The Do's and Don'ts of Cheat Meals

We all want to live healthy and nutritious rich lives, at least as much as we can. However, most of us also share a common urge to have a little cheat meal when we can – and there’s nothing wrong with that. No doubt staying physically and mentally healthy during lockdown is difficult enough without denying yourself the odd treat!

A cheeky slice of pizza at the weekend, or a nice tub of ice cream, especially in this heatwave we’re having is expected, and we all deserve to give in a little to our cravings every now and then.

The important thing to consider when having a cheat meal, is of course moderation. Whether these cheats hamper or help your long term health and fitness goals is all a matter of how you approach them. And to help you out a little, we’ve got some do’s and don’ts for you right here…

The Do’s

Do give in and have a cheat meal

Yes that’s right, occasionally you can give in to your cravings! Because going cold turkey on some of your absolutely favorite foods doesn’t really work, and your far more likely to conquer your cravings if you actually indulge them every now and then. 

If you constantly deny yourself the foods that you really want, then this can often lead to you simply obsessing over them to the point where you’ll just constantly seek them out. Before long you’ll find yourself consistently over-eating.

Be mindful of everything you eat, and allow yourself the rare occasion to have the foods that you really enjoy.

Do explore ways of making your cravings healthier

Always take note of the cheat meals you’re craving after, is it something creamy? Cheesy? Chocolatey? Whatever it is, there will be something you can substitute it for that’s healthier for you, but still provided at least some of the same qualities you love.

With a little research, you’ll soon find that many of your favourite treats probably have a superfood version that;s far healthier and likely tastes better.

Do create a buffer to stop you overindulging

If you’ve planned to perhaps go out with family or friends and have an indulgent meal, then plan ahead to anticipate your cravings. The last thing you want is to head out and wolf down the first thing that catches your eye because you’re super hungry.

Say you’re heading out to lunch at 12, make sure you have something to eat a few hours before. A healthy breakfast or snack, like fruit or cereal perhaps. Sounds obvious, but if you skip meals, you’re more likely to cave to cravings and make not so healthy choices when you’re presented with a menu.

The Don’ts

Don’t let feelings of guilt take over

It doesn’t help that we often refer to these cravings as “cheats” and this of course brings about feelings of certain foods always being bad for us. This can then relate to you feeling bad about yourself as a person for consuming the “bad foods.” 

However, as long as you don’t start eating huge portions of these foods every day, you can have a small amount and take the time to really enjoy it. There’s no need to feel consumed by guilt and listen to that judgy voice in your head that chastises you for eating something you really enjoy. There may be times when you overeat unhealthy foods and feel emotionally and/or physically bad afterwards, but you can then return to healthier choices when you next have a meal.

One indulgence isn’t going to destroy your healthy meal prep plans, so let go of the guilt and don’t completely deprive yourself of all the tasty treats that you love. If you do, then you’re far more likely to eventually overindulge in the future. Remember, it’s your overall diet, and lifestyle that really matters – not a couple of cheat meals along the way!

Don’t cheat all the time

Going back to moderation – it’s perfectly acceptable to occasionally indulge. Just keep in mind how often you’re doing it. Pick one cheat meal that you really like, but don’t allow yourself to turn one indulgence into a whole week or month of it.

Look at it this way, if you have a cheeky cheat meal for your lunch one day, then make sure your very next meal is something healthier. If you often workout but decide to have an important rest day to heal your body up, you don’t then choose to rest for the whole week. Apply that same way thinking to your diet, and don’t start overindulging all day, every day.

The most important thing to consider is to keep everything nice and balanced – this includes your diet, but also how much quality sleep you’re getting,and how much exercise you’re doing. 

So treat yourself every now and again, it will help ensure your body and mind stays healthy.

If you’d like any further information on the healthy, delicious and nutritious meal plans we provide to help you stay perfectly balanced – click here. Take a look at our healthy meal prep packages here.