Improve your stress management skills

how to stop eating junk food

Most people have cravings for emotional reasons. They are in a bad mood, they are going through a breakup, or they have a stressful day at work… Either way, they need an energy boost to feel better and very often they find comfort in junk food.

If you are also one of those who fill their emotional needs through their stomach, I’m sure you’re aware that it’s not the best option even though it feels good in the moment. Instead, it can be helpful to try to improve your stress management skills, so you won’t need food for stress relief. You can choose from the various activities that can help you reduce stress and are much healthier than emotional eating: do yoga, take a walk, go for a run, talk with a friend, start journaling, take a deep breath, meditate, or read a book.

It doesn’t matter which activities you choose, you should just find those that work the best for you.

Change your mindset

Sometimes all you need is a change in your mindset. You can try the so-called mindful eating that can benefit you in many ways.

If you would like to start with an easy practice then every time you look at junk food, remind yourself that eating these unhealthy foods has negative consequences (weight gain, illnesses). The temporary pleasure isn’t worth the long-term health effects, is it?

Or even better- focus on the positive. Remind yourself how the good foods you put in your body are helping you thrive and feel your absolute best.

Try out a 30 day no junk food or no sugar challenge


Maybe it is an unusual way of getting rid of junk food but it is an effective one: try out a 30 day no junk food challenge or a 30 day no sugar challenge.

30 days is long enough to change a bad habit to a good one, so it is worth trying to develop better eating habits.

Related read: 30 Day Health Challenge Ideas: The Nutrition Edition

Just try to eat less junk food

I know it is not easy to resist those delicious, sweet, or salty comfort foods. But they are not good for our health and we need to limit these unhealthy foods in our diet (especially if the goal is losing weight or managing chronic illness).

Hopefully, you found some of our tips useful and by now you know how to stop eating junk food. Remember that every step in the right directly is a win! And that you will have the best results if you start small.

I wish you good luck on your journey to have a life free of junk foods (or at last one where you don’t feel ruled by your cravings). You will see that as soon as you eliminate these foods from your diet, you will feel much better.

Do you eat a lot of junk food? Do you have any strategies that help you? Let us know in the comments.

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