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by Tony Gjokaj January 25, 2024 3 min read

Did you know that our relationship with food is deeply intertwined with our psychology?

The convenience and allure of junk (processed) foods often tap into our psychological triggers, making it challenging to break free from their hold.

However, by understanding our behaviors and implementing strategic psychological practices, we can successfully reduce our reliance on processed foods.

In this blog, we'll explore five behavioral strategies that leverage psychology and fitness hacks to foster healthier eating habits.

Let's dive in!

5 Hacks To Eat Less Junk Food

1. Prioritize Protein-Rich Foods

The best hack I can give someone on their exercise for mental health journey is to eat more protein.

Protein is not only essential for muscle repair and growth but also plays a crucial role in promoting satiety.

Including protein-rich foods in your meals can help you feel fuller for longer, potentially reducing the temptation to reach for processed snacks.

Incorporate lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and plant-based protein sources into your diet to support your psychological and physical well-being.

I will include protein powders and shakes into my routine to make sure I get more protein in.

Sometimes, I opt for ready to drink Protein Shakes like the ones from Quest Nutrition here.

2. Eat More Fiber (Fruits & Vegetables)

Another hack I personally use to limit my processed food intake is fiber!

Fiber is another key nutrient that aids in maintaining a feeling of fullness.

High-fiber foods take longer to chew and digest, promoting a sense of satisfaction that can deter mindless snacking on processed items.

Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are excellent sources of fiber.

Personally, I like to shoot for 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily (combined).

This is how I track serving sizes:

  • 1 cupped handful of fruits = 1 serving
  • 1 fist serving of leafy greens (ie. spinach, kale) = 1 serving
  • 1/2 fist serving of stalky greens (ie. broccoli) = 1 serving

Make an effort to include these options in your meals to support a more satisfying eating experience.

3. More Mindful Eating

To this day, I have trouble with eating too quickly.

It's always been a trouble of mine.

but did you know that your body can take upwards to 20 minutes to signal our fullness cues?

This is why mindful eating is so important.

It involves being fully present and aware of your eating experience.

Slow down, savor each bite, and pay attention to the flavors, textures, and aromas of your food.

By being mindful, you can better recognize hunger and fullness cues, making it easier to avoid overindulging in processed snacks.

Lastly, create a dedicated space for meals without distractions, such as phones or television, to enhance your mindful eating practice.

4. Plan and Prepare

Planning and preparing meals in advance can help you make healthier choices.

When you have nutritious meals readily available, you are less likely to succumb to the convenience of processed options.

Set aside time each week to plan your meals, create a shopping list, and prepare ingredients.

Having healthy, home-cooked meals readily available makes it easier to resist the temptation of processed foods.

5. Address Emotional Eating

Emotional eating often leads to the consumption of comfort foods, which are frequently processed and high in unhealthy fats and sugars.

Identify triggers for emotional eating and develop alternative coping mechanisms, such as engaging in physical activity, practicing mindfulness, or seeking support from friends and family.

By addressing emotional eating, you can break the cycle of relying on processed foods as a source of comfort.

Flexible Diet Your Life

Transforming your relationship with processed foods involves a shift in psychological habits.

By prioritizing protein and fiber, practicing mindful eating, planning and preparing meals, and addressing emotional eating, you can create a positive and sustainable approach to nutrition.

Remember that even if you eat processed foods, it's not the end of the world.

I specifically follow an 80/20 practice of eating 80% whole foods and allowing for 20% processed foods if my sweet cravings kick in.

In doing so, you can build out a consistent diet and lifestyle you can enjoy, living a healthier and happier life - physically and mentally.

Thanks for reading, now go out there and lift your mood!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.

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