Learn how to cheat your diet with success!
Although it seems unhealthy to cheat your diet, indulges can benefit your body and mind.
What is a cheat meal vs cheat day? A cheat meal is a single meal that allows you to stray from your normal healthy diet. A cheat day is an entire day that allows you to indulge in less healthy or even unhealthy foods. Which one is better? It depends on the person. Most people do best with 1-2 cheat meals per week.
Are there benefits? Yes! Enjoying a cheat meal can improve insulin sensitivity and boost fat loss. It can also keep you sane, prevent you from feeling deprived and help you stick to clean, healthy eating the rest of the time.
In contrast, taking a zero-tolerance approach to indulging creates a lot of stress. Stress is a huge contributor to health issues. So, ditch the rigid mentality and use these tips to nourish yourself without the guilt.
How to Cheat Your Diet
1. Plan Ahead
How often should you have a cheat meal?
Strategize your splurges! Plan one to two cheat meals a week to indulge. Or you can plan one diet cheat day a week.
But, make sure to plan these ahead of time so it doesn’t end up being more. If planning is a challenge, then plan a diet cheat day and abide by a three-bite rule. The three-bite rule is exactly as it sounds, enjoy three bites and call it quits.
2. Make it Matter
Which is more satisfying… a delicious chocolate cake with fresh vanilla bean ice cream at a romantic restaurant? Or a candy bar in front of the TV? Make your cheat meal special. Take your time. Eat more mindfully, savor each bite and let go of any guilt.
3. Set Up for Success
Don’t skip beverages or meals to save room for your splurge. Make sure you hydrate before you indulge. Fresh lemon water supports hydration and can get a jumpstart on the cleansing needed after a cheat meal.
Also, it’s best to eat a balanced meal with substantial nutrients before the sugar rush. For example, enjoy a fresh fruit salad before mimosas and syrupy french toast.
Lastly, drink a cup of antioxidant-rich green tea ahead of time. This can decrease the negative effects of sugar and alcohol.
Healthy Cheat Meals…
4. Choose Whole Foods
While it may be a cheat meal, the quality of the food is still important. You deserve the best quality ingredients for your indulgence.
Choose natural, one-ingredient foods over man-made, processed products.
Homemade treats are an excellent way to know exactly what you’re eating. Most importantly, they’re made with love!
5. Read the Ingredients Listed
Read food labels, starting with the ingredients. Select whole ingredients over refined, such as a date over brown rice syrup.
The fewer ingredients, the better.
Avoid ingredients that look like a chemistry experiment.
6. Check Sugar Content
Next, focus on sugar. Processed products contain over 40 types of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners! Many hidden sugars end in “-ose” such as dextrose. Choose less processed forms of sugar, such as fruit over fructose. Aim for less than 20 grams of sugar per serving.
7. Sweeten Smarter
Whether buying a product or making homemade treats, it’s important to choose better sweeteners. Healthier sweeteners can reduce your sugar intake, lower the glycemic load of your sweets and even add nutrients.
Smart Sweeteners for Healthier Indulgences
- Cinnamon, a naturally sweet spice, is great for stabilizing blood sugar levels.
- Fruit is filled with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. Swap brown sugar for dates.
- Honey (raw, local) is rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes.
- Maple syrup contains antioxidants, manganese, zinc, iron, and calcium.
- Stevia, a naturally sweet herb contains zero sugar and has zero effect on blood sugar.
8. Increase Antioxidants
Cheat meals don’t have to be entirely unhealthy.
Increase your antioxidant intake by favoring fruit, dark chocolate and nuts for dessert.
Cheat Your Diet With Antioxidants
- Wild blueberries are some of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet!
- Cacao is packed full of antioxidant-rich polyphenols and flavonoids.
- Berries are loaded with polyphenols that support fat loss and fiber that helps prevent insulin spikes.
- Cherries are relatively low in sugar and high in antioxidants, potassium, quercetin, and melatonin.
- Pecans pack in healthy fats and are among the top 15 foods rich in antioxidants.
9. Befriend Fruit
Add color to your cheat meals with some refreshing fruit.
Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fruit is one of the best foods you can eat to support your health. It helps you lose weight, improve hydration levels, detoxify, boost your immune system, fight pathogens, get rid of Candida, decrease aging, and prevent cancer. Read why the “Fruit Fear” does not support your health.
Cheat Your Diet — Fruits to Favor
- Wild blueberries are incredibly beneficial for support your health with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, elevated biotics and more! Try wild blueberries with pears and honey.
- Bananas are one of the most nutritious and healing fruits. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and have a high water/nutrient ratio making them an excellent electrolyte food.
- Apples are rich in nutrients that support detoxification, liver health, adrenal health, digestion, and overall health.
- Dates are a perfect sweet-tooth-satisfying pick-me-up food for energy and brain function. Perfect post-workout, dates are amazing for physical performance as they help improve physical endurance, agility and stamina. The nutrients in dates are beneficial for reducing inflammation, building bone and increasing muscle strength
Indulge with Mindfulness
10. “Pig Out” Out
If you tend to go overboard with indulgences, then plan your cheat meals out. Cheating your diet while dining out costs more and increases your awareness of what you’re putting in your body. Both of which can help to keep your indulgences in check. However, don’t bring a doggie bag home.
Keep temptations out of sight, out of mind.