Winter roast vegetable salad . Picture / Babiche Martens.

9 Ways to Survive Junk Free June

These tips will help prevent a sneaky McDonald’s drive-through

It’s easy to cave into the temptation of junk food — especially in the lethargy of winter. Junk Free June, a non-profit organisation founded by the Cancer Society of New Zealand, encourages people to cut out something they eat regularly that they know isn’t good for them. Through sponsorship, the campaign aims to not only raise money for charity, but raise awareness for healthy eating. If you’re embarking on the challenge, or just looking to eat healthier, The Kitchen Collective founder Lauren Matthews has shared a few tips to prevent caving in.

1. It’s a common misconception that by cutting out junk, food will be boring. Focus on adding flavour to your dishes. Add feta to a salad; a sprinkle of chilli flakes to roast veges; fresh herbs to garnish. And don’t forget to season your cooking as you go — this really helps build depth of flavour.

2. When eating out, check restaurant and cafe menus online before dining. By identifying a healthy option prior to your visit, it will eliminate confusion and help with temptation.

3. Clean out your pantry and fridge of what you call junk food — if the things you’re sacrificing aren’t in the house, you’ll be less tempted to indulge.

4. Sign up to Junk Free June with a friend, partner, your flatmates or family. The bigger the support system, the easier it will be.

RECIPE: Winter Roast Vegetables with Almond Dressing

5. Planning meals for the week will ensure your success. Write shopping lists to reflect the meals you’ve planned. Knowing exactly what you’re going to be eating may be a tad boring, but it will definitely help with making bad decisions, or grabbing something on the run — meals that are notorious for being less healthy.

6. Think of alternatives — just because you’re cutting out junk for the month doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in your favourite meals.

7. Do your research — what are some foods you always eat that might be considered junk food because they’re processed and full of unnatural additives? Getting clued up on these types of things will not only help with succeeding with Junk Free June, it will help you make healthy choices going forward.

8. Think fresh. Your food shopping trolley should be full of bright-coloured vegetables, plenty of free range and organic meat, nuts and legumes.

9. Have fun. Junk Free June shouldn't be a chore. Get excited about learning to cook healthier, get creative and look forward to reaping the benefits of feeling healthy. And don’t forget it's for a good cause — so own it and be proud of yourself!

- To register for Junk Free June, visit the website.

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New Zealand Herald

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