Cheat meals are the built-in reprieve of any well-designed eating program or diet. Knowing that we can chow down on a deliciously greasy burger or plow through a delectable ice cream sundae on the weekends helps us stick to our healthy diets during the week. Cheat meals give us an outlet for our temptations, but cheat meals earned their name for a reason. They’re supposed to be a special treat enjoyed only a few times per week. Many trainers and dieticians recommend only one to three cheat meals a week, especially for those trying to lose weight. But what happens when you’re out of cheat meals for the week and craving something fatty, greasy, and oh-so-good? Is it possible to whip up a good cheat meal that’s actually healthy for you?
What is a good cheat meal? We’re glad you asked! There are indeed many healthy cheat meals that can help you stick to your nutrition plan while allowing you to give into your temptation (at least a little). Maybe we should call these “cheat-cheat meals”? Whether you want a few healthy cheat meals to sneak during the week or you’d like to eat nutritional foods for your designated cheat meals to power up your fitness results, we’ve got some excellent options for you. If you’ve been wondering, “what’s a good cheat meal?” then here’s your answer:
Healthy Cheat Snacks
If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth and need something refreshing to give you a boost of energy in the morning or afternoon, this fruit smoothie will definitely do the trick. Toss a banana, frozen strawberries, raspberries, cherries, milk, yogurt, orange juice, and a hint of honey into a blender, and voila! You’ve got the perfect pick-me-up. The ingredients in this snack offer up serious vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin D, and potassium that can make you feel great.
Here’s another great smoothie recipe option that will give you lots of healthy greens, nuts, and fats
These energy bites are so tasty, you’ll swear they must be bad for you. Not so! These bites contain rolled oats, peanut butter, honey, flax seed, and semi-sweet chocolate chips for that perfect injection of sweetness. They’re super easy to make and offer healthy fiber and complex carbs that can help you feel full longer. Pop one or two of these before or after your workout for a nice and natural boost of energy.
Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Looking for a snack that’s a little more savory than sweet? Stay away from those greasy, fat-filled potato chips and try this neat sweet potato chip recipe instead. These are so simple to make. All you need are sweet potatoes, salt, an oven, and about a half hour. This snack is great to break out in the long afternoons at the office when your self-control starts to ebb, or on the weekends while you watch the game. Sweet potatoes are chock full of vitamin A, fiber, and potassium, which means they’re super yummy and super healthy.
Healthy Cheat Meals
You don’t have to eat chicken, rice, and broccoli every day for the rest of your life in order to lose weight and be healthy. There are so many ways you can spice up chicken dishes that offer you sinfully good taste without shoveling on the calories. One option is this delish chicken parm recipe from Crème De La Crumb. Adding fresh garlic and basil to the marinara sauce helps this meal really shine, and the chicken will give you loads of lean protein. Just make sure to keep the pasta portion reasonable and consider using whole wheat pasta to introduce more complex carbs.
Getting a little tired of chicken? Switch it out for this super healthy salmon recipe from our blog.
It’s Taco Tuesday, but instead of sabotaging your diet with tons of fatty cheese, nutritionally empty white rice, and high-calorie guacamole, you’re going to make healthy tacos that also happen to be super tasty. This quinoa taco recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron includes black beans, quinoa, tomatoes, corn, and avocado. The combo of protein, fiber, and healthy fats from the beans, avocado, and quinoa will help you feel full and satisfied after this meal. This is also an excellent meal option for vegetarians.
Want another great Mexican option? Try this healthy and hearty burrito bowl recipe, courtesy of the EōS Fitness blog.
Comfort food and healthy meals couldn’t be farther apart… that is, until now. The Recipe Rebel brings us this amazing lasagna recipe that sneakily adds in ground chicken or turkey as well as plenty of veggies. The homemade tomato sauce keeps out the unhealthy preservatives you’ll find in a supermarket jar. You can make this recipe even healthier by choosing whole wheat pasta and going light on the cheese.
Healthy Cheat Desserts
At the end of the day, your self-control is crumbling fast. You know your cheat meal is days away, but you need something sweet now. What do you do? This berry parfait is the perfect compromise between healthy and indulgent. Start with a dollop of vanilla yogurt. Add a handful of granola and then heap on slices of strawberries, bananas, and blueberries into a cup. Finish with a drizzle of honey, and you’ve got tons of sweetness without lots of added sugar. As with all treats, keep an eye on your portion size. Choose a small or medium-sized glass to keep your worst impulses in check.
Are you craving a tantalizing dish of ice cream at the end of a long day? Well, you can have some during your real cheat meal. In the meantime, switch out ice cream for the much healthier alternative of strawberry sorbet. You can even make your own with a supply of strawberries, white sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Sorbet is the perfect dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth and works as an after-dinner treat or even an afternoon indulgence.
Chia Chocolate Pudding
If dessert might as well be synonymous with chocolate, then you’re going to love this rich, chocolatey pudding by Chef John over at All Recipes. This delightful dish includes sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and a dash of instant coffee. The chia seeds add a healthy twist to the recipe and give this pudding an interesting texture that may help you slow down and enjoy every spoonful.
Want More Great Recipes So You Can Make It to Your Cheat Meal?
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your food or try lots of zesty, fun, and tasty meals. Keep experimenting with different recipes and find ones that you love. This can help you stick to your eating plan and see real results, whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or just treat your body like the temple it is.
Good cheat meals do exist, and we can’t wait for you to try the examples we’ve included in this article. Want even more recipes that are both tasty and healthy? Check out the EōS Fitness Blog for lots of great recipes, plus nutrition tips, and more. Happy eating!