Healthy Eating

Here’s What to Do Instead if You Feel Like Having a Cheat Meal (plus 3 healthy cheat meal ideas)

Plus, three healthy cheat meal ideas that don’t feel like you’re cheating.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

Weekend or holiday binge eating got the best of you? We feel ya. The weekends and this time of year often comes with a more lax approach to nutrition and fitness goals. Whether you love Sunday brunch, are craving holiday cookies, or just feel like ordering takeout instead of cooking on Saturday nights, we have some tips to help you pass on that cheat meal. Plus, we’re sharing our top fav hacks to help you stay on track with all of your health goals and even make a healthy cheat meal that you can feel good about enjoying. 

Do These Four Things If You Feel Like Having a Cheat Meal 

#1 Go For a Walk

When those food cravings come on strong, the best thing you can do is to get out of the kitchen. Completely remove yourself from the temptation and get outside for a brisk walk. Not only will this help lessen the intensity of that craving, but you’ll also be doing something really great for your health. Plus, we all could benefit from a little extra vitamin D for an energy and mood boost! 

#2 Eat a Healthy Fat

Heads up—healthy fats don’t make you fat. In fact, we actually need fat to help keep us full in between meals, to support hormone balance, and keep our energy levels high. So, if those cheat meal cravings kick in, snack on something rich in healthy fat. Try a sliced avocado with a drizzle of lemon juice and a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt, or a handful of nuts and seeds with a side of fresh fruit. Healthy fats will help satisfy that hunger and keep those cravings at bay. 

#3 Drink a Glass of Water

Sometimes our hunger and thirst cues get a little confused. If you’re craving something sweet, try drinking a tall glass of water and see how you feel. If those cravings seem to magically disappear, chances are, your body was just craving some good old H2O. 

Another tip here is to stay on top of your hydration throughout the day. Preventing dehydration is key for supporting overall health and for keeping hunger cues in check. 

#4 Get Your Sweat on

Nothing works for crushing those cravings that a good sweat sesh. When you’re craving those brownies, press play on your favorite workout, or get out for a run. Sweating it out will have you completely forgetting about those cravings, and you’ll be less likely to want to eat those brownies after you’ve done something really good for your body. In fact, getting a good sweat in may help set the tone for healthier choices for the rest of your day, so you have nothing to lose! 

Here’s How a Healthy Cheat Meal is a Real Thing

While you can implement the hacks above to avoid indulging in a cheat meal, if you’re really craving something decadent, and you want to indulge a little, by all means, do so! Because if we’re being honest, we all have food cravings from time to time, right? No matter how clean you eat, there’s going to come a time where you just want that piece of cake or that bowl of ice cream. Or, maybe you’re just craving your favorite Chinese takeout order. No matter what the case, we’re human and definitely not perfect, no do we have to be. 

But, instead of thinking about cheat meals as being something that would completely ruin our progress, let’s change the way we think about them. Instead, let’s focus on ways to make them healthier with these three healthy cheat meal ideas. 

3 Healthy Cheat Meal Ideas You’ll Love When Sugar Cravings Hit 

#1 Chocolate Covered Almonds

Craving some chocolate, but want to make it a little healthier? This healthy cheat meal idea is a great way to satisfy a dessert craving. Simply dip some almonds into melted unsweetened dark chocolate, refrigerate to set, and enjoy! 

#2 Coconut or Almond Flour Pancakes 

If your cheat meal cravings usually happen over the weekend when you may have more time to whip up a decadent breakfast, allow yourself to have those pancakes! Just make a healthy cheat meal by swapping regular flour with coconut or almond flour, and using pure maple syrup vs. the refined sugary version. 

#3 Cauliflower Pizza 

Pizza Friday a hit in your household? Pizza is damn delicious, and a really easy dinner option, and guess what, it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Turn pizza into a healthy cheat meal your whole fam can get on board with by using a cauliflower crust (you can even buy frozen cauliflower crust from the store), and top it with extra veggies like bell peppers and broccoli for an added health boost. You now can enjoy Pizza Friday without the guilt. 

To Have That Cheat Meal or Not?

The takeaway here is that while some cheat meals should be avoided as much as possible (like refined pastries and fast food), there is a way to enjoy a cheat meal the healthy way.

Life is truly all about balance, so we do what we can to avoid the super unhealthy stuff, while still allowing room for enjoyment when it comes to foods that we love. 

So, enjoy that cheat meal the healthy way, and do something good for your body when you need a little distraction from the cookie jar sitting in your pantry. You’ll be well on your way to balanced health and wellness in no time!