Tips on Avoiding Junk Food for Teenagers
Plan & Pack Ahead
Make a plan before you leave the house in the morning -- this will prevent you from stopping at the vending machines or strolling through the pizza line when you get hungry at school. Pack a healthy lunch and several snacks to satisfy your appetite. Healthy snack ideas include yogurt, string cheese, raisins, unsalted popcorn, fresh fruit and veggies with hummus. Follow this pack-ahead plan on the weekends as well. Eat before you leave the house and then toss a few healthy snacks into your bag to enjoy while you’re shopping or socializing.
Setting short-term and long-term goals for yourself is a great source of motivation. A long-term goal might include losing a set amount of weight, running a half marathon or eliminating soda from your diet. Long-term goals often take many months to achieve, so it helps to set short-term goals in the meantime. For one week, try cutting your soda intake in half, avoiding dessert or eating at least five servings of fruits and veggies per day. When you achieve your short-term goal, start making it a regular part of your lifestyle -- and then set a new short-term goal to work toward.
Keep it Out of Reach
The junk food temptation will be strong at first, so you’ll want to keep it out of sight and far from reach until you overcome any cravings. Ideally, you’ll be able to talk your family into following a healthy lifestyle along with you. But if they refuse to give up the greasy chips and chocolate, ask for a compromise -- keep the unhealthy foods stored in a specific place, rather than in the front of the pantry for everyone to see.
Cravings will undoubtedly occur, so you’ll want to have an arsenal of healthy alternatives to conquer them. When you’re drooling over creamy ice cream, drizzle some honey or mix some peanut butter into chilled yogurt. If you’re craving sweets, snack on a handful of dried fruits. If you miss the salty crunch of potato chips, munch on a few pickles or banana peppers. Just find what works for you -- you might be surprised to find that you enjoy the healthy alternative just as much as the guilty pleasure.
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