The toughest thing that everyone encounters when trying to eat healthy to lose weight is to battle intense junk food cravings. It’s really hard to swerve past junk food, especially in India, where it’s everywhere, lining the streets on your way home from work, colourful fast food billboards that use red and yellow colors prominently to psychologically make you feel hungry, down to the food-ordering apps on your phone where in a single swipe you can get delicious yet unhealthy food delivered at your doorstep. It’s hard to put into practice the Pavlovian theory when it comes to junk food because as we have mentioned earlier, unhealthy food is all around, wherever you turn, whichever way you look. An indulgence here and there, once in a week, should pose no problem, but when junk food starts replacing healthy food, in your daily diet, your health will take a toll and weight loss will become impossible. Some of us have that sweet tooth which makes us crave for sugary delights, while a few others have a liking for high-calorie fried food with different condiments, and their intense taste triggers the pleasure center of the brain, leading to frequent cravings for such unhealthy food. Also, a large population of people actually turn to junk food for comfort and to reduce stress, and since everyone is leading a stressful life, how frequently are we indulging in stress eating such kind of food? It’s just not right to put the blame entirely on lack of will power when it comes to junk food. Intense food cravings for a certain food is a mind game and the good news is that you can actually control them and train your mind not to crave for such food. Research has established that cravings can increase the value of unhealthy foods manifold and avoiding them can be a mammoth task. Cravings are very different from hunger pangs and if you do not want to eat a fruit when cravings hit, you can surely bypass that craving. Samosas, pakoras, bhature, kachoris, pani-puri – how many of us can say “no” to such food? But Indian junk food list is not limited to just these five food items. Also, it becomes a problem when you eat such food on a daily basis. In this post, we list out 18 effective tips to beat cravings for Indian junk food.
Why is Junk Food Addictive?
Processed food that is high in calories, sugar, sodium/salt content, made from refined flour – all come under the junk food category. Sweets, candies, chocolates, biscuits, cookies, fast food, sweet beverages, colas, etc. that offer little to zero nutritional value to the body also come under junk food. Another important aspect that we all forget, cooking oils that are hydrogenated and refined can also be considered junk food because they raise inflammation in the body.
List of Most Popular Indian Junk Food:
1. Pani puri.
2. White bread.
4. Bhature (minus the chole).
7. Potato chips.
18 Effective Tips to Beat Cravings for Indian Junk Food:
1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind: We have mentioned about the Pavlovian theory where a stimulus or object can trigger a conditioned response. Likewise, we tend to associate junk food with comfort and taste, and when we drive past such fast food chains that sell junk food, most likely, it triggers a hunger pang. Keep junk food out of sight, take different routes to avoid fast food restaurants selling such food. Also, do not shop for processed food when grocery shopping. If it’s not in your sight, it would not reach your plate.
2. Stop at Just a Bite or Two: One can easily go on a binging spree with junk food because they have been made with a lot of sugar or sodium to suit the consumer’s palate so that they crave for more. However, when you eat slowly, taking in slow bites, you are most likely to push away the plate after the third bite.
3. Add more Protein to your Diet: Studies have found that amping up protein content in diet can reduce unhealthy cravings a great deal. Here’s a list of 17 Cheapest Protein Sources that can Boost Weight Loss.
4. Drink More Water: When the body is dehydrated, it sends out signals, but we often confuse them as hunger pangs and cravings. Sipping on water through the day can help keep tabs on junk food cravings.
5. Distract yourself: Whenever junk food cravings hit, distract yourself by taking your mind off by reading a good book or going for a small walk. You would realize that within 20 minutes, the cravings would have vanished.
6. Keep Healthy Snacks Ready: Whenever cravings hit, pick a healthy snack, for example, nuts like walnuts, almonds that are rich in protein and fiber, that help to curb appetite and cravings.
7. Eat lots of Spinach: This green leafy vegetable is rich in vitamin A, iron, and a lot of other minerals and also contains a compound that helps to reduce appetite and cravings.
8. Sleep Tight: The fight against cravings start not at the beginning of the day but the previous night – a good night’s sleep helps to lower hunger hormone “ghrelin” and lower stress hormone “cortisol.” Both these hormones can trigger cravings and that’s why it’s important to keep them in check with good quality sleep.
9. Follow Rati Beauty diet for Proper Meals: Replace junk food with healthy food that’s equally delicious – find such diet plans to lose weight on Rati Beauty dieting.
10. Practice Mindful Eating: When you are eating mindfully, you are more aware about the food on your plate and the quantity.
11. Sniff peppermint: The lovely scent of peppermint has the ability to suppress appetite and reduce unnecessary cravings. Sip on peppermint tea or find a good peppermint essential oil and sniff away.
12. Ginger Tea: Ginger is a fat burner because it boosts metabolism, increases thermogenesis so that more calories get burnt. Ginger is a really good way to keep the sugar cravings away too.
13. Include Healthy Fats: A handful of nuts will greatly reduce the cravings for sugary delights because they have healthy fats that also curb appetite. Here’s a list of healthy fats that you can eat on a daily basis.
14. Take a Slow Bite of the Junk Food you are Craving: Most of the times, you just want a single bite of the a particular junk food that you are craving for. So, the next time around, just take a small bite, chew slowly, and then you are more likely to toss it in the dustbin.
15. Find the root cause of your cravings and find a healthy replacement: Craving for pizza? Then most likely you are calcium deficient. Intense craving for sugar can be due to magnesium and chromium deficiency. Get yourself tested for nutrient deficiencies so that you can have a better control over these cravings.
16. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners tend to activate the reward area of the brain the same way refined sugar does, and manage to elicit cravings that can be worse.
17. Tap your Forehead: Some people say that tapping your forehead for 30 seconds can actually minimize the intensity of a craving. Try it for yourself and tell us whether it worked 😛
18. Sniff Jasmine Scent: Some studies have found that sniffing jasmine scent reduces the cravings for sweet stuff by a great deal.