If you are someone following a strict diet plan for a long time now, you would know the importance of having a cheat meal! In simple words, a cheat meal can be described as a meal in which you allow yourself to take a small break from your regimented diet.
But is it right to take a cheat meal while following a diet regime?
According to nutritionists, scheduled cheat meals can be beneficial for weight loss. This is because, they help to reduce the food cravings and provide a mental break in the journey of diet and weight loss.
However, cheat meals should not be converted into cheat days or cheat months. There are certain Do’s and Don’ts one must follow while having a cheat meal to continue with a healthy lifestyle and fulfill your cravings.
DO’S AND DON’TS OF CHEAT MEALS –
Below is the list of things you should and shouldn’t do while having cheat meals in the middle of your diet! If you’ll keep a track of them, cheat meals are not harmful to you.
What You Should Do –
- MAKE YOUR CRAVING HEALTHIER!
Are you craving for something chocolatey? Do you miss your favorite chocolate that you can’t have because of your diet? Don’t worry! You have your cheat meal in your hand.
You can curb the cravings of chocolate by having a whey protein shake that comes in chocolate flavor. It is a protein-based supplement that also helps to reduce cholesterol.
It will not only provide the luxurious taste of chocolate, but will also provide health benefits in the form of high protein content and amino acids.
This way you can make your cravings healthier and can enjoy them.
- PLAN YOUR CHEAT MEAL
It is essential to plan what you are going to eat in your cheat meal. To not go overboard, you should always count the calories of whatever you have decided to cheat for.
This will help you to not deviate from what is set and you’ll not have anything extra as you would have been already decided your meal.
Also, track the calories in advance of whatever you will have. This will provide you with a better understanding.
- EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR CHEAT MEAL
Try to experiment with some interesting dishes for you cheat meals. You can always add new ingredients including seasonal fruits and vegetables to make your cheat meals tastier and healthier.
These would not only help to curb the craving but would also be a part of your healthy life style. You can also sip on your favorite coffee as part of your cheat meal which will not only help with your cravings but would also act as a fat burner for you.
- DON’T FORGET YOUR GOALS!
It is fine to have a cheat meal once in a while. But, you should not forget the reason why you started a healthy lifestyle. Being healthy in general and not just for few days should be the goal.
When you keep this in mind, your cheat meal will remain a cheat meal and not a cheat day! Keep your mind set accordingly.
- CHOOSE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Healthy lifestyle is not achieved in a day or two. It takes effort and consistency to maintain a healthy life style. While cheating as well, try to have things that will boost your metabolism.
You can take multivitamins in your diet that will help you to improve digestion in your cheat days. These multivitamins contain a variety of acids that are required for proper digestion.
WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T DO?
- IT’S A CHEAT MEAL, NOT A CHEAT DAY!
If you’ll have cheat meals an entire day, it will not only encourage more cravings but would also affect your entire week’s hard work to maintain a diet.
Consistency is the key element that you need to follow if you really want to achieve your weight loss goals. Try to have your cheat meal once or twice every month, depending upon your goals.
- WITH CHEAT MEALS COMES THE GUILT- NOT REQUIRED!
Having a cheat meal doesn’t mean you have done something wrong. If you are eating something you like, you should not regret it.
It is one of the ways to sustain the diet and feel happy and healthier at the same time. However, you should keep in mind what you are having and how frequently you are having it.
- DON’T STARVE YOURSELF AFTER A CHEAT MEAL
One of the biggest mistakes people do after having a cheat meal is to starve. They think it will be helpful in weight loss. However, that is not the case.
Our body needs nutrients time to time. Even if you had something unhealthy in your cheat meal, it is important to have the next meal full of nutrients. You can have something light like fruits or vegetables but skipping it is not the right choice.
- NO BUFFETS FOR CHEAT MEAL
Going to a buffet will result in excessive calorie intake that can spoil your overall hard work.
Even if you are going out try to have only one dish that you like. It will be enough to keep you moving until the next cheat meal.
You can always have healthy options even if you are having a cheat day.
- DON’T STRESS EAT
You should not opt for a cheat meal on days when you are emotional or just not happy. It can have a negative impact on your diet.
Remember! A cheat meal is just to make you a little happy to cope of with your fixed schedule but you should not misunderstand it with your comfort.
- NOT HAVING ANY CHEAT MEALS
This is not humanly possible! You cannot always eat veggies and fruits. Even if you try this, there will be days when you’ll feel very low and in any case indulge in bad eating habits.
So, you should allow yourself to take tiny breaks when on a diet. It will be beneficial for the overall process of living a healthy lifestyle.
- DON”T SKIP WORKOUTS
Even if you are having a cheat day, try not to skip your daily exercise and workouts. Skipping them will make you feel lazier which surely you would not want. Right?
In fact, you should burn those extra calories that your favorite food will gift you on a cheat day.
15 HEALTHY CHEAT MEALS IDEAS YOU CAN HAVE :-
Listed below are some of the options you can have as part of your cheat meals without any fear –
- Chicken wings
- Dark Chocolate
- Ice Cream
- Homemade Pizza
- Dosa and Idli
- Cheese Crackers
- Kebab Platters
- Tandoori Proteins
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS –
Question 1 – Will one cheat meal ruin the diet?
Answer – No, one cheat meal will not ruin your progress if you do it in the right way. The above-explained dos and Don’ts can help you understand how to deal with a cheat meal. If you’ll keep your diet and workout plans right, you can surely have a cheat meal without any fear.
Question 2 –How often to cheat with your diet?
Answer – The frequency of having a cheat meal differs from person to person. There are no specific guidelines for the same. Often, it is recommended to cheat once in a week. However, it should totally depend on your weight loss goals and health.
CONCLUSION / TAKEAWAY –
The truth is that one meal cannot decide your weight loss results. It is important to live a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet. But, it is also crucial to listen to your heart sometimes and go for the chocolate that is kept in your refrigerator because you need it.
You can follow the above Do’s and Don’ts while taking your cheat meals and maintain a healthy lifestyle on the other days.