Learn how to cheat your diet with success!
Although it seems counterproductive to cheat on your health program, weekly indulges can improve insulin sensitivity (and accelerate fat loss), keep you sane, prevent you from feeling deprived and help you stick to the program. Taking a zero tolerance approach to cheating creates a lot of stress, which is a huge contributor to health issues. Ditch the rigid mentality and use these tips to nourish yourself without the guilt.
Strategize Your Splurges: Top 10 Cheat Meal Tips
1. Plan Ahead
Plan one to two cheat meals a week to indulge. If planning is a challenge, then abide by a three bite rule. The three bite rule is exactly as it sounds, enjoy three bites and call it quits.
2. Make it Matter
Make your cheat meal special. A delicious dessert at a romantic restaurant is a lot more satisfying than candy in front of the TV. Take your time, savor each bite and let go of any guilt.
3. Set Up for Success
Don’t skip meals or save room for your splurge. Eat a balanced meal with substantial nutrients before the sugar rush. For example, enjoy a fresh fruit salad before mimosas and syrupy french toast. Lastly, drinking a cup of antioxidant-rich green tea ahead of time can decrease the negative effects of sugar and alcohol.
4. Choose Whole Foods
While it may be a cheat meal, the quality of the food is still important. You deserve the best quality ingredients for your indulgence. Choose natural, one-ingredient foods (mango, dates, strawberries, etc.) over man-made, processed products. Homemade treats are an excellent way to know exactly what you’re eating and they’re made with love.
5. Read Labels: Ingredients
Read food labels, starting with the ingredients. Select whole ingredients over refined, such as a date over brown rice syrup. The fewer ingredients, the better. Avoid ingredients that look like a chemistry experiment.
6. Read Labels: Sugar
Next, focus on sugar. Processed products contain over 40 types of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners! Many hidden sugars end in “-ose” such as dextrose. Choose less processed forms of sugar, such as fruit over fructose. Aim for less than 20 grams of sugar per serving.
7. Sweeten Smarter
Whether buying a product or making homemade treats, it’s important to choose better sweeteners to reduce your sugar intake, lower the glycemic load of your sweets and even add nutrients. Smart sweeteners:
8. Increase Antioxidants
Increase your antioxidant intake by favoring fruit, dark chocolate and nuts for dessert. Antioxidant boosters:
9. Befriend Fruit
Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fruit is actually one of the best foods you can eat to support your health, lose weight, improve hydration levels, detoxify, boost your immune system, fight pathogens, get rid of Candida, decrease aging, and prevent cancer. Click here to read more about why the “Fruit Fear” does not support your health.
10. “Pig Out” Out
If you tend to go overboard with indulgences, then plan your cheat meals out. Dining out costs more and increases your awareness for what you’re putting in your body. Both of which can help to keep your indulgences in check. However, don’t bring a doggie bag home. Keep temptations out of sight, out of mind.
Wellness Coach, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner,