A ‘cheat day’ is a common tactic for many dieters, but it can often lead to a cycle of dieting hard during the week and gorging on calorie-laden foods on the weekend. Research has found that doing this can be detrimental to your health.
The key is to keep cheat meals in calorie moderation and where possible to trick your mind into thinking you’re cheating when you’re not at all.
Here are some healthy and nutritious cheat meals that you can incorporate into your everyday diet:
Breakfast – Whole wheat pancakes
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Add all dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil in a separate bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and combine until smooth. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and pour sections of the batter, then cook each for about 2 mins, flipping them when bubbles appear on the top. Enjoy with a dash of honey and some fresh fruit.
Calorie intake (7 servings): 172 calories, vs 227 calories for a serve of regular pancakes.
Lunch – Burger and fries
150g extra lean ground beef
Whole grain bun
A slice of cheddar cheese
Half a mashed avocado
Half a sweet potato
Make the ground beef into a patty and grill the meat. When the second side is cooking, add the cheese and onion slices to the top. Remove and assemble on bun, together with tomato slices and lettuce. The mashed avocado replaces mayo, giving you a similar consistency and breaks through the dryness of the burger.
As for the sweet potato, cut them into fries, spread them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 15 mins at 200 deg before flipping and baking for another 15 mins until golden brown.
Calorie intake: 452 calories, vs 792 calories for your usual cheeseburger and fries.
2 tablespoons peanut butter or melted dark chocolate
Fruit of choice
Dip your fruits into the peanut butter or melted dark chocolate and enjoy!
Calorie intake: About 200 calories, vs 309 calories for a serve of chocolate fondue.
Dinner – Spaghetti bolognese with chicken meatballs
1 serving (120g) whole wheat or quinoa spaghetti pasta
150g low-fat chicken meatballs
2 cups of tomatoes (diced)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tablespoon dried mixed Italian herbs
Cook the pasta in hot water until al dente, then set aside. Add olive oil to a skillet, then add the chopped garlic and tomatoes and cook it for about 2 mins. Add the chicken meatballs, salt and herbs to the mixture and your bolognaise is ready. Serve some pasta in a plate and add your sauce over it.
Calorie intake: 413 calories, vs 529 calories for a serve of spaghetti bolognese with meatballs.
Dessert – Berry sorbet
500g of strawberries (or any other berry of choice)
¼ cup honey
Juice of a lemon
Puree the berries using a food processor or blender until the mixture is smooth. Then push the mixture through a fine mesh to rid as much seeds as possible. Add honey and the lemon juice, then whisk the mixture thoroughly. Chill the mixture for a few hours.
Calorie intake: 42 calories, vs 80 calories for a serve of berry ice-cream.