A cheat day meal gives you the opportunity to take a break from strict eating, helping to ward off any feelings of deprivation and improve your ability to stick to your diet plan. Although you may not choose to cheat, there’s not many people who can get through their nutrition plan without factoring it in. The key is to consume the most optimal cheat day meal as possible to make sure your cravings help you not hurt you in the long run. If you’re able to, keep your cheat meal under 800 calories, follow your plan closely for the rest of the week and stay active, as your overall weekly calories are still important.
Be wary of a cheat meal turning into a full weekend of binging, and stay away from trigger foods that you can’t stop eating once you begin. If you’re dining out for your cheat meal, look at the menu before you go and pre-choose which option will be best for your plan. Take a look at this handy scale to help you weigh up the worst and best case scenarios for your cheat meals…
Worst choice cheat day meals
The least optimal option is allowing yourself to eat whatever you like.
- Aim to avoid foods such as pizza, burger and chips from a fast food chain or Chinese takeaway.
- These meals are often easy to overeat and will most likely take you well over your recommended calories.
- Use your common sense and try not to eat in excess.
Satisfy cravings with these improved options
If you’re craving a takeaway or fast food, can you create a better version that’ll save on calories?
- Chinese takeaway on the mind? Try similar options such as Thai to reduce calories.
- Planning on ordering McDonalds or Five Guys? Improve your options by cooking your own burger and chips at home.
- Swapping a Domino’s pizza for a lower calorie option from supermarkets will satisfy your craving and cut back on calories.
Try these middle ground cheat meals
Be smart about your cheat meals. There’s lots of middle ground options that’ll still feel like a treat.
- Any meal that you can eat a good quality protein is more optimal.
- Dining out? Try Nando’s or Turkish restaurants for chicken and rice options.
- Better yet, cook your own version of Nando’s at home to improve the cheat meal and calories.
Best possible cheat day meals
Eating an on plan meal that you can prepare at home is the best possible option.
- A healthy, high carb meal with a good quality protein is always most optimal.
- For example, filet steak with sweet potato is a great, tasty option.
- Don’t forget to get as many vegetables on your plate as possible too.
Don’t forget to factor in alcohol
Weekend on the booze? Make sure you’ve counted the calories in your drink!
- It’s easy to forget about the amount of calories you’re drinking.
- You don’t have to cut it out completely, just make better choices.
- For example, a gin with diet lemonade has fewer calories than beer or wine.
Stay savvy on portion sizes
Understanding correct portion sizes is key for success. Take a look at the below recommendations before you cook your cheat meal at home…
Protein: 1 closed fist size
Carbs: 1 cup full
Fats: thumb size
Handful of greens
For males, double the above portions.