Got Some Poor Eating Habits & Wondering How To Avoid Junk Food?
Well this week on The Smart Runner Podcast we’re taking a look at how to avoid junk food and finally get your diet working positively for you. I’ve also got a Free weekly meal planner for you with some simple meal ideas that I actually use personally.
Once you begin to make enough space for positive eating habits everything will begin to change. As far as your fitness and running goals are concerned you’ll likely begin to see some remarkable changes and surprise yourself too. So let’s crack on!
Links From The Show
- Paleo For Endurance Athletes
- 21 Of The Worst Carbs To Eat
- The Whole30 Nutrition Plan (I’m a big fan of Whole30)
- Careful you have an enemy!
- What are good foods to eat?
- What are bad foods to eat?
- 7 things you need to do to succeed
- Weekly meal ideas
- Your weekly meal planner download
Good diet is critical for you to achieve your running goals and the good news it’s not impossible. But first you need to take a timeout and make a decision.
If you are prepared to change then great, but correcting poor nutrition and eating habits can be very disruptive. You have established patterns that have strong momentum, and breaking those is never easy.
However, once you are committed, you can make the changes successfully. Every day it will become easier and you will begin to build momentum in the right direction.
Two major keys to avoiding junk food and correcting poor eating habits is education and planning. You must take the time to figure out what’s good and what’s not.
There’s so much info out there it’s hard to know where to start, but the good news is I’m going to show you where you can start and get your nutrition in order once and for all.
Careful, You Have An Enemy
On your way to building a healthier and more efficient athlete you will need to be aware of an insidious enemy – The Food Industry!
These guys are a sneaky and crafty bunch who are very clever at appealing to your conditioned mind. Many of us believe popular processed foods available in the supermarket are good for us.
Unfortunately that’s not true. Pretty much all packaged, processed, long life foods available almost everywhere will not help you in your move to better health.
I generally have one rule of thumb when it comes to choosing the right food to eat;
If it comes in a packet with an ingredients list then don’t eat it.
Now there are exceptions to that rule, but not too many. You simply have to become more aware of what food equals good for you, and what food equals bad.
Going on autopilot is what has your diet where it is, and without exercising conscious effort to change those habits then nothing really changes.
What Are Good Foods To Eat?
In understanding how to avoid junk food and perfecting better eating habits, there are some foods that are good and some that are bad.
If it grew from the ground, swam in the sea, roamed the land or few in the sky then go ahead and eat it. Now there are exceptions to that rule too, however, it still serves as a good rule.
Bottom line is, the closest you can get to natural and organic food the better it will be for you. Unprocessed foods that have been grown and reared by local producers like this is what you’re after.
- Fresh vegetables of all kinds, especially greens
- Fresh unprocessed meats from your local butcher (not the supermarket)
- Raw nuts and seeds (uncooked and unsalted)
- Fruits of all kinds
- Dried fruit (Avoid nitrates and other nasty additives)
- Cold pressed oils
- Wholegrain breads (make it yourself if you can or buy from a reputable baker)
- Homemade pasta
I’m an advocate for paleo eating, especially where you want to lose body fat. if you want to find out more check out the paleo for endurance athletes article.
What Are Bad Foods To Eat?
As I mentioned above, food that comes packed and processed is generally not a great choice. In addition to the life force of the food being removed in processing, producers like to use all kinds of chemicals in processing that they are not obliged to tell us about.
Yeah it’s true, especially meat producers (sneaky bastards!). Most meat you’ll buy in the supermarket has been packaged using a special gas the makes the meat look fresh and last for longer on shelves.
That’s why the packet bulges as it does. If you are going to buy meat in a supermarket, go for vacuum packed meat instead. Here’s some examples of what you should avoid.
- Supermarket processed meats
- Most dairy foods
- Pretty much all flour based foods
- Salted and sugared “healthy” snacks
- Chocolate bars & confectionary
- Crisps and corn based snacks
- Ready meals
- Takeaway food of all kinds
- Deep fried foods
- Frozen breaded meat and fish products
- Canned and jarred vegetables
- Juice drinks and flavoured waters
The list goes on! Most of your supermarket aisles are filled with this crap, so you’ve simply got to educate yourself and be on your guard. If you want to find out more about good and bad carbs, check out this article on the worst kinds of carbohydrates to eat.
7 Things Need To Do To Succeed
#1 Turn Off The TV
Watching TV is detrimental to your success so you need to switch it off and get focused. If you must watch TV, set yourself a time limit and stick to it. TV is detrimental to your success for a couple of reasons;
- There are adverts there that convince you crap food is ok
- The TV robs you of time you need to prepare meals and plan for the next day
- It eats into time you should be sleeping and rebuilding energy levels
#2 Get Up Early
Get up 30 mins earlier than you need to in the morning and use this time to get yourself organised for the day. Before any other duties you need to tend to (kids or whatever), make sure you dedicate this time for you.
Have a think about what your ideal day will go like. Where will you eat lunch, who will you eat with, who will you talk with about your new eating plan?
#3 Clear Your Cupboards Of Poor Quality Foods
Your fridge and cupboards are likely filled with foods that don’t serve you very well. Now it’s time to clear house. Get rid of everything that represents how you used to eat and refill with all the right foods.
You might need help with this as often it can be difficult to throw away things you paid good money for. But you must realise that these foods will only be a temptation so you must remove them before you start.
#4 Plan Your Weekly Meals
Get up early on a Sunday morning and prepare for the coming week. If you are sticking to the meal plan I gave you above, then decide on the meals for the week and ensure you’ve all the necessary ingredients in stock.
Set aside an hour later in the day to visit your local supermarket and get whatever ingredients you need. You can also do this on Saturday if you wish. Whatever day you do it, make sure you plan!
#5 Eat Breakfast
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day (like I needed to tell you that!). If you don’t currently eat a breakfast you’ll need to establish this habit.
Even if it’s only a banana and an apple at the kitchen table before you leave for work, then that’s better than nothing. However, something more substantial would be better, like porridge.
#6 Make Your Lunch The Night Before
Instead of watching telly for hours at night, use this time to get your lunch ready for the next day. It will only take 10 or so minutes and will mean you’re less likely to grab crap food on the way out the door to work.
It’s not a good idea to make salads the night before because lettuce and spinach etc tends to go soggy in the fridge. Same goes for chopped tomatoes, they don’t do overnight to well.
Check out the meal ideas listed below
#7 Get The Whole Family & Friends On Board
Having a partner is an excellent way of increasing your chances for success. Explore ideas together, shop together, send each other motivational texts and keep each other accountable.
It’s important that during this transition to better eating that you do not associate with people who have poor eating habits. It’s likely if you have a dip in motivation that you’ll find reason to revert to poor eating habits by simply being around them.
Getting family members to adopt these new habits can help too. However, on the flip side, if you’re not supported at home consider keeping your new habits to yourself.
Check Out These Meal Ideas
Get inventive here by adding spices like cajun spice, chinese spices, italian dressing, herbs and other means of jazzing up your food. But be careful, many jarred sauces are filled with sugar and other bad stuff.
Check out these salad dressing recipes that are simple to make at home.
- Bowl of porridge & teaspoon of jam
- Chopped banana, apple and other fruit with organic granola and coconut cream
- 2 x fried eggs on wholemeal brown bread
- Scrambled eggs, sausage, rashers, mushrooms (make sure pork products are craft butcher bought)
- Banana, 2 x raw eggs, coconut oil + a drop of water blended to a shake
- Scrambled eggs and salmon on wholemeal toast
- Omelette with chopped veg and mushrooms
- Banana on wholemeal brown bread
- Chicken & avocado salad box
- Spicy minced beef & broccoli box
- Chicken pita with tomato, cucumber salad
- Spinach, broccoli, tomato, chickpea, onion salad
- Tuna salad pita
- Salmon salad box
- Spicy chicken noodle salad box
- Hake with a fried egg and steamed or blanched broccoli
- Roast chicken with potato wedges, carrot & parsnip sticks
- Homemade beef burger with mashed potato & peas
- Sirloin steak with mushrooms, onions and baked sweet potato
- Chicken noodle stirfry
- Shepherd’s pie
- Turkey strips with green beans and wild rice
- Almonds & Goji Berries mix
- Almonds & Blueberries mixed
- Packet of mixed nuts
- Carrot sticks
- Carrot and celery with hummus
- Popcorn unsalted
- Fresh fruit, apples, oranges, pears, mango
- Mixed seeds
- Peanut Butter bagel or pita
- Protein shake
- Wholemeal bread and jam
- A ripe avocado
So there you have it, a complete list of food ideas and a simple plan to get started eating better.
There’s literally tons of recipes to choose from online and many you can fire together in a heartbeat. All it needs is a concerted effort and a determination to consume better quality nutrition.
Once you begin to apply what I’ve outlined for you here, you’ll see a marked difference in how you look, how you feel and how you perform. And critically, your health will benefit highly.
Putting in place new eating habits can be tough, and often you may fail before finding a means to finally establish a new way of eating and living. So, if you need assistance I am here for you. Get in touch with me for a one to one and let’s get you started on the right track